Once upon a time, not long ago, I had convinced myself that someone I loved was going to hurt me.
For two days, it was all I could think about. "I don't want to get blindsided, I don't want to get surprised, I don't want to get hurt."
On the third day, I got a text from that loved one that felt like a punch in the face. Or in the heart.
I made myself feel better (but not on that subject), and spent a pleasant evening. I went for a hike the next day feeling really good, noticing the great weather and reminiscing about other happy thoughts.. I saw some deer and I felt full of energy. I decided to run on the hilly, rocky trail.
Within a minute, I fell hard; chest-first on a big rock. I cracked my sternum. I had little rocks embedded deeply in both hands.
I got up gasping in pain, but determined to figure out why, when I had just been feeling so great, did I get hurt so badly.
I thought, "Okay, how does this feel? It feels surprising and painful."
"What else in my life has felt surprising and painful?"
Yup. That text.
Then all the fearful thoughts that had led up to the "surprising and painful" text over the last two days became clear.
I knew then I had to stop thinking the negative thoughts I had been thinking. I knew I didn't need to change any circumstance. The only thing I needed to do was make myself feel better about the relationship and my own well-being. I did a Focus Wheel exercise about it:
Starting with: I feel worried about....
Ending with: I know all is well because...
The cool thing that happens with the Focus Wheel is that when you start the ball rolling in the direction of feeling better, it gets easy to keep it going.
Everyone is different, but the thought that started the ball rolling for me was, "What (that person) does is none of my business"
"What anyone else does is only their effort to feel better. It has nothing to do with me."
I spent some time that day, as soon as I had removed the rocks from my hands, making myself feel genuinely better, and even really good, about the relationship I had been agonizing over, and about myself.
I realized that even though I had been feeling really good in the moment the 'accident' happened, I still had had a very strong vibration within me of the unresolved issue that I had ignored.
It took three months to recover from the cracked sternum, and it was the first thing that hurt whenever I felt any sort of negative emotion, but I felt very appreciative of the very, very clear lessons I received from that experience.
#1 You cannot control other people or protect yourself from unwanted things
#2 If you ignore a strong negative emotion, (and the thoughts that precede it) it will get bigger (in a very clear way)
#3 Changing how I feel is the only control I have; but when I do, the result I want occurs.
#4 The very thing I was afraid of was non-existent as soon as I made myself feel better.
#5 The powerful awareness of insecurity created tangible security as soon as I made myself feel better about it.