A friend of mine has a rather bad habit of creating difficulties with people in her mind. She imagines that they are upset with her for some reason, and then starts either defending or explaining herself, so she feels “right” and the other person, of course, ends up being “wrong”. For instance, if someone hasn’t called her for a while, she will start thinking of possible reasons for this; did she say something that they didn’t like? Maybe they didn’t like the gift that she gave them? She returned their call, but could it be that their daughter, who she left the message with, didn’t tell them and now they are upset with her?
I’ve said to her, a number of times, “If you want to talk with (them), why don’t you call?” and she always replies with either, “Well, I don’t really care (which is obviously not true) or, If they don’t have the consideration to call me, then why should I bother? The truth is, whether she ever speaks with them again or not, she is in a relationship with them, and it is one that is unhappy, unpleasant, and is draining her energy. This is such a bad habit. I wish that I could say that I couldn’t identify with it.
So many times, we can imagine a difficult, unpleasant or unhappy scenario playing out in our minds, easier than we can see an easy, pleasant and happy one. The difficult one seems like “reality”, the happy, easy, one seems like fantasy. When we are under a lot of stress (like during the holidays maybe) it can be more difficult to lasso our wild, unruly minds that at times seem to gravitate toward the negative.
Last week, someone said something to me that, at the time, didn’t bother me. But as I thought about it, I became more uncomfortable, and then my mind started offering up other things that he had said to me that seemed slightly critical. Suddenly I was defending myself, in an imaginary conversation.
I caught this, and then used a tool that I absolutely love, I replayed the conversation with him, in my mind but this time I was telling him how much I appreciated him, what I loved about our friendship and I imagined him saying the same things to me. I imagined the scenario that I wanted to happen, until it felt more real than the negative one. Several hours later, he called to say that he had been thinking about me, and just wanted to let me know how much he appreciated me. This conversation mirrored almost to the word, the one I had played in my mind several hours earlier.
This is such a powerful tool. To use it requires nothing but your willingness to give it a try, and a bit of imagination. We can create happy lives, but we have to do it in our own minds first.