I thought I was the only one who did it. Awfulizing.
Thinking of terrible things that might happen—like daydreaming nightmares. You envision how people you love get hurt or die. You imagine how this client is not only unsatisfied but will write a hate-blog. You picture vividly how you will break something vital and can’t work or give that workshop.
When in truth everyone is doing fine, nobody is unsatisfied, nothing is broken.
So why do it?
We usually awfulize when things go well. And we can’t believe life can be this good. So we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. And rather than having to wait till that happens we conjure up an imagined problem.
When things go well it means we have something to loose—we feel vulnerable. And being vulnerable isn’t easy. So we take back control and bring ourselves down.
Awfulizing is a great way to lower our energy, our vibration and to stop the flow.
Brené Brown says we clamp down on our joy as a shield against vulnerability.
Gay Hendricks calls it upperlimiting: “Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.”
No matter what you call awfulizing—it works.
Awfulizing is the most effective way to stop ourselves from moving forward.
Because often we’re not afraid of what happens when things go wrong, it’s much scarier when things go right. When you have no more excuses to hide behind. If you’re not sick, then you have to give the workshop. If your loved ones are doing well you still risk being hurt. If your clients appreciate what you’re doing then your business might grow. And things may get beyond our control.
Our lives can be bigger and better and easier than anything we’ve ever imagined.
So how do you stop awfulizing?
When you’re in the midst of coming up with all kinds of unreasonable worries it is hard to stop. I admit, sometimes I even want to see the nightmare through to the end, be the victim—as if you’re caught in the adrenaline of negativity.
So the most important thing is to realize you are doing it. And then follow these three steps:
1. Hit the pause button
Awareness is key. As soon as you become aware of the worry coursing through your veins and the bad movie you’re playing in your head say ‘Stop’. You can even say it out loud to shake yourself loose from the negative path you’re on.
Then place a hand on your heart chakra and force yourself to smile. Pull the corners of your mouth up—this releases happy hormones in your brain that will actually make you feel better. (Your brain doesn’t know you had nothing to smile about and believes you’re genuinely smiling and before you know it you actually feel like you had a reason to smile!)
So even if it feels uncomfortable or awkward at first, just stick with it, knowing you’ll feel happier shortly.
3. Take action
You might be clear on what caused you to start worrying (when you take a moment and think back of what triggered you), and if you are then think of a small action you can take now to stretch yourself in that area.
If you are not clear why you started to bring yourself down then think of a doable action you can take right now in the area you most wish to grow in.
And keep it simple! We usually make taking new steps so complex that it’s another great way of slowing ourselves down. So choose something you can actually do today. Whether it is making a phone call, sending an email, listening to a meditation, place content on your website, make an appointment to do something you’ve been postponing etc.
BONUS action: Think of three things you are grateful for. And allow yourself to truly feel it deep inside. And before you think this is too hard, being grateful for the weather or a roof over your head counts too!
I’ve allowed myself to become aware of how often I was awfulizing and I was shocked to discover I do it daily, and often more than once a day. I’ve become much better at catching myself so I can choose to use my energy productively and shift my focus.
I highly recommend you commit to changing this behavior for yourself also. Because unless you are an enlightened monk—I bet you are awfulizing too 😉
Do you want support in changing this and other behaviors?
In this 1-on-1 gift call we’ll get clear on what is holding you back, what will help you move forward and if I can support you with that.
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