Where does it rate on the awfulness scale?

Sometimes awful stuff happens. Sometimes stuff happens that we reckon is pretty horrible yet in the overall scheme of life it does not necessarily end up being so shocking, despite our initial forecast.

If we’ve experienced a series of unpleasant events, we can easily categorise all similar future events as equally unpleasant. We may even multiply the unpleasantness many times which automatically frames not only our interpretation of the event but also our response.

Before we do this, stop for a minute to ask ourselves: where does it rate on the awfulness scale?

Are we “catastrophizing”? Are we giving undue weight to a potential negative consequence? This can be a positive in potentially life-threatening situations alerting us to our readiness for flight or fight, but it is otherwise counter-productive to a positive resolution.

In reality, most things that happen are not the end of the world. This does not demean nor devalue the impact of something truly horrible, but the simple truth is life goes on. So before we prepare for impending doom, let’s check where it rates on our awfulness scale.

This personal mental scale requires us to objectively assess a few simple points…

  • will this matter in 12 months time?
  • have I done this or been here before?
  • what’s the worst that can honestly happen?
  • what could I learn from this?
  • am I under-estimating my abilities?

The truth may well be that we are more equipped to handle this situation than we first thought.


Image credit: almagami / 123RF Stock Photo

What do you think?