I am delighted to be hosting my first guest post this week by Orsolya Hernold.
Orsolya is a coach and trainer who lives in Budapest, Hungary with her partner and their two young children. She has been journaling for over 20 years and was fortunate enough to have mentors guide her through some powerful writing lessons. Orsolya belives that journaling has enabled her to lead a more conscious life and helped her with her own personal development.
Recently, Orsolya began her own company, orzola.org, which highlights the many therapeutic benefits of writing therapy and journaling in general. Her website offers free guided journaling courses that focus on one specific area of someone’s life at a time. These courses have high quality journals to accompany them. The wonderful Jade over at The Parenting Jungle has just reviewed one of Orsolya’s journals. If you would like to know more about how it works in practice head over to have a read.
What is the worst that can happen?
I got my first glasses when I was thirteen. After ten years, I changed to contact lenses. Altogether I had some sort of eye-aid for twenty years. I was forever dissatisfied with this state, as I could not accept my disability and my dependence on “equipment.” I longed for clear sight. I tried eye exercises: there was some improvement, but it was not enough for me. So I decided to have surgery a couple of years ago. I went to the clinic beforehand and got very detailed information about the procedure and the risks, leaving with confidence and satisfaction about my decision.
Then, a friend posed me the question: what if I lose my sight due to a medical malpractice? Full stop. Pause. Ahh, well, yeah, what? In my optimism, that was not a possible outcome I would consider. I have a family and my plans for my future definitely involved me seeing things. But what if? What if the worst happens? I posed this question, played along, and let my fears and worries arise–for me to watch them and find my way of handling them. Writing, as always, was my tool in finding the appropriate answers for all upcoming questions and doubts.
In the end, I got to like this question because it helped fears and worries bubble up to the surface. Writing them out took away the strength and power they could have used against my decision by hindering my actions from behind the scenes.
This writing exercise made me aware of other situations where the fears and worries I create by assuming the worst start to influence my behavior: they silence me in meetings where I’d rather speak up, they prevent me from taking a decision that serves my wellbeing, or they push me to be the horrid worry-driven mom.
I tackle all of my fears with the same approach, too. The easiest thing to do was to apply this same question, ‘what is the worst that can happen,’ to my fears of failure. By writing them down, fears and worries are out on the table on my sheet of paper or my screen. I can then at least consider them, maybe even discard them, let alone outwit them.
How about trying this writing exercise yourself? I am sure you have issues in your life–small or huge–where this question can be applied. Choose one and ask:
- What is the worst that can happen?
- Am I sure? Is there a more horrifying scenario I can imagine? Let those wild images out in the open!
- What happens to me in this case?
- What survival tactics can I use to prepare, in case either scenario manifests?
- What fears and worries surface that surprise me?
- What fears and worries are familiar? Do they still apply to my life or are they outdated, have no relevance whatsoever?
The surgery and the recovery all went well, and I got rid of my glasses–hopefully for a long time. On my list of what I am grateful for, my clear sight makes the top 5. I chose the operation by not letting myself get paralyzed by my fear of a life without sight. The fear was still present–but I had my answers for it.
I found this post fascinating as I am a huge worrier, some would say a catastrophiser, and often force myself to suppress my fears and worries rather than dealing with them head on. Unfortunately, my fears can have quite an impact on my life and this post has really made me question how I deal with them. There are many situations in the past when if I had asked myself the simple question that Orsolya poses to herself, ‘What is the worst that could happen?’ then I may have found myself laughing at my concerns, or rationalising them and being able to move past them. Orsolya has inspired me and I am going to try writing about a fear when one next stops me from doing what I would like and see how I get on.