We need to break away from negative patterns by reminding ourselves that every “what if?” also has a positive spin.
As incredibly exciting as it was to hold a publishing contract in my hand, the days following were not as glorious as one might imagine. The truth is, I couldn’t even get to the end of the letter without a slew of thoughts running through my head. I was honored, grateful, and ecstatic that someone, anyone, would see value in what I wrote. That’s every writer’s dream, but on top of all those emotions, I was feeling something else.
I was afraid.
In the days since, I’ve had to seriously reflect on the array of negative thoughts that have crossed my mind. All from “what if this book doesn’t sell?” to “what if the lack of success from this book ruins any future chances of being published?”
Those don’t compare to the worst thought I’ve had. The thought that literally runs through my head multiple times a day. The thought that’s been a topic of conversation at our dinner table night after night.
“What if people hate it and think less of me?”
Day after day I have been petrified of this idea that if people hate my book then, in return, they’d hate me. I teach writing…to children. What if they think I’m a bad teacher because my book is terrible?Even worse, what if they hate the book and think I’m an idiot?
I can handle low book sales, and I can probably even handle never getting published again, but I don’t know how I would handle people thinking less of me.
Then I’m reminded of the simple fact that I will never be able to control other people’s opinions. I’m reminded that all I can do is write the best story that I can.
There are so many times in our lives we are wondering “what if?.” Those statements are just another form of negative thought patterns. Those “what ifs?” are holding us back, and most importantly causing us unnecessary stress and anxiety.
For every negative “what if?” there will always be an opposite. It’ll be less scary, less anxiety-provoking, and less worrisome.
From here on out, every negative “what if?” I have, will be replaced by a positive. Instead of “what if everyone thinks I’m an idiot?” I’ll change it to “what if everyone thinks I’m actually good at this?”
Catch yourself and replace those negative thought patterns.
Previously Published on briantownsend.com