I was having a conversation with a friend last week about an occasion she had coming up and she started to explain that even though it was a really exciting event, one that she ought to be really happy and excited about, she really wasn’t looking forward to it. This intrigued me, because I thought it seemed a little sad, because often the build up becomes all wrapped up in the event itself and it’s so nice to have something in your calendar to get excited about. So I thought I’d dig a bit deeper and it transpired that she knew she was going to be disappointed by it, because whenever she looked forward to something, it never really worked out how she wanted it to.
So I asked her how she wanted it to turn out and she got that whole dreamy look and described the perfect day, the perfect weather, how people were dressed, what the food was like, she described meeting with people she hadn’t seen for ages, catching up with them, what the entertainment was going to be like. It sounded perfect, but then she added ‘but of course it won’t be like that!’ So I asked why she thought that, and she replied, that generally it doesn’t turn out like that, it was bound to rain, she wasn’t sure about what she was wearing and would probably feel uncomfortable, there were some people there she didn’t get on with and she’d end up not speaking to many people at all and ‘let’s face it, bands and discos are never as good as you think they are going to be!!’
What my friend was doing was something very natural and I’m sure that you have done it from time to time too, I know that I have. We create a whole bunch of thinking about what we think ‘might happen’ good or bad, but the truth is we simply don’t know, the vast majority of us cannot see into the future with that degree of detail or certainty so we create a scenario that either raises our expectations that will never be met or one that we won’t be disappointed by. But neither of them makes us feel really good because even when we create an amazing fictional story of what we think will happen – there is still that voice of doubt that creeps in.
So how can we plan for things that haven’t happened yet?
Well there is one aspect that we can focus on, something that we can have control over that isn’t dependant on the weather, the disco or the turned up sandwiches and that is how we feel.
I learnt during my journey that when I put my focus on feeling good, on enjoying myself, on having the very best experience I could, the detail of the ‘outside’ stuff simply pailed into insignificance because I know that the outside stuff doesn’t make me happy. I now look forward to events, not because of the detail of what is going to happen – I just let that happen in whatever way it wants to – but because I know I’m going to have a great time, I know I’m going to be happy whatever and I will embrace whatever happens from that place of feeling good.
So if you have something coming up, whether it be a life changing event or something as simple as meeting a friend for coffee, let the details go, stop planning it in your head, and focus on the most important aspect – YOU.
Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days.