Bring Lots of Friends When You Need Support

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Bring Lots of Friends When You Need Support
Facing a difficult situation? Invite imaginary reinforcements to back you up.

Facing a Nerve-Racking Event

When you're worried about an upcoming event that will require a great deal of inner stamina and courage, you've undoubtedly been told that you should bring one or two family members or friends for support. What I'd like to suggest, however, is that you consider bringing a whole bunch of people. You can even do it without taking up any space in the place you're going to go. How? Let me tell you my experience. Perhaps it will give you an idea you can apply to yourself some day.

My story had its roots several years ago in which I spent too much time, effort and money on a person who made many promises and delivered almost none. After she was out of my life (or so I assumed), I assigned the messy affair to my long list of hard-won lessons and assumed we had put the matter behind us. That's when I opened an envelop from a government agency and learned that in two weeks I was to appear before a special hearing officer to explain why I shouldn't pay this person thousands of dollars more. Suddenly two pages of a summons brought her back into my life like a bad penny you can't get rid of.

I didn't worry about the validity of our position. We were right. My friends agreed with me. After all, what are friends for? I even planned to bring a friend for moral support (the fact that he was a lawyer didn't hurt). But I had never before been required to defend myself before an officer of the court and was more than a tad bit anxious.

In fact, my stomach was taken over by a stampede of butterflies. (Do butterflies actually stampede or do they just swarm in flutters?) Anyway, I kept going over and over and over what MIGHT happen. I worried about whether or not I would present my position clearly and concisely (as friends and family will attest, I sometimes get wordy when I'm nervous).

Expecting Old Anxiety to Rear It's Ugly Head

I imagine my anxiety has to do with all the times when, as a child, I tried to please those powerful authorities called adults, who could grant or deny my requests. They could also decide my reasons for doing something of which they disapproved were unimportant. Consequently, I spent a lot of time figuring out what hoops I needed to jump through and what arguments would win the day back then.

Now I have grown up a bit and am much better at presenting my point of view. Nevertheless, needing to plead my case before a government official whose decision could cost us a lot of money, meant I had to be particularly convincing.

Two weeks, however, is a long time to ruminate on any subject. It's a long time to worry about what I could say and how I could say it. While I realized that there are people who have to go through much more difficult trials than mine would be, in my life at this particular juncture, I was frustrated to the max. I needed a way to set aside my concern.

Rehearsal Imagery With Invisible Allies

Fortunately, I talked with a friend who suggested I use "rehearsal imagery" and imagine everything going well. Why hadn't I thought of that? After all, the technique is a significant part of imagery -- which is my specialty, for heaven's sake!

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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