Can anticipation boost your confidence and make life more enjoyable?
The obvious answer is “it depends.” It depends on what you’re anticipating. Let’s explore some common anticipations and how they impact us.
We need look no further than kids’ anticipation of Christmas (including big kids like me) to recall what anticipating something something good feels like.
Of course there are a lot of good things in life that can create this kind of anticipation:
- Date night with the love of your life.
- A new job.
- New challenges for those who like to test themselves.
- Getting together with friends.
- Your next vacation.
- Your kid’s first steps…first words.
These are just a few of the things that we anticipate with joy and excitement. They inspire hope which boosts confidence. What we see are the good that will come when these events occur.
Now let’s explore the emotions we feel when we anticipate something bad happening…things like:
- Undiagnosed health issues…your’s or your kid’s.
- Job insecurity.
- Loss of a loved one.
- Financial downturns.
- Undiagnosed car problems.
- Unwanted challenges.
Unfortunately, this kind of anticipation is accompanied by fear, anxiety and frustration. Not the joy, excitement, hope. and confidence that anticipating good brings. Indeed, when we expect the worst our confidence is shaken. We typically don’t have any idea how we’re going to deal with the situation we’re facing.
That’s true until you embrace the old adage “expect the best, prepare for the worst.” For when you prepare for the worst you envision yourself dealing with any situation you’ll face. You in essence remind yourself that you can deal with anything including news that you only have a few weeks or months to live.
You can readily understand feeling confident when you’re anticipating good, but you may be wondering how it’s possible to be confident when facing the worst possible news. Here’s a clue…control.
When you’re anticipating a problem it’s the uncertainty about what you’re facing that generates the feelings of fear, anxiety, frustration and helplessness. Once you know what the problem is and what options you have available to you, you move forward confidently because you know what the right choice is for you. It’s the uncertainty associated with the bad that you’re anticipating that shakes your confidence. So what’s the solution?
There are several things that you can do to assure that whatever it is you’re anticipating adds to your confidence:
- Stop judging things as good or bad. They are neither. They’re simply situations that have to be dealt with. When you feel yourself anticipating something “bad,” remind yourself that you have always been able to deal with anything that has come your way.
- When faced with something “bad,” start listing the possible outcomes and what you plan to do in each instance. This simple act allows you to regain “control” over your emotions. In doing so you’ll regain your confidence. You’ll also find that the news, when received, has been anticipated and, consequently, is less devastating than it would have been had you not prepared for it.
- Involve loved ones in the analysis. It will be as helpful to them as it is to you to formulate plans to deal with the various possible outcomes. They too will get relief from the fear, anxiety and frustration that all of your are experiencing.
For our kids
As your child’s confidence is shaken because they’re anticipating the worst, lead them through a discovery of the possible outcomes. Let them discover as much as possible on their own.
If they’re overlooking outcomes, ask them questions so that they can make the discovery on their own. Then ask them how they plan on dealing with each outcome.
After they’ve gone through this process and learned how much better (more confident and in control) they feel, they’ll continue the practice on their own. As a result they learn to s“expect the best, prepare for the worst”…and be confident in doing so.