Consider the Best-Case Scenario

This past week, my aunt and uncle came for a visit. Since they were going to be staying with us for a long weekend, they emphasized the need to keep it simple. They didn’t want us to worry about cleaning the house or buying groceries ahead of time. Their main objective was to spend time with us, and they didn’t want their visit to be a stress or a burden. While they were here, we mostly hung out at home playing cards and passing the football around in the backyard. We also attended a couple of my son’s flag football and soccer games and looked for seashells along the shore of a beach near our home. It was a low-key visit, and although we were willing to take them to the local attractions, they simply wanted to “be with us” – stepping into our lives for a few days. It turned out to be a wonderful and relaxing weekend, and my children were very sad when they had to head back home. But, we were all grateful for the quality time we got to spend together enjoying each other’s company.

One of my highlights from the weekend was our walk along the beach. Along the beautiful and tranquil shoreline, my kids scanned the shore for seashells and crabs while my aunt and I discussed the challenges of life. During our conversation, she turned to me and said, “We are all so used to envisioning the worst-case scenario for things, but I wonder what would happen if instead we envisioned the best-case scenario? Wouldn’t that seem to attract much more of what we desire than the other way?” Her words struck me as I realized the impact that simple switch could have on my whole perspective. Instead of always thinking about the worst things that could happen, what if I thought about the best things? This small shift in thinking could clearly influence the way I viewed my life.  

Little did I realize how quickly the opportunity for a shift in perspective would present itself. The day after our conversation, my husband unexpectedly faced a challenging situation at work. In the past when something like this had happened, I often envisioned the worst-case scenario. But this time when I heard the news, I tried to shift my focus almost immediately. Instead of my usual response, I said, “Let’s envision the best-case scenario and try to see the positive side of this situation.” It immediately helped me feel better – as though I didn’t have to worry so much. I knew deep-down that all would be well. In the past, our family had faced a very trying time, and the end result turned out better than we could have imagined. With this experience in the back of my mind, I began focusing on all the positives rather than the negatives, and I have to admit, it truly helped. My stress level went down. I knew that as all things do in life, this too would pass, and perhaps we would come out even stronger on the other side.

But as hard as I tried to stay positive, I couldn’t stop the occasional doubts from creeping in. Sometimes, I found myself thinking, “Oh, my gosh. What if something bad happens because of this? What are we going to do?” But when these thoughts did come, I breathed deeply, felt into the emotions, and let them pass. I didn’t want my life to be led by my fears so instead I tried to re-focus my attention on the good. Spending time in nature, I was able to re-direct my lower energies and relinquish control because I knew I had no control over the situation anyway.

Although challenges continue to come our way, I know from experience that my struggles teach me some of my most valuable life lessons. So, if nothing else, I am going to learn something from them. By choosing to accept these challenging situations instead of resisting them, I will try to move beyond my fears. I need to be open to all possibilities and remove any limits I place on the outcomes. Only then are all solutions possible. All I can do now is trust.

So, what about you? Have you ever been in a challenging situation and automatically thought about the worst-case scenario? Have you stayed awake at night worrying about what might or might not happen? How would your life change if you shifted your perspective even just a little bit? Would that make a difference? Instead of envisioning the worst-case scenario, try envisioning the best-case scenario. Think positively about the situation, take appropriate steps if you need to, and release the rest. Believe that all will be well and acknowledge that this situation may be simply trying to teach you a life lesson. Release the fear and remove the limits. Be open to all possibilities. For even when things appear at their worst, sometimes they are simply a gateway to something even better.

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