They’re more disturbing than any Dr Who villain.
With a life-force of their own they breed like rabbits. You get one hanging around and then suddenly there are loads, all vying for attention.
They are the “What Ifs”. And for many people they come in a worrying or negative guise. Much worse than any Dalek.
Most days I’ll work with clients who come with lots of “What Ifs” clustered around them. “What if I lose my job?” “What if my husband has an affair?” ” What if my friends are all talking about me behind my back?” “What if I never find a partner?”
And sometimes there are so many “What Ifs” that they’ve gathered into a dark storm cloud and the person feels overwhelmed and often depressed.
They feed on worry and helplessness, growing and breeding. And they hate direct action or being challenged, so that’s where our secret weapon comes in.
Take each “What If” separately and start challenging it. Ok, so “what if” you do lose your job? How likely actually is that? What would you need to do to make your job more secure? What skills do you have to get another job? Do you need to update your training? Could it be time for a complete change of direction? How would you pay your mortgage or rent? If the worst happened could you stay with family or friends while you sorted something out?
“What if” your husband had an affair? How likely is it? Would you want to stay with him if he did? Could you be financially independent? What would need to happen for you to feel reassured that he wouldn’t even dream of an affair? Does your relationship need improving? Do you need to work on your own confidence to believe that he’d never want to leave you?
You see “What Ifs” are cowards and bullies who rely on people just cowering under them. When they’re actually pulled apart they very often have little or no substance.
Blow them up, ignore them or find solutions for what you could do if they did come true. You’ll then begin to notice that they lose their power and disappear.
The only “What Ifs” to hang on to are the positive ones. “What if” your relationship grew stronger and stronger? “What If” you impressed your boss so much you got promoted? “What If” your friends are actually saying wonderful things about you behind your back? And ‘What if” the villain “What Ifs” no longer mattered?
It’s time to get out from hiding behind the sofa, stand up straight and face those “What Ifs” once and for all.