Two weeks on from my last post ( which you can read here ) and I’m out the other side of it all. ‘How did it go?’ you may ask. Well, my answer would have to be, ‘pretty good, actually’. There were times I had no idea what I was doing but my boss, on the day, picked up on this and was really helpful. I also asked for help or stepped back and got on with something else, if I felt I wasn’t being useful. There were very few moments when I was stood doing nothing, and then it wasn’t just me and this was only because we were waiting for instructions (or for the container truck to turn up!). The other guys , and yes, they were all guys, were supportive by not once cracking a ‘joke’ about me being the smallest / new person/ only woman and trusted me to know my limits and ask for help if I needed it. The first day was a long day but I gradually got more in to my comfort zone as the props came off the truck I started to get in to show mode.
So, ‘What can we learn from this?’ may well be your next question. I’m glad you asked. I suppose the biggest thing would be the rather hollow statement of ‘things are never as bad as you think they’ll be’. Yeah, thanks for that! Now, I know that this actually a rather silly thing to say, mainly because it’s not completely true, and the crucial thing about CBT and how to make this statement useful would be to look for evidence to support this. So, how can we take the evidence and the statement and make is useful, something we can work with, something that we can use in the future?
First of all the, I’m wary of terms like ‘all’, ‘always’ and ‘never’, because there will always be exceptions, nothing in life is that black and black. With that in mind, I’m reframing the lesson as ‘some things might sometimes not be as bad as you think they’ll be’. Obviously this is not as catchy but it’s more realistic and trying to convince yourself that everything will always be OK is not only avoiding reality and uncertainty (something which, trust me, can not be done!), but it’s also setting us up for failure. This theory that nothing bad will ever happen again will, no doubt, unravel at some point and you’ll lose all faith in your lessons and evidence.
Now for evidence. Lets look at the first paragraph of this post. That’s the evidence. You can do this with any past experience that’s turned out better than you thought it would. Write a little debrief, in your head (or on actual paper, if you’d prefer) It’s Ok to include things that didn’t go so well but make sure you balance it with things that did go OK. A little note on ‘OK’, too. OK is OK. Something doesn’t have to go perfectly or brilliantly to be a successful experience. I’m terrible for thinking that something has to be perfect to be a good experience. It’s something I still struggle with but hopefully you’ll be better at it, then me!
So, sometimes, something may not turn out as bad as you think it will. I guarantee that you have evidence of that and it’s that evidence that you have to remember. Unfortunately, that’s as certain as we can be, in life, and whilst ‘sometimes’ can be scary, and not necessarily the reassurance and answer you’re initially searching for, ‘sometimes’ doesn’t mean ‘never’ and that leaves room for ‘possibly’.