We have a new friend in our yard. We have never seen him. He comes out at night to play, hunt and make messes. In the morning when we wake up he has created another deep hole and a new mound of fresh dirt on our property. At first I thought it was interesting, but with every new mound of dirt I see the problem getting bigger. My mind imagines the small mounds of dirt layering into a mountain of unmanageable size. I worry that our property will be destroyed.
Worry is a natural human trait. We all have times in our lives when we worry. A little worrying can be a positive motivator. We worry about passing a test, so we study. We worry about doing a presentation at work, so we prepare and make sure our facts are correct. We worry about having enough money to retire so we save and invest money in our nest egg. When our grown children are struggling, or our aging parents are declining we support them in the hope of controlling and alleviating the worry we feel. These are normal life concerns that most of us share and have the power to control. We all worry.
There are times when our worrying takes over our lives. We play the worst possible scenario through our minds repeatedly and with every viewing the outcome is worse. I call this type of worry, Negative Meditation. Normally we meditate to clear our minds to allow space for peace and calm to enter. When we run the film of negative outcomes continually through our minds we are meditating on the negative and filling our minds with fear.
This kind of negative meditation can cause us to catastrophize every event. We exaggerate the situation and visualize the worst outcome. The test we could easily study for to control the result becomes a constant movie in our minds that ends in us failing and dropping out of school. The presentation at work that we could prepare for to feel confident in our ability is replayed in our minds until we believe we will be fired. We worry so much about saving for retirement that we live a life depriving ourselves daily out of fear for the future. And a couple of molehills in my yard grow into a mountain in my mind that cannot be contained.
Our perception of normal difficulties becomes skewed. The smallest of problems become mountains that we see no way to climb. We layer one problem with another and another until we are so overwhelmed that we freeze or explode.
How do we avoid the explosion? Ask these questions:
Can I control the outcome of this problem?
Is this my problem to own?
Am I being realistic about the problem or am I catastrophizing it to be bigger and more difficult than it is?
Many times, we can control the problem we are worried about. We need a plan of action and a strategy to solve it.
Many times, it is not even our problem, yet we take it on as if we need to ‘fix’ everything for everyone. If it is not our problem to own, then let the ownership of the problem and the solution stay with the person it belongs to.
Many times, our imagination and constant negative meditation can increase the size of a problem to an inflated unrealistic level.
Many times, a mound of dirt is just a molehill and not a mountain.
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Pennie’s Life Lesson:
Don’t let your imagination catastrophize every event.
Sometimes it is just a molehill.
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There is a certain magic about where I live both physically and spiritually – on the crossroads of Spirit and Brave.
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