When you’re being bullied by your own mind - grab it by the horns and look it square in the eye!
Most doubts are negative thoughts that creep in, often when you don’t expect them and certainly always when you don’t want them. They appear real and reasonable. After all, your mind is trying to protect you from immanent disaster or making a fool of yourself. They may wake you up in the night and get your heart pounding with multiple ‘reality checks’ or surface when you are on the cusp of an important decision or accomplishment. However they come to you, they can steal your joy or just trip you up when you are striding in the right direction.
Some doubts are legit and practical warning signs alerting you that you need to check out more details before a final decision – move to another country, buy the house, get married, take the job or sleep with him/her.
If your doubts are causing you to loose sleep or are taking the joy out of your life, consider these five quick truth checks and then move those doubts to the bin!
Is it really true or an illusion of what could happen?
Doubts often come disguised as what could happen or what hasn’t happened that you want to happen. Both of these are silent and invisible. There is no direct evidence of something that is not there – not showing up in your life. So in fact the event or circumstance doesn’t exist. It is an illusion that can be summarily dismissed. When these come up – tell your mind, “Not relevant - next!” If your mind isn’t taking direction, and it is often tenacious, just replace a negative thought with a positive thought and cancel it with infinite possibility.
Is it a warning sign or a negative script on autopilot?
These doubts show themselves as indecision. I love the saying; “If you are having trouble making a decision, it is because you don’t have enough information to make a decision. If you have enough information to make a decision, there is no decision.” If you are facing a big decision, get as much information and advice that you can. Cross your doubts off the list until what is best for you shines forth clearly. And then do it with gusto!
What’s the worst that can happen?
Bertrand Russell’s advice for happiness is to face fearful thoughts with What’s the worst that can happen? And then go there and give it full attention and detail. If the worst that can happen, happened, how would you handle it? Usually you don’t have to go too far before you realise the ridiculousness of your fear. Give yourself the advantage of not turning back at the door of fear, but going through to grasp your own courage and authority with awareness that if you can handle the worst, anything less than that is just an inconvenience to be dispatched – you’ve got this!
What is the light at the end of the tunnel?
We so often get tangled in the tunnel vision of our worry. It’s dark in the tunnel and once when I was going through some seemingly tough challenges, (I can’t even remember them now) someone said, “When you see the light at the end of the tunnel – it’s usually the locomotive!” This made me laugh at my own drama and think of Wile E. Coyote. Can you be worried and laugh at the same time? Remember to laugh when you discover the tapping branch on the window that scared you out of your wits. Don’t get caught in your own drama and your lightness of being will turn the tunnel inside out.
What is actually going right in your life?
Life is not a steady incline from birth to death. It is, however, a one-way trip – so it’s best to enjoy the journey and keep perspective. Each of us has the seed of our own greatest potential within us from birth. As we gain ground we fall back to integrate it into a broader foundation for the future. Instead of seeing the ‘fall back’ as negative, see it as a learning curve calibrating what is going right (‘right’ being for us – makes us happy) and what is going ‘wrong’ (what is against us – makes us unhappy). Build on your strengths and happy occurrences and jettison the dross that weighs you down.
Next time doubts bully you, remember you are not done yet - these wrinkles are part of the big warp and woof of your gorgeous life unfolding. Every time you face your doubts square on, you become master over your own lived reality.
Here’s a mantra, when in doubt, to bring you back to a happy and creative life - the lyrics of the song by Johnny Mercer, sung by many, including my childhood fave Perry Como, Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. And don’t mess with Mister In Between.