I recently attended the Desperation Student Conference and heard a speaker talk about how fear, depression, and anxiety will always ask the question: “What if?”
“What if these people don’t like me?”
“What if I don’t fit in?”
“What if I can’t survive?”
Then this speaker went on to tell us that we could change our whole outlook on life by changing those two words to “Even if”.
“Even if these people don’t like me, I will eventually find people that accept and love me.”
“Even if I don’t fit in, I will find a place where I don’t just fit in but belong.”
“Even if I feel like I can’t survive, I will because this storm will pass.”
Fear, depression, and anxiety will always try to redefine us. It tells us we aren’t good enough, that we can’t survive, and that we don’t deserve to survive. It repeats these words over and over again until we believe them and even become them. Instead of being Clara or Michelle or Jack or whoever you are, we become fear and we become depression, and we become anxiety. It speaks lies to us causing us to become the lie and doubt the truth.
But what would happen if every time fear, depression, and anxiety tried to overpower us, we took all of its “What ifs…?” and turned them to “Even ifs...”?
I have just recently started to use “Even if” in place of “What if?” and it has changed just about every fear I have. Who knew that two words could be life changing? One of my biggest fears has always been failure. Even as a child, I was always an overachieving student. I’ve never been good at sports (I’m still struggling with that, I swear I’ll probably end up dying from an attack of basketballs) and I’ve never had a passion for the arts so I always thought that my future would be in academics. So the thought of failing at the only thing I thought I could succeed at terrified me.
Even though the thought scared me as a child, it had amplified throughout the summer before high school. High school has always been talked about as a preparation for the rest of your life (I can’t imagine why that scares me…). The thought of not being as academically successful as I hoped I would make me anxious to the point that just thinking about it made me feel sick. I constantly asked myself, “What if I don’t actually get good grades throughout high school?” Then after the conference, I changed that question to: “Even if I don’t get good grades throughout all of high school, I’ll be fine because I will try my hardest and even though I will try to do my best, I will make mistakes and even if I make a mistake, it doesn’t make me a mistake.” This simple fix in two words has changed a lot of the thoughts that fear, depression, and anxiety has placed into my head.
I challenge you to change every “What if” thought to “Even if”. If you have become fear or have become depression or have become anxiety, use “Even if” to find yourself again because “Even if you have lost yourself to the lies that your fear or depression or anxiety has told you, you can recover, you can fight it, and you can find yourself again.”
-Clara, Project Reasons Student Board Member