The list of examples and directions I could take this post is practically infinite, because if your head is anything like mine, it happens all the time.
It happens at work. Is your boss calling you or requesting a meeting with the subject unknown?
“I wonder if I’m about to get reprimanded for something, or fired …”
It happens at school. Say you did poorly on one test, for example.
“Well, I’m probably going to get a poor grade in the whole course, perhaps even fail it. So I might as well not even study or try hard, because the hole is too big to climb out of. I’m just not really that smart. I might even fail out of school, and end up homeless …”
It happens with relationships, especially before tough, emotional conversations.
“If I tell her how I really feel, she’s never going to understand, and it’s going to be a huge fight … so I might as well hold back here …”
It happens all the time … in your head.
But every time, at least in my experience, those doomsday scenarios never actually come true.
They simply don’t. In fact, they almost always work out way better than we project them to, especially when we move forward with the thing that scares us.
When we avoid these situations, when we let our head override what our heart knows we must do, all that happens is that they get delayed or repressed. They don’t go away.
Unexpressed feelings get buried, they don’t disappear. They manifest later on, in different ways such as anger, resentment, or even illness.
Unresolved conflicts resurface no matter how far away you run.
My advice for combating the big fat liar in your head, especially for important decisions or actions where the resistance is strong, is to embrace her.
Let her fantasy run wild to the darkest possible place for a minute or two. What is the worst possible case scenario that could actually happen here? That if you ask for a raise, your boss will get insulted, fire you on the spot, and you’ll end up homeless on the street?
OK fine. Now you’ve taken her best shot. Now you can ask the question: how likely is it that that will actually happen?
It’s not likely at all. In fact, it won’t.
What’s much more likely to happen is that, not only will this thing not kill you, it will make you stronger.
You may never be able to get rid of that voice in your head.
But you never have to trust her, or let her control you.
Bonus! Check out the post “Your Head Is A Big Fat Liar” (same title, different article) by my friend and colleague Diego Gonzalez, also published today on his blog The Process of Being, here. This was part of a challenge to write alternate versions of a post with the same title, independently. Enjoy!