Even the most enlightened of us can’t always stop ourselves from worrying about the future and asking ourselves “what if?” Underneath our connection to our Higher Self that we work so hard for, lurks the fear of future problems just waiting for an opening to ask us “what if?”
You know how it is…trouble is brewing at your job, layoffs could be coming. What if you lost your job? There have been a rash of pedestrian traffic accidents lately. What if your child is hit by a car? Your mother’s routine check-up turns into several follow-up appointments. What if she is sick? And on and on.
Before we know it, our Chatterboxes have taken over. We are filled with fears about the future and the “what if” questions drag us down to our Lower Self. Many of us “what if” ourselves into a perpetual state of worry.
“What if” questions come from our Lower Self, our inner chatterbox that wants us to live in perpetual fear. Susan wrote in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, “When the ‘what ifs’ are out in full force, the internal Chatterbox is at it again. You look at the unknown and try to predict the future; you try to take control of outside forces. Both are impossible. At this point you might notice you are driving yourself crazy.”
When we “what if” ourselves into anxiety and dread, we undermine our self-confidence, which then makes us feel insecure and out of control. Any of us familiar with Susan’s work knows that, “Underlying all our fears is a lack of trust in ourselves.”
We want to feel secure, but living life isn’t about being secure. As one of Susan’s favorite inspirational quotes says: “Ships in harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
In other words, if we want to live a safe and secure life, we won’t be living towards our purpose. There is nothing to be gained by being secure in life because, as you know, confidence doesn’t come from security, confidence comes from knowing that whatever we fear, and that whatever bad thing may come our way, we know we can handle it.
So how do we take on those “what if” fears? First, we need to recognize that the fear is there. Maybe say hello to it like an old acquaintance we have grown away from. We can answer that “what if” question with help from our Higher Self. “What if I lose my job?” Instead of breaking out into a sweat and eating a pint of ice cream, we can think it through. The answer might be, “I will cut back my expenses, start sending out my resume, and sign up for free classes offered by the job center.” “What if my child is hit by a car?” A good answer could be, “I will be frightened for their well-being, but I will make sure they get the best health care available and I will be there for them every minute.”
“What if” questions are only scary when you allow yourself to sit with the fear instead of honestly trying to answer it. When you set the fear aside and examine the question with real intention you build confidence and trust in yourself.
One of Susan’s best lessons is “I’ll handle it.” When we know that we can handle whatever comes our way, we can approach any problem, any fear, with self-confidence that will support us when bad things happen. Unlike “what if-ing” ourselves, which comes from our lower way of thinking “I can handle it” puts us directly in touch with our Higher Self.
Susan wrote, “You, like everyone else, have incredible sources of power within that you haven’t used before. It would serve you to say to yourself, ‘I know I’ll handle it. I have nothing to worry about.’ Instead of ‘I’ve lost my job! What will I do?’ try ‘I’ve lost my job. I know I’ll handle it.’”
Security, she said, is not having things, it is handling things. “Thus, when you can answer all your ‘what ifs’ with ‘I can handle it,’ you can approach all things with a no-lose guarantee, and the fear disappears.”
“What if” questions don’t have to be a source of fear. When approached with the right mind-set and attitude, “what if” questions can help us become more prepared and more confident. When we can answer those fear-mongering questions with practical answers, we are building confidence and trust in ourselves.
So when your Lower Self tries to slip in some “what if’s” into your thinking, try to recognize the question for what it is and then find a practical answer. When you can do this regularly, as Susan said, “You will find yourself coming closer and closer to such a high level of self-confidence that you will ultimately begin to realize that you can handle anything that comes your way.”
Never let these three little words out of your mind—
possibly the most important three little words you’ll ever hear—
I’ll handle it!