Let's Play the What If Game

anxiety fear guilt shame Aug 28, 2018

Oh you know the what if game. That's the one where we torture ourselves with endless questions like: What if it'll never get better? What if I did the wrong thing? What if I'm wasting my time? What if I never get out of here? What if this is how it is? What if he/she never changes? What if I'm being played? What if I run out of time? 

The what if game is usually accompanied by a state of panic, overwhelm, maybe shame, guilt. You might feel tension in your neck or nausea in your gut. You believe that if you think of everything, you should be able to cover your ass no matter what bad thing happens. Just when you think you've got worst case scenarios covered, you think of another one. You try to think of solutions but none are coming. It's almost as if you're in a haunted house where each floorboard you uncover leads to another one. 

Why do we play this game for hours? We believe that if we think of everything, we can protect ourselves from getting blindsided, caught unaware, and therefore we will be able to handle whatever comes our way. Why doesn't this work for us? It's almost as if we create the very situation we dread because we give it so much energy. Have you ever heard the quote, "What you fear you draw near"? 

Would you like to stop playing this game? Don't you know that if you try to stop something, you end up doing it even more? Why don't we change the pattern instead? Create some new neural pathways. I have another solution for you. How about you continue playing the game? You just ask different questions. 

The next time you find yourself going down the path of the what if game, try asking yourself these questions: What if this is going exactly as it should? What if I'm safe and it's ok to release this fear? What if what I'm afraid of isn't really scary? What if there's another way of looking at this situation? What if he/she has good intentions? What if I looked at this from a bird's eye view? What if this is a powerful lesson? What if I welcomed challenge knowing it was good for me? What if I went right to core of my tender heart and held it with compassion?

Much love,

Heidi

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