I’m trying to not use the word always and use the words sometimes and maybe. Our minds use a thing called affective forecasting to predict the outcome of certain events. We will almost always predict negatively, and we will almost always predict wrong. Using words like sometimes and maybe helps retrain our brains. Today after finishing errands, my body screaming, “I’m on fire,” all three of my dogs ran out of the gate and into oncoming traffic. I’m yelling at all of them to come back, which is useless with one of them because he’s deaf and one of them because he n-e-e-e-ver listens. The man who almost hits them got out of the car to help me - the kindness of strangers. I grabbed the deaf dog, my 14 year old dachshund, who is heavier than he looks.
The man went for my three year old Labradoodle. As I saw it happening, I wanted to scream n-o-o-o, as if in one of those cartoons where you see the words coming out. It was too late though. The Labradoodle is aggressive to strange men. I started apologizing profusely, the Labradoodle isn’t listening, the man is still trying to wrangle the dog, saying "it’s fine, it’s fine," while my 12 year old yellow lab had enough and just took off down the road. If I had predicted the outcome of this event I would have forcasted a terrible ending. But we wrangled the Labradoodle quickly inside my yard with no damage to the kindly stranger. The yellow lab came sauntering back like nothing happened, and the kindly stranger gave one of his kind waves as he was leaving.
Thankfully, my negative affective forecasting had stressed me significantly, while the outcome wasn't significant!