Do you ever wonder if life is a real thing? Like, maybe we’re all just dreaming. Or maybe we’re all living in the matrix. Or maybe we’re all living in the Truman Show.
Sometimes when I get a particularly realistic dream, this idea plays out in my head for a few days. Then I forget about it.
But sometimes, I really am not living in reality (stay with me here).
I notice it particularly when I meet someone new. After talking to them for a bit, I’ll walk away from the conversation and replay it over and over in my head. Since I don’t know what they’re thinking, I’ll provide the commentary for them in the instant-replay version.
It typically involves them thinking I’m a weirdo and wondering when the conversation will be over.
I began to notice that these imaginary scenarios were preventing me from actually engaging in real life. I’d avoid social situations or stepping out of my comfort zone so that I wouldn’t have to re-watch the episode of “True Life: I’m Alysia” later on that day.
That’s when I decided to fire my narrator and turn off the TV.
Are You Holding Yourself Back?
Sometimes, before I even do anything, I’ll imagine what it’ll be like in my head.
I noticed this happening a lot at work. I’ll come up with an idea that I think is a good one and then I’ll imagine myself talking to my boss about it.
The version of my boss in my brain is about 50x meaner and stuffier than he is in real life. He hates everything I say and he’s mad he ever hired me. In my head, I’ll play out the entire conversation with my imaginary horrible boss and by the time it’s over, I’ve completely talked myself out of saying anything in real life.
It’s not until I started asking my narrator (ie. myself), “Is this real life?” that I was able to get out of my own head and step out of my comfort zone.
The answer was obviously a resounding, NO! the scenarios in my brain are not real life. My boss is actually a pretty cool guy and even if he did hate my idea, he wouldn’t get mad at the fact that I was trying to solve a problem.
Do you do this in your life as well?
Maybe you’re considering going to the gym but when you imagine it in your head, everyone around you is thinking about how fat and hopeless you are. How the way you’re running isn’t correct and how stupid you are for even trying.
Or, maybe you want to try cleaning up yours and your family’s diet but when you imagine announcing it to everyone in your house, they all just tell you you’re an idiot and they’ll eat whatever they want to matter what you say. Or, they’re just snickering to themselves thinking about how your new “health food kick” will only last a week before you break down and eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting.
Stop Living In Your Head
Obviously, sometimes things like this actually happen or we wouldn’t be so worried about it. But 99% of the time, people are too busy thinking about themselves to even care about you.
Any time I’ve ever been to the gym, I’m too wrapped up in my own thoughts about how terrible I’m doing to even notice anyone else around me.
Think about it, who is the person you spend the most time thinking about?
It’s yourself (be honest!)
I’m too busy living in my own world to ever think about anyone else’s.
I mean, maybe I’m the only weirdo who does this and everyone else actually is thinking about how crazy am…but I’m betting not.
I’m sure right now you’re thinking, “Yeah, I know I need to stop doing that but if it were so easy…I would have done it by now.”
The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? When you’re going through these imaginary scenarios in your head and you realize you’re doing it…you need to ask yourself, “Is this real life?” Is it realistic? Do you really know what everyone else was thinking?
After that, ask yourself, “How do you know?”
How do you know what that person is thinking? How do you know they hate everything you do? How do you know what their reaction will be?
The answer, of course, is you don’t. There is literally no way to know what a person is thinking so stop trying. Like, LITERALLY NO WAY TO KNOW.
Even if they’re telling you one thing, they could be thinking another thing…and you’d NEVER KNOW. Isn’t that freaky? Actually, don’t think about that…cause it’s totally freaky. But it’s a thing that weirds me out.
Anyway, don’t let it weird you out, let it help you stop with these scenes in your head. You don’t know what someone else will do or think, so stop acting like you do and just live in the real world instead of the one in your head.
Once you ask that question, ask, “So?”
Everyone at the gym thinks you’re dumb for even showing up…so? Does that change the fact that you’re making an effort to improve your physical health and doing something that’s great for your body and could greatly improve your quality of life?
You just talked to someone at a party and when they asked what you were doing tomorrow you told them you’re going to church. They walk away thinking that you’re a weirdo bible-thumper…so?
Does that person’s opinion make you a weirdo bible-thumper? Is your life impacted in any way at all by what they think about what you’re doing the following morning? NO!
Chances are, these scenarios aren’t even realistic but if they happened to somehow come into fruition, would it really be that bad? I don’t think it would.
Stop letting your fear of these imaginary situations hold you back from having a better life.
Next time you catch yourself making stuff up, ask yourself these three questions:
- Is this real life?
- How do you know that?
Completely dismantle this situation you’ve created and you can start to get over it. By realizing that these scenarios aren’t real it becomes less of a threat.
Hopefully, the more you can get out of your head and live in the real world, the less you’ll have these thoughts. I know that’s been the case for me.
Or maybe I’m the only weirdo who ever does this and you’re all reading this thinking, “Man, Alysia is crazy. I wouldn’t want to have her brain. I can’t believe she’s posting about this on the internet for everyone in the world to read. What a kook.”
But if that’s the case then to that I say, so? Some stranger on the internet thinks I’m crazy? Worse things have happened.
(see what I did there?)