If there was one thing I wish I could change about myself it would be my waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know when something good starts happening and instead of enjoying it you try to predict or anticipate the end of it.
It's like when someone has seen a movie and they're talking about it but stop I just tell them to continue because I would rather know the ending and be "relieved" of the brief anxiety you get trying to piece it together.
It quite possibly is the easiest way to steal joy from yourself and is usually done unintentionally.
I know I am certainly not the only one who does this, in fact I was listening to "Happy and Sad" by Kacey Musgraves in the car and everything clicked. That song is all about waiting for the other shoe to drop, here's a few sample lyrics:
And I'm the kind of person who starts getting kinda nervous. When I'm having the time of my life.
And they say everything that goes up must come down
'Cause I don't wanna wake up. When they're turnin' the lights on and it turns out the joke's on me
The song bounces back and forth between being happy, specifically about love, and then feeling cautious about what happens next. If you're not familiar give it a listen it's a good peek inside a person's brain who thinks that way.
I think the idea behind anticipating the other shoe to drop in some instances is protection. If you already know what's going to happen in a situation and it's bad then you can prepare yourself for the end. You can start cutting strings and emotionally disconnecting yourself so the pain hurts less or at least so you can tell yourself it hurts less.
It's counteractive though, as you try to board yourself up and take control of a situation for the sake of protection you hurt yourself more. You begin to tear apart something that was built on a solid foundation. You push away people you don't think will stay and you stop progressing in a job or activity because you feel like it won't pan out.
In the wake of protecting yourself, you have created a storm of destruction that not only affects you but others as well, whether you choose to recognize it or not.
I'm not sure when I adopted this method of thinking. At some point, my inner control freak decided that I needed to know if I should invest time into something if it's just going to fail or hurt. At the same time, I understand that it is a part of life: you can't have full control and you won't. There are also moments of failure and hurt that we end up going through to shape us into who we become.
If I can at least remind myself I don't have full control I can't drive myself crazy trying to have control because I shouldn't feel the need to control everything. Life happens the way it's supposed to and as I have gotten older I have felt better about loosening up on the reigns. Enough so that I no longer just do as I am told, I do things that feel right even if others feel the need to judge me for it.
With a looser grip on life and being wholly aware that I don't need control I still wait for the other shoe to drop. It doesn't rule my life and every decision I make but it is something that marinates in the back of my mind.
As long as I don't try to control every aspect I think I'll stay afloat.