Ecclesiastes 7:14 - When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
When things are going well do you feel guilty because you’re having a good time?
For some people life has been especially rough. So, when good things begin to happen, they hold off on completely enjoying themselves, because they believe eventually something bad is going to happen. In addition, something may have happened in their past that is their fault, and they may feel like they don’t deserve to be happy.
Realistically we know that life will not always give us happy moments. However, mixed into those negative moments are some really good ones.
So how do we stop expecting the worst to happen all the time and start believing the best will come? Realize that you might be catastrophizing. Here’s a start, first, make a list of the things that are bad in our lives. Dwell on that list. Think about the bad things until they are crystal clear:
Now let’s turn our thoughts in the opposite direction and make a list of the things that are going right in your life to see that good can happen:
What are these areas?
Does reading this help you have a new perspective? It’s possible to turn your life around and believe you can enjoy life. I was stuck for many years in the muck and mire of blaming myself for everything wrong in my life, and this caused me to never fully enjoy life. I make a point now to pause so to speak during a family event or times spent with a friend and allow myself to take a breath and enjoy the moment. You can too!
Harleytherapy.co.uk in their article, “Catastrophizing – Always Assuming the Worst? Why You Need to Stop,” give us some advice on how to stop expecting the worst all of the time. Their ideas include realizing negative thinking can be a learned habit, it can be connected to a bad past, it is connected to anxiety and anxiety disorders, and it can be symptoms of a personality disorder. So how do they recommend stopping catastrophizing? By learning to tell the difference between a thought and reality. Write down your thoughts and see if it sheds light on what you’re feeling. Also, ask yourself what the feelings are behind catastrophizing and try to see how that feeling is leading you to expect the worst all of the time. Another way is to write down your thoughts and talk about them to a friend or a therapist.
Realize also, as the Bible verse above says, when times are good, be happy. And when they’re bad, know that God has made them both and he will help you find the joy in the midst of all of life’s up and down points.
Key words: catastrophizing, expecting the worst, good can happen, perspective
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.