Hey, sports fans, today's stinkin' thinkin' category is Catastrophism! I've alluded to this before. "If I don't eat soon, I'm going to starve!" Yeah, I'm not going to starve. (Luckily, I'm not reliant on WIC or food stamps.) Other ways I've used this: Worrying most of my life that I'll get cancer. Worrying that I'll lose my job if I get any criticism, even from a well-known narcissist curmudgeon. Well, just assuming the worst, without evidence. "Yikes, I got a B on the first test. I'm going fail the course." After my comprehensive exam, I cried all day, assuming that I'd failed because my answers seemed simplistic to me, and then it turned out I passed with high honors. I've assumed failure-to-come so often that when sometimes I fail, I feel vindicated in my self-loathing. But everyone fails sometimes, and it's a way to learn, of course. If we didn't fail, we'd never learn. And it's hard to imagine anything much being quite as catastrophic as I've feared. Heck, I'm even facing potential cancer now, and even that is not as daunting as my fears have been. Boy oh boy, will Catastrophism freeze you from moving forward.
So, what about you? How often do you predict failure or loss or other fearful things? How often do you say, "This isn't going to work out" or "I just know this is going to end in disaster", etc.? Even with no evidence but your feelings (and feelings aren't facts), I bet you do it too. Pay attention today to that particular voice in your head, and stop yourself and reframe what you were thinking. Maybe, "Well, we won't know until we try" or "No, I'm not going to starve just because my stomach is rumbling. Maybe I just need some water for now."
Going into the last operation, I was sure that the implantation of the IUD was going to be horrible, given my history of cramps and anecdotes I've heard about IUDs for years. The night before, I decided to stop forecasting failure, and went in ready to do it. It hasn't been great, but it has hardly been a nightmare. A little discomfort, and I may have to have it removed, but, you know, not that big a deal really. Significantly, though, the moment I decided not to catastrophize the thing, I felt much lighter and in control of my own feelings.
Let's put the last two categories together. What if I were to ask for what I needed? Would people stop loving me? "Honey, I could use some help getting ready for company. Can you help with the cooking or the vacuuming?" Oh, I couldn't do that. I can't be that direct. Why, because he won't love you if you ask him to slice some onions? Then he doesn't deserve to be in your house anyway. If you fear failure or loss because you ask for clarification, or ask for help, then try not anticipating what the answer will be and ask away. You may get what you need. Amazing!