What if? Those are the first two words in almost all anxious thoughts. Anxiety is generally created when we are thinking about some future event. Anxiety can exist in the present, but in those situations my advice is to run because you are obviously in some kind of danger. The reason we feel anxiety at all is to protect us from danger so that we may survive. So, when you find yourself feeling anxious and your physical safety is not in danger, you are most likely thinking a “what if” scenario. “What if” is speculation, “what if” is expectation, and “what if” does not exist…yet. If you choose to think about what is, rather than “what if”, you will be more productive and likely happier. “What is” really is all that we know for sure.
Don’t paint on my blank canvas!
When one experiences negative feelings or insecurities about self or situation, a belief can develop that others share that opinion as well. This is what is known as psychological projection, and it can cause a person to believe that he or she is being viewed negatively by others. When one applies meaning to words and actions of others in an irrational way (without proof), and accepts that meaning as confirmation that personal insecurities are being seen and believed by others, dysfunction occurs. When I say, “Don’t paint on my blank canvas,” it means don’t view my neutrality as confirmation of your insecurities. Don’t assume that I’m thinking what you’re thinking. It’s important that we seek to identify, understand, and work through our own insecurities and resist the urge to project them onto others. Don’t paint your insecurities onto anyone’s blank canvas and all of your relationships will benefit.