Half-Empty / Half-Full

I have a worst-cast-scenario mentality.

I’m not sure how this developed, but no matter what the situation my mind always goes to the scariest “what-if” I can imagine.  Can’t find my engagement ring?  Must have been stolen!  Forgot to turn off the oven? The apartment building will burn down!

Don’t even get me started on medical issues.  The smallest lump or ailment sends me running to WebMD which is NEVER a good idea. 

It’s terrible.  I’m stuck in this negative pattern of thinking and I’m not sure where it comes from.  It’s like I don’t want to let myself feel at peace because I don’t want to be disappointed.  

This is becoming especially apparent now that I am completely out of my comfort zone.  Part of me wants to establish a life here and the other part doesn’t think it’s worth it.  I’m so focused on my old life and everything I left behind (a job I liked, close friends, family within walking distance) that I can’t seem to tune into the positives this move could bring.  I’m mired in all of this negativity that is totally self-inflicted and totally not based in reality.  I’ve been through big changes before and even though deep down I know that things will work out because they usually do, I put up all these walls to protect myself on the off chance that they won’t.

I don’t know why I’m predisposed to this thought process, but I’m sick of it.  It’s not doing anyone any good.  I’m trapped in a maze of thought patterns that is keeping me from feeling content and hopeful.

Marianne Williamson (whose lectures I attended frequently in LA and whom I admire greatly) spends much time exploring the power of the mind and how it shapes the human experience.   In going back through her books, I was reminded of this one sentence that runs through her work:

We can always choose to perceive things differently.

I’ve completely lost sight of this: that the way we experience the world isn’t set in stone.  It’s a choice that we make daily.  I have the power to re-work this narrative rather than be a slave to old ways of thinking.  I feel like I need to have this quote tattooed somewhere on my body as a constant reminder.

We wake up every morning and we have an important choice to make. 

From now on, I choose to see things differently.

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9 thoughts on “Half-Empty / Half-Full

  1. Ah, I loved this! I don’t know why I have to be reminded continually that the way my life feels and looks is a choice I make, but I do. I appreciate everytime I get reminded in a new way.

    • I need constant reminders, but I’m hoping over time I can make a permanent change in my perception of things. I just need to make this a priority and channel a lot of energy into it.

  2. This is wondrous! I am a worse case scenario girl too, mostly as a defense mechanism, I think. If I assume things will be awful, then I can only be pleasantly surprised if I’m proven wrong, right? Nope. I spend more time worrying about the worst case scenario than I do when it comes time to deal with the actual outcome. This whole positive perception thing is definitely an uphill battle for me =]

  3. But… you just moved… sorry if I am playing the other side of the fence… but what if it’s okay for you to not want to completely detach? What if it’s okay for you to be torn and not 100% in love with your new situation?

    I think sometimes we always look to being optimistic without understanding the underlying issues for why we’re feeling those negative feelings. I’m not saying wallow in them, but it’s also not necessarily to judge them as wrong or right. I think it sounds completely natural to have an adjustment period before getting into a new place… especially because you’re leaving behind things that you cared about.

    That said, definitely continue the positivity and everything. But also know it’s okay to miss your home, too. 🙂

    (Also: I do the worst-case scenario ALL OF THE TIME, haha! Have you ever heard about the Enneagram? It’s a personality inventory… and you sound like you may be a #6 like me — which is
    the loyal skeptic, haha…)

    • Thanks for this, Erika! Believe me, I have done plenty of wallowing over this new situation. I just really need to jolt myself out of the negative thought process I keep engaging in. I was talking to a friend about this and we realized that adjusting to a move like this is a bit like the grieving process. I’ve been through denial, anger, bargaining, and depression . . . just waiting for that acceptance part to kick in. I realize this comparison may seem a little melodramatic and I don’t mean to amplify my situation to the status of losing a loved one, but I have been grieving an old life that was safe and comfortable. I’m definitely going to take your advice, though, and try not to be so hard on myself.

  4. I loved this post, and then I read Erika’s comment and loved that, too. The Marianne Williamson quote is PERFECT, and I too could stand to have it tattooed on my forehead. But I agree with Erika that it’s totally okay to be sad for a little while following such a huge change. There’s no sense in beating ourselves up for having genuine emotions, since that’s not likely to have a positive effect, either.

    Either way, with time, I’m sure you’ll get used to all the changes and come to love your new home, too. 🙂

    • Thanks, Cassie! I know I need to be a bit kinder to myself during this process. It’s just that allowing myself to wallow in the sadness I’ve been feeling hasn’t been good for me. I need to find a balance between trying to be more positive and accepting the emotions I feel at any given moment.

  5. Pingback: The Problem with Rose-Colored Glasses | California to Canada

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