The concept of potential has been on my mind as of late. That spark you get when you see a new path forward. Something grabs your attention and you start to think of all the possibilities. You wonder, “Where could this lead me? Somewhere good? Somewhere bad?” A hundred and one questions run through your mind, almost to the point of exhaustion. Inevitably, though, those questions can turn toward the negative. “This won’t work. There’s no way. Impossible.”
Self-loathing is an art. It’s interesting how we can know so well that we’re going to screw something up, but not that we’re going to succeed. We make up stories, dramatic overtures that film students would murder a drifter over to get into their thesis script. Whenever we have a positive, conscious thought we immediately smash it into oblivion. “How dare you think this is going to work out!” It’s as though we want the bad thing to happen.
The flip side to this isn’t about shiny happy people holding hands or everything turning up roses, but giving yourself a break. It’s about riding the sine wave of self-doubt while not letting it pull you under. Enjoy the peaks, experience the valleys, but don’t get stuck on the negatives. Acknowledge when your thinking shifts from the positive to the negative and stop. Try to understand why that happened, whether there’s any validity in it—and if so, what you can actually do about it—and then gently move on.
Personally speaking, you can absorb a lot of valuable time worrying about things that never come to pass. I’m quite fond of the idea that whatever you worry about you bring into existence subconsciously through your actions. If your mind is tilted toward the bad stuff, it’s more likely that you’ll start to do the things that influence those outcomes. Instead, lean toward the good stuff. Remain aware of the negatives, but don’t let them steal the show.