What if?

When I was a young girl my mom would call me “Telly Monster,” a famous character from Sesame Street who was found constantly worrying about anything and everything. 

As I grew up and reflected on this name, it made perfect sense why she would call me that. I was also often worrying about all the things. 

All. The. Things. 

What if I forget to pack something important?

What if no one likes me?

What if I fail this test?

What if I don’t make any friends at my new school?

What if we are late?

I brought this habit with me into my adult life and added more questions to my repertoire:

What if something goes wrong?

What if I don’t know what to say?

What if someone gets upset with me?

What if we get sick?

What if we are late?

These questions would circulate in my brain on a regular basis and I didn’t realize how much unanswered questions caused me so much anxiety. They left my brain feeling like something terrible could happen. 

What I now realize is that there is a very simple way to bring that anxiety down. 

Very simple. 

Answer the questions. 

What if we are late? (This was a big one for me.)

If we are late, I will remember first and foremost to love myself because I am a good person and remind myself that nothing has gone wrong. I will apologize for being late, plan a little more time into my schedule the next time and get on with my beautiful day. 

What if no one likes me? 

If no one likes me, I will remember first and foremost that other people liking me has nothing to do with me and all to do with them and their thoughts about me. I will remember that I am lovable no matter what and all that matters is that I like me. I will remind myself that it’s okay if people don’t like me and I will carry on spending my energy and time with those who do like me all the while knowing that no matter what, I like me, and I like being around me. 

What if we get sick?

If we get sick, I will remember first and foremost that this isn’t my forever and that getting sick is a normal part of being a human being living in a world with lots of germs. I will take time to rest and drink lots of fluids and will eventually feel better. 

What if someone gets upset with me?

If someone gets upset with me, I will remember first and foremost that it’s okay for others to be upset with me. I will remind myself that other people’s actions come from their thoughts and feelings and not from ME. I will remind myself nothing has gone wrong and that people are entitled to think and feel however they want about me and where all my power lies, is in me thinking and believing beautiful things about myself no matter what other people think about me. 

Leaving the questions unanswered in my brain leaves me feeling anxious and answering the questions my brain is offering me leaves me feeling calm, in control and focused on what I want to think and believe.

If you’re a “what iffer” like me, try this strategy out and notice how your feelings change. Notice how you gain all your power back and don’t stay stuck in anxiety. This happens because you are taking control of your beautiful brain and deciding to think intentionally and on purpose. 

Same goes for your beautiful children. When you notice them asking a bunch of what if questions, lovingly ask them to answer them. Stay with them, remain quiet and listen. 

Often our instinct is to answer the questions for them and show them that no matter what, everything is solvable and okay. However, in these moments, I challenge you to remain quiet and let their brains do the work. There is so much power in getting the brain that is “what iffing” to answer the question for themselves.

Not only will they learn how to develop trust in themselves and their brains, but the more they do it themselves, the more it will become a skill that they can rely on and use when they are on their own. 

Game changer.   

Have a beautiful day my friends. 

xo

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