Projection (predicting future outcomes, good and bad)

Life is like being at the dentist.
You always think that the worst is still to come,
yet it is already over.
–Bismark

I constantly try to predict, emotionally prepare for, and manipulate the future.

The classic AA example of newcomer projection is when the new person finds out the idea behind AA is abstinence, and cries, “I won’t be able to toast at my daughter’s wedding!”  The wedding is never ever soon, and the daughter is a small child if she exists at all, and the person has predicted a negative outcome way into the future.  It also shows the negativity.  A sober alcoholic will not drink at his daughter’s wedding, but neither will he throw up, strip down, or get arrested for crazy behavior.  And he won’t do those things throughout all the years leading up to the wedding, which to me is a good bargain.  Giving up a wedding toast is a very small price to pay.

These days I automatically understand that I cannot predict the future.  Anything I describe in the future is said in that context.  This is also part of growing older, for me.  There are things that look likely to happen, like my son graduating college or the US legalizing gay marriage, but nothing in the future is a given.

Understanding that makes it easier for me to live in uncertainty.  Because really, there is no way to be certain about anything that hasn’t happened yet.  In dealing with my fear of flying, I’m understanding more that my negative projections set up physical and mental patterns in me that are hard to break.

Things don’t always turn out OK.  They don’t!  How often I hear that in meetings, that everything always turns out OK.  It may be that I don’t understand what people mean by that.

I’m trying more to invision things rather than to project.  I can picture myself flying calmly.  I can picture my work situation turning out well.  I can picture my kids succeeding and try to dwell in those scenarios a little bit, in order to try to bring them about, but mainly to let them go and experience today.

Especially in things that involve my thoughts and emotions, I’m understanding better that by practicing the fear and worry, I make them stronger and more likely to occur in me the next time.  I’m trying to practice serenity when I catch myself doing this.

It is in no way saying I shouldn’t plan, planning is good.  I have to understand that good things take time and energy and work to come into being, and that even with time and energy and work they may not come to be, and that my vision may not have been the best one anyway.

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