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You mostly suffer in your imagination

“We suffer more in imagination than in reality”

Seneca

For much of my life, I worried about disappointing people.

I thought about it so often that you could be forgiven for having the impression that it happened a lot, like it was some high-risk thing that I should be worried about.

But the fact is I very rarely disappointed people. Indeed, I often exceeded their expectations. And so this idea that I was constantly at threat of it was just in my imagination.

And not only that, the assumption that disappointing people was somehow “bad” and “wrong” and “dangerous” also only existed in my imagination. There was no evidence that disappointing people had ever injured me in a measurable way. I’ve been injured more by wasp stings than I have by disappointing people.

Sound familiar?

The mind doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality. It “feels” the same on the inside of your head. Whatever it is that you’re thinking about, the mind responds to it as if it’s a real event.

And so one of the reasons that you constantly feel threatened by a certain situations, like disappointing people, getting rejected, failure, and so on, is because you keep imagining it happening. Your mind thinks it’s happening all the time, and not only that it’s occurring frequently, the catastrophic consequences you also imagine have you convinced that this thing is truly dangerous.

Next time that you’re dwelling on it happening, quickly ask yourself, Is this real or imagined?

If it is imagined, just acknowledge that. Notice that you’re not injured. Notice that there’s no evidence supporting your fear of this.

Just notice.

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One Response

  1. It’s worth writing down all the things you’re afraid of, and then re-examining them for real-life evidence that proves they’re dangerous

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