What's the Worst That Can Happen?

Jul 09, 2021

In life after loss, fear and other difficult emotions can rule our life by dictating our decisions. Battered by grief, we can hardly imagine facing fear, feeling rejected, or stepping outside of our comfort zone.

Grief aside, the desire to avoid difficult emotions dictates most people’s decisions.

It’s a natural function of our primitive human brains. Back in the day, difficult emotions could mean danger which could mean death. And given that keeping us alive is the only job of the primitive brain, difficult emotions are something to avoid.

While we still have version 1.0 primitive human brains, we live in (at least) a version 3.0 world. A world in which we’re not likely to be attacked by a tiger. A world in which difficult emotions are highly unlikely to indicate danger or death.

Luckily the prefrontal cortex, unique to us humans, is more familiar with today’s reality. It can override the primitive brain’s hard-wired desire to avoid difficult emotions.

A good question to ask ourselves is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Of course, we can come up with any number of scary scenarios, but if you boil it down further, the worst thing that could possibly happen is a feeling.

You’re quite familiar with the feelings that come from the loss of a spouse: dark, scary, horrific, life altering pain (and so much more). A widower friend once told me, “You’ve already been through the worst. You’ll never experience anything like this again. So, now you have nothing to fear.” This was early in my journey, so I tucked away his advice until I felt strong enough to apply it.

Once I began applying it, I realized that that comparative value is a superpower.

What’s the worst thing that can happen now, in your life after loss? Maybe it’s rejection, judgment or uncertainty. Perhaps it’s insecurity, humiliation or frustration. No one actually wants to feel those feelings, granted, but compared to the pain of your great loss, these pale in comparison.

A favorite quote of mine by author Christina Rasmussen is, “You can do the impossible because you’ve been through the unimaginable.”

It is because of profound loss that we can face the fear, feel the discomfort and step out of our comfort zone. Life has already dealt the darkest darkness. By that measuring stick, everything else looks like child’s play. So why not be willing to feel some minorly difficult emotions in order to create the best life after loss possible?

If fear of difficult emotions is ruling your life and dictating your decisions, I see you.  I lived with this for years. My private coaching program, Life Reconstructed, is what I wish I knew back then. If you’re ready to try something different in order to get different results, simply click here and we’ll see if it’s a fit.

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

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