Friday, August 12, 2005

Preparing for a Negative

After doing some physical chores, Janine said, "I know I'm going to hurt tomorrow." Sure enough, the next day she did.

The comment is innocuous enough. I say things like that all of the time. Still I wonder if thinking about hurting had anything to do with the pain that Janine actually felt the next day. If she hadn't thought about hurting would she have had less pain or maybe none at all? I'm constantly predicting and preparing for negative things I think will happen. I wonder whether I prepare myself into making bad things happen or turn bad things into worse ones.

Preparing for something bad seems like a negative thing to do. How could it not be negative thing to do? Focusing on negatives has got to release fight or flight chemicals in my brain. It's a straight out argument for how it could make the negative even more negative.Thinking I'm going to get a migraine could be just the nudge my brain needs to let loose with a nerve storm that lays me out flat. It makes sense that worrying about the pain is likely to make it worse.

I've seen a friend become so well prepared for a negative, that he caused it to happen by the defensive posture he took. I've sat through hours of description of what he will do when someone tells him no, only to have the answer be yes. The only audience who saw the glory of his well-prepared argument was me. I lived the night of negativity. It wasn't fun.

I do it too. I suspect we all do. I think about what if and how I'll respond when. Though I don't worry daily about nuclear war, it's only because I have friends who do it for me. Why do we do these negative things? We do them because negatives do happen, and it's naive to live unprepared for them. It would be foolish not to prepare for a hurricane. I would be a fool not to save for a calamity. Preparing for some negatives is self-preservation. Though it gets my brain chemicals going, it also means that I'm alive and alert.

It seems a good idea though, that I should know what I'm preparing for and whether it's worth the investment.

Janine probably wouldn't think to say, "I know I'm going to feel great tomorrow." I wouldn't say it either.

I don't need to prepare for a positive. Positive things don't hurt.
—me strauss Letting me be


Anonymous said...

"I don’t need to prepare for a positive. Positive things don’t hurt" <- Thats the best i've read for a long long time. Hope its ok that i quote u now and then

"ME" Liz Strauss said...


The truth belongs to everybody. Quote to your heart's content.

Stop by again soon.


Unknown said...

I do understand this. When do a lot of walking, my back, my legs and my hips hurt me a lot. By the time I get home, I'm ready to collapse.

Since I know this, I've noticed that when I say it out loud, I'm more tense and the pain is more severe.

However, when I just think about how nice of a walk I had and what a beautiful day it was, I'm more relaxed and although there is pain, it's not as bad as it is when I "prepare for the negative".

Instead of thinking about how I am going to be feeling, I try to just think about how good it will be to get home and what a great time I had in the moment.

I've been enjoying your blog, including this post.:)

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Thank you, Mae,
I know I learned to do the same thing with my migraines. I call it making friends with the pain. It has a wonder of differnce.

Welcome to my hiding place. Do stay as long as you like.