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Assume The Worst – Or Not

Legs that can’t stop kicking. Nails that continue to be bitten. A total lack of trust in anyone or anything. Sleepless nights spent ruminating. An inability to stop running, on the inside or the outside. These symptoms are not always the signs of a therapeutic or chemical disorder. They could be signs of -The Worst.

When THE WORST happens in your childhood, you can end up feeling as if THE WORST is always going to happen so you live life with an ASSUME THE WORST attitude. This assume the worst attitude becomes a protective mechanism that allows you to be more prepared for – you guessed it – the worst. If you don’t stop and remember at some point that you are no longer a child who needs this defense mechanism in order to survive, you could spend your life in flight or fight, always waiting for the other shoe to drop and feeling certain that something about you is causing each disaster.

People who assume the worst are hedging their bets, cushioning the fall and trying to anticipate and prepare for whatever bad thing is coming. It is a self-protective mechanism. However, while in this belief, you expend tons of energy and countless hours of worry and fretting over imagined consequences. You forfeit hours of joy. In addition, you, no doubt, have a compromised immune system that is working over time expecting that big boogeyman that seldom arrives…the worst. The worst already happened and you already survived it.

Never again will you be a 3-foot helpless child without any support system, without the power of language or body size and cognitive reasoning. Never again will you be in a position where you can’t find the answers or get what you need to be ok. You can take a breath. You can let your shoulders down. You can stop running. You already courageously survived the worst.

I know some of you are thinking, Well what about this bad thing that could happen? That would be the worst thing in the world for me! Perhaps there are still things in life that would feel terrible and difficult to overcome. However, at this point in your life, you are an adult who is not helpless and who is able to reach out for the support ant tools you need in order to survive whatever comes….unlike when you were a child. No doubt, over the past many years, you have put some additional tools in your tool bag and you have learned a thing or two. You are probably making different choices that are self-loving and self-respecting. You also probably have a good intuitive read when trouble walks through your door. All of which makes you safer.

Too many of us are living out of our red wagon of bad past experiences. These experiences of the past continue to control our decision making process today. They inhibit our willingness to take a risk, try something new or imagine the unimaginable. We look back at the times when we had an empty tool bag, were not as evolved spiritually and were less emotional equipped to handle life’s vicissitudes and challenges. With those memories as our defining factor we pass on opportunities to venture out and create new and better realities for ourselves. In other words, we remain stuck in our past waiting for the worst. We have forgotten what safety feels like, if we ever felt it.

It is important to give your mind and body the experience of safety on an energetic level. For instance, right now, put the paper down and just feel your surroundings. Notice that nothing and no one bad is coming. Notice your breathing and slow it down a bit. Let your shoulders drop and imagine what safety might feel like in your belly, in every one of the cells in your body. Become aware of the energy that surrounds you. Tell your body it can let go. Listen to chatter in your mind and thank that voice for working overtime to protect you. Let it know that you are finally safe and it no longer has to have that responsibility. Give it a new job, like being in charge of the fun quotient, and let it have permission to let go. It might just be that the worst thing happening in your life now, is getting rid of the worst.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

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