A Gentle Guide For “What-If-Ers”


Lorna Davey

18 August 2019 2 comments

I don’t know about you, but I am the worlds biggest “what-if-er”: I second guess everything, I overthink things and I panic. Sound familiar?
Believe me, it used to be a lot worse, and if you think that is where you are right now, this post is the perfect place for you to be.

Second guessing things isn’t necessarily a bad trait to have. It shows that you truly care about what it is you’re “what-if-ing”. However, this can lead to a bigger hole of over thinking, and that’s what you want to avoid.
This is often referred to as “impostor syndrome”. This is a physiological effect where an individual doubts their decisions and thoughts, and can also often fear feeling like a “fraud” or “fake”.

All in all, second guessing and self doubt can be mentally toxic, and take it from me, it’s no breeze. If you’re feeling the same way reading this, then you already know exactly what I’m talking about. But it’s okay; this post is here as a gentle reminder and guide that there is a community of people who are feeling exactly the same way, and want to offer you some helping hands and guidance to feeling confident in yourself and the way that you think and problem solve. So, take a deep breath, collect those “what-if” thoughts and exhale them out.

1. Talk yourself through it thoroughly

If you are second guessing doing something, chances are you have a gut feeling that is either being the voice of reason, or the voice of un-reason. There is no bit of each, it is either one or the other.
SO, talk to yourself (preferably in your head, but whatever works for you, crazy pants!). What is it that’s stopping you from progressing forward? And why is that feeling there?
Sometimes all you need is to lay your thoughts out like puzzle pieces, and soon enough, the right pieces will come together to form your answer.

I personally keep a diary- it has a cute slogan on the front that says ‘I was not made to be subtle’ which encourages me to be confident and proud of who I am. I don’t force myself to write in this daily, it is simply a diary to lay out my brain like blueprints. It allows me to read over, and reassure myself in any way needed.

2. Get a second opinion

After talking yourself through it, whether or not you found your answer or not, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion, or even a third, fourth and fifth! There is nothing wrong with asking for some help, especially if it is to help ease your mental state. Second guessing can sometimes get us stuck in this loop of panic that we don’t even realise we are in until we crash. Make sure you’re doing the best to care for yourself, and ask for a helping hand, even if you feel you don’t need it!

A second opinion could also come from a trained professional. Seeking therapy and counselling for compulsive second-guessing is totally okay, and do not ever let yourself or anyone else think otherwise. We all need help from time to time. Therapists are trained to best advise us, so please do always reach out if you feel you need to.

3. Is the matter really worth your mental exhaustion?

Sometimes we can get ourselves worked up over the simplest of things. I know I certainly do. I have had a total breakdown before over what to have for dinner, to the point where I then didn’t eat for the next 12 hours- and it was positively exhausting. Imagine having a grudge against someone, except instead of a person, it’s food. An inanimate object. (I’m laughing at myself at this point).
The truth is, it does happen. Sometimes we work ourselves up so much that even the smallest things become the biggest and worst.
Remember to take a step back from the problem. Don’t ignore it and abandon it, but just take a breath of fresh air, and think: “Is this really worth my metal exhaustion?”
If it’s not, then make a decision with your gut. Pretend it’s like bungee jumping and something risky, and go with whatever your gut decides. If it is, then remember, the other steps are here to guide you through your unresolved issue. Talk it through with yourself, and then reach out for further help, whether this be a relative, a friend or even your neighbour!

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2 thoughts on “A Gentle Guide For “What-If-Ers”

  1. Emily Carter

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m definitely a what-if-er so these tips will be a massive help to me!

  2. I can definitely relate to this. I second guess myself all the time and it gives me massive anxiety.

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