Catastrophizing our way to liberty

What's the worst thing that can happen?

Fuck it.

It’s that simple

Two words.

Fuck it.

These words are easy to say when creating a boundary.

They take a while to be able to say with conviction.

One useful tool is asking yourself one question:

What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do / or do not do? And then what? What’s the worst thing that can happen there?

Creating healthy boundaries is a change.

Every change is a threat to what is normal for me/you.

And?

Humans are remarkably foolish.

Even when what is normal for me/you blows dead bears, when the integrity of our shitty way of being in the world is threatened, we experience fear, liquid concentrated fear. As such, we tend to imagine that even positive change will be damaging.

The sky is falling

There was a chicken.

The chicken was called Chicken Licken.

One day, Chicken Licken woke up.

Things looked grim.

Things looked bleak.

The sky was falling.

And know what happened?

The sky fell.

Everyone died.

All at once.

It was over fairly quickly.

Those who didn’t die instantly?

They went into shock and felt little pain on the way out.

Nobody mourned.

Nobody cared.

Why not?

Everyone was dead.

The Story of Chicken Licken teaches us something vitally important to liberty.

Everyone dies.

Eventually.

And?

If everyone’s dead?

There’s nothing to worry about

what to listen for

Creating boundaries for ourselves can be difficult.

Where do we put them.

Listen to yourself, either by speaking your thoughts aloud, or, by writing them down.

Look for the words ‘should, shouldn’t, can’t, must, have to, or ‘no way that I could’.

These words that you’re convinced of?

They’re likely bullshit.

When you say these words in opposition to a curiosity, or when it comes to a perceived obligation or responsibility, you have an opportunity. You have an opportunity to test reality.

Test reality?

Yes, test reality. And not like some charming space alien who travels around in a funny blue box, but test the reality of your beliefs.

When you want something that’s in conflict with a perceived belief you can test yourself: What’s the worst thing that can happen if…

Then?

Start catastrophizing.

What really are the worst things that can happen. Take them to logical extremes.

They all likely end up with you and everyone you love dead.

Then ask: How likely is it?

Then ask: What are the more likely consequences?

Then ask: Can I test by asking the others (the people my choices impact) if these consequences are real?

Then ask: Can I live with these consequences? What do I want? The impact on me of doing things I don’t want to do, or the impact on others by my removal of myself?

And?

You’ll likely find one of three things:

1: You’re not as important as you thought you were and people will get on fine for those instances without you. Great people. Keep them.

2: People will resent your boundary and try to get you to do what they need of you rather than respect that you’re moving in a different direction. These people might need to be moved into the waste basket or become

3: People you’re willing to train. That’s right. There are some people who have shitty boundaries that we’re willing to hang in with a bit longer, for whatever reason. Perhaps they’re a parent that we haven’t given up on (yet). Or a lover. Or a sibling. Or an employer. We have the opportunity to leash these puppies up and train them.

How to train the jerks?

That’s going to be another post.

For a preview?

Expect them to be screw ups. Expect them to violate your boundaries while still pointing out to them every time they do it.

In doing so you’ll either piss them off and drive them away - Problem solved.

Or?

They’ll begin treating you better - Problem solved.

Either way there’s going to be loss.

And?

Sometimes ‘loss’ creates delightful grief that improves our lives


One Derful Thing

No death no!

When you hear the word no today, fake your death.

Simple?

Make a request that you think might be denied and will likely cause tension and hesitation in the other person. When they say no, pretend to die.

Find another person to join in this game.

Have them make requests.

When they are denied? Fake your death.

Have a zoom call this week?

Get everyone on the team involved.

If you have a leader who talks too much and goes on too long, when they miss all of the teams subtle cues to wrap up the terrible meeting, have a signal that everyone knows except your manager - captain windbag.

Fake your deaths.

See how they react.

They can’t fire everyone.