We all have them: those little annoyances that steal our calm and turn us into anxiety-riddled hermits. They can happen at any time, anywhere, and without any warning.
It’s easy to wilt under their pressure, their unexpectedness.
Lately, though, I’ve been wondering what would happen if I approached them with a different frame of mind. Instead of automatically adopting the suspicion that the world and its inhabitants are out to get me, what if I tried assuming the best?
I started with little things.
- The Internet salesman really isn’t trying to ruin my day; he’s just under pressure to increase his sales.
- The water leak the repairman says he fixed really is fixed and won’t wake me up at 2 a.m. by unleashing a torrent.
- The job I love will still be there 2, 3, and even 5 years in the future.
- The kid I love is having a bad day, not turning into a lifelong psychopath.
Maybe assuming the best is more about trust than anything. But when you’ve been burned enough times, trust can be just about the toughest thing to regain.
Somewhere, sometime, somehow, though, there has to be a turning point. Why? Because I don’t want to go through life always coming unglued.
You know the feeling:
- sleepless nights spent worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet;
- knotted stomachs and repetative nightmares;
- and of course, stress headaches that feel like a pickax is lodged inside your skull.
This morning, I’m packing it all away. I start by reminding myself just how many good things there are to be grateful for.
- I woke up this morning in a soft bed and safe apartment.
- Birds are singing, and there is a promise of sunshine.
- My child is healthy and happy and growing.
- There is food in the refrigerator and caterpillars cocooning on the windowsill.
- Work is complete, friends await, and there is time: tea, daybreak, conversation.
There is so much more good out there in the world than our anxious minds can sometimes see. And today, when I feel that little flutter of nervousness trying to sprout wings and take flight, I will remind myself of that.
I will ask, “What if?”
- What if something amazing happens?
- What if it’s better than I imagined?
- What if I make someone smile?
- What if someone makes me smile?
- What if I learn something new?
- What if I gain a different perspective?
I will then breathe deeply, again and again, until the fluttering begins to settle. And I will remind myself how lucky I am to even be here at all.
Today, I am going to try assuming the best. Because who knows? Maybe part of finding wonder comes from expecting it to be there.
I’ve read and recommend Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change.