I often hear people say they don’t want to talk about something because they might “jinx” it and make things worse. Does simply talking about something have the power to effect change? Isn’t that what counseling is all about? Knowing how to talk about difficult things is the first step toward change.
I wonder if perhaps it is really fear that things are imbalanced and the slightest attention to this could disrupt this delicate state. People would then have to examine their role in maintaining this cycle and inevitably have to do something about it. Change can be difficult. Most people tolerate problems versus challenging them as it takes considerable effort to self-reflect and see what could be better and what it takes to achieve it.
We worry about future events that are unlikely and take up a lot of our conscious thought. “What if” prohibits us from making changes and testing out our hypotheses and adapting to our world. If we take a moment to contemplate the “possibilities”, we would never go outside again. But what if we looked at the “probabilities” of something happening. For example, how likely is it that a disastrous event will occur? We can look at history and determine how many disastrous events have occurred. This would tell us the likelihood of this occurring. If something has never happened or infrequently happened over the course of our lives, is this a realistic reason to halt our forward momentum? Do you stay inside every day because it may rain…..or do you bring along your umbrella?
When we consider jinxing something by talking about it…..ask yourself “has this happened before where something got worse when we examined it?”. Or is it more likely that things were more out in the open and it allowed everyone to share their concerns and find a more manageable solution? Possibly the something worse we fear is that we will have to “do something” and we are concerned about our ability to be successful and maintain the new level of expectations we have for ourselves. Isn’t this what self-esteem is based on? Learning new things about ourselves through challenges and successes.
So the next time you are fearing how to talk about difficult things because of a fear of “jinxing” the status quo you are maintaining…..ask yourself “Could it possibly get worse? Stay the same? Or probably get better?” Are the odds in your favor?
Author: Stephanie Phillips, LCMHC, NCC, CCTP
Psychotherapist & Owner
The Mindly Group, PLLC