Why do we tend to use our imagination to visualize our failures or worst case scenarios as opposed to everything being (mostly) awesome and to our benefit?
If we're supposed to be the greatest keepers of our dreams and visions-then we (myself included) are doing a really shit job sometimes. If it was an open position in the universal ether- I wouldn't always hire myself!
Anxiety/imagining worst case scenarios stems from two places for me: fear and control. I have deeply programmed myself to imagine worst case scenarios since I was a child because it was how I could prepare myself. It was how I could “get ahead” of what i could potentially walk into and experience every day. That use of my imagination gave me a false sense of control over what the future could hold. As though if I imagined the worst things then I couldn’t be surprised. I would be able to have the upper-hand on disaster, on hurt, on sadness, on anger. Though in reality, sometimes the bad things happened anyway. And sometimes they didn’t happen at all; or not nearly to the extent that I imagined. But-in life, from time to time- the hurt happens anyway. the pain, the sadness, the anger, the turbulence. They will happen anyway. But as you move out of those spaces: places of trauma, bad relationships, toxic environments; sometimes we carry over the coping mechanisms we created into our new, healthier, and more evolved environments.
This imagination use-stemming from fear and control-were defense and coping mechanisms that I needed, created, and used at the time. My child mind utilized those mechanisms to get through it all but they no longer serve me-and actually are a hindrance as I’ve evolved into the more conscious and adjusted (ha!) adult that I am today. The circumstances have changed and I am no longer in a place where those mechanisms serve me.
As we grow, evolve, shift, and change we must revisit our old ways of operating.
What worked to get us through traumatic aspects of our childhood won’t always work for us now. We're running a new machine on old software-old and outdated operating systems. So how do you update and reprogram your operating systems? Positive thinking won't necessarily shift it all; though I do believe that what we say to ourselves on a daily basis (consciously and subconsciously) direct and drive our actions and life. I more so believe that we must put new ways of thinking and new operating systems into practice. In this case, practicing using our imagination for ideas that serve us, our spiritual well being, our mental health, and ultimate goals as opposed to using our imagination to perpetually run the loop of fear and a false sense of control. At this point I can imagine hearing you say “ Oh yeah wow yeah that’s really great but what the fuck does that mean? What the fuck does that look like?” To me it begins with loving your fear and your need for control into your light. It looks like beginning to speak to the child or the young adult or who you are today and letting them know that they are loved and held for who they are and who they had to become to get through certain traumas. And that you are loved and held as you move through the release of what no longer serves you.
I call for you to get quiet. To call upon the child that you were when these coping mechanisms first formed and ask them some questions. Love them. See them. Integrate them.
Below are some questions to journal/meditate on and some mantras to infuse into your cells and meditate upon as your child-self. As the child that formed these mechanisms in the hope to shed some light onto the why so that you may begin to untangle the need for their use.
Where did you learn to use your imagination for fear/control/anxious thoughts etc?
From whom did you learn this or was this a mechanism you created for yourself? What were the situations or specific traumas that created this need?
Are you in a place now where this mechanism is no longer serving you? What work have you done to release yourself from toxic environments/relationships/ etc? Celebrate that!! If so, how could you begin practicing using your imagination for wonder and joy instead? is there an art practice you could pick up, dance, music, writing?
If you are in a place where you still feel the need to utilize this mechanism, are there ways you can begin to shift yourself out of it? Do you need to set clearer boundaries with a person or an environment? What does that look like to you and how can you go about implementing that for yourself? Imagine this in baby steps; A-Z doesn’t happen in a day. A toxic environment or relationship or mental space doesn’t happen in a day and the untangling of it won’t necessarily happen in a single day either. Be gentle and kind to yourself as your begin the un-doing.
Use these to begin re-writing your mind; enforce new patterns and begin to re-write your history. If these resonate with you-great! If not, think of some mantras that resonate with you and where you are on your journey. Things like this will only be effective if they first and foremost have resonance with you.
I love fear into my light.
I love control into my light.
I am capable of re-writing the trauma that was written onto my cells.
I am worthy of releasing trauma and stepping into my fullest self.