I meet a lot of people who tell me that they like expecting the worst because this way, they say, they are prepared. If something good comes out, then they can be extra happy… However, if the expected bad thing happens, then they can say that they knew this would come all along and they would not be surprised.
Every time I heard this reasoning (and I heard it more times that I would like to remember), I looked at the person in front of me and thought they were crazy. I was not able to put into words what exactly disturbed me about their logic, but their theory was definitely fishy.
And then I read a book called “Daring Greatly” written by Brene Brown (if you have not read this book yet, you have to, because it is life changing). In the book, Brene is talking at a certain point about one of her panic attack moments. She was in a plane getting ready to take off and she started to recall the moments she had spent with her family before leaving on her trip. She remembers in the book how she suddenly became overwhelmed with fear that something might happen to the plane, that the flight she had taken might have a terrible accident and she would never see her family again. A PHD professor, the owner of a logical, facts oriented brain, started having illogical fears about the future…
Brene Brown explains in the book that what leads to this type of ‘dark thoughts’ is generally a fear of vulnerability. People like to expect the worst because thinking about the good things in their lives makes them feel vulnerable and overwhelmed. What if they lose all these things that give them joy? They have to be prepared!
I understood perfectly what Brene Brown was talking about. I grew up with a parent who, constantly throughout my life, found the dark side of everything. It was pathological. With such a person, you dread sharing the bad times because they make them worse. But you cannot share the good times either, because they suck the joy out of them. People like this feel in control when they start analyzing the risks and the possible downfalls of every situation. This is actually the key word here: control.
But here are 5 reasons why you might want to stop expecting the worst:
1 Risk management is an utopia.
Nicholas Taleb is a stock broker who became better known thanks to his books. In one of them, Taleb speaks about highly unpredictable events and about what he calls “the black swan effect”. The idea is that people give too much value to risk management. But in spite of all the calculations one might make, there are still things happening out of nowhere. Look at the crush of the stock market, for instance: a highly unexpected event that happened over night. The death of a loved one or finding out that you are suffering from a deadly disease…
These are all things that many times cannot be predicted. Why bother yourself and disturb your peace trying to envision and control a future that is so unpredictable? Know right now that you don’t have all the pieces of your future story (you will never have them). Which means that your plan is incomplete… Which means that you are kind of wasting your time…
2 You will not hurt less if you expect it to happen.
This is one thing I keep hearing people say: if I expect something to happen, then, when it happens, I’ll be ready. Ready how?… If you expect that someone you love might die, will you be less sad when that actually happens? If you expect your husband or wife to leave you, will you be more like “yeah, I am fine with it, because I always knew it would happen”?… Please, stop wasting your time and be happy!
3 Preparation does not always translate into action.
I was talking to a friend of mine about this topic some time ago. She was telling me that actually, even when the things she had expected happened, and although she had thought and prepared for them, she still did not do any of the things she had planned. So she had envisioned things in her head in a certain way, but then she did things differently. Why? Because we are never fully aware of our resources during ‘the risk managing and planning’ period. Situations change, we change, and human beings are unpredictable. For more on that, go to the next point.
4 There is no way for you to know how exactly you will react in a certain situation.
That’s right. You think you know yourself, you think you know who you are… You might be in for a surprise. Because we can never know how we will react under pressure. This is why highly prepared, highly trained people black out completely when the worst happens.
5 You can choose to manifest positive outcomes.
All manifestation and mindset coaches will tell you this: focus on what you want. If you give energy to something (and thoughts are filled with energy), it expands. What types of outcomes are you choosing to feed energetically?
So here’s the thing: life happens right now, and creating negative scenarios in your head will do nothing but poison your present. Take this time to enjoy the good in your life instead of bringing yourself down with thoughts of things that might never even happen.