This is what I want to write about, right now, because I felt scared today, and I’m still feeling it.
I thought it might be helpful to ask myself the question: “What’s so scary?” and see what happens.
Okay, let the questioning begin.
What’s so scary?
I’m glad you asked. Here’s what so scary: I have to make several presentations, about the therapy groups that I’m doing, to several different audiences, starting next week. I admit that I lost track of the time and — with kind of a shock — realized today that it was just a week away. A week!
What’s so scary about that?
I’m not really prepared. I mean, I THOUGHT I was prepared. But now that it’s real, and I’m imagining doing the presentation, in front of people I don’t know, who I’m imagining as bored, judgmental, or even contemptuous — I’m realizing that what I THOUGHT would be good enough, probably isn’t.
So, obviously, I should have been working on this presentation more before. Also, this is the beginning of an inexorable chain of presentations — SEVEN in the next six weeks. PLUS, this is leading up to another, much bigger presentation I have to do in June to an audience that REALLY scares me.
What’s so scary about that?
Haven’t you been listening? There is the chance for FAILURE here! Plus, I could disappoint some people who are expecting me to be good. So I’m feeling guilty about not doing more, before today. Plus, I’m feeling like a CONCEITED JERK for thinking that I had things all together, and didn’t need to prepare much for this. What was I thinking, when I said I would do this? I should have known this would scare the sh*t out of me! How am I ever going to be calm for the next two months?? This is the most stressful thing EVER. And work can be stressful enough, already. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I should have known better. That’s what I get, for thinking that I was in a confident and experienced enough place to be able to do this without FREAKING OUT. I mean, look at me now!
So what’s so scary?
I guess my thoughts are scaring me, not the actual presentation.
There are an awful lot of cognitive distortions in those thoughts, which I can see, now that I’ve written them down. I see shoulds, mind reading, catastrophizing, labeling, emotional reasoning, and there’s probably more.
Here’s what I’m thinking now.
I guess I don’t know how the presentation is going to turn out.
I guess I’m afraid of my own fear, in a way.
I guess imagining the audience being bored, judgmental, and/or contemptuous isn’t helping me right now.
I’m actually a lot less scared. Amazing.
But what if those thoughts come back between now and next week? Or between now and June?
I’ll just ask myself, What’s so scary?
Until it isn’t.
And if that doesn’t work, I’ll figure something else out.
Thanks for reading.