The Thought is Worse Than the Action

The thought is worse than the action
Our thoughts about an action tend to be worse than the action itself

Have you ever experienced this?

You agree to do something. The time for that something eventually comes. But, you’ve had a complete change of heart.

You want out.

I Should’ve Said No

You wish you said no, or at least made some sort of excuse so that you would have never ended up in this situation.

It’s too late. The time is now.

You start to panic and fret about anything and everything that could possibly go wrong. “Why didn’t I just say no in the first place!?”

Stop. Breathe.

Breathe, again.

Keep This in Mind

Try telling yourself this.

The thought is worse than the action itself.

This is something which I make a real effort to keep in mind when I’m faced with something that my brain no longer wants to do.

A few examples from my own life:

  • Entertaining people when you really don’t feel up to socialising.
  • Going to work on a day when you’re feeling particularly anxious.
  • Trying out something that’s potentially scary which is making you unrealistically nervous.
  • Doing a workout when you really can’t be bothered.

Or, most recently for me, giving a speech when you have a fear of public speaking

What Do These Things Have in Common?

So, what’s the one thing I found that my above examples all have in common with each other?

The fact that the thought of doing it always turned out to be worse than the actual doing it.

I literally cannot think of a time when something turned out to be worse than my brain initially made out it might be. Even thinking back to my school days (some of which were awful) and even then, the days I dreaded going to school were never as bad as my brain told me they would be.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to take comfort from this. Yes, I was a big worrier when I was younger. But now? Now, I have this sense that no matter what really happens, things will work out and be okay in the end.

I’ve stopped worrying about shit that I can’t control because I’ve realised it’s an absolute waste of time. The one thing I’m firmly in control of is my own thoughts & actions. And that’s really it.

Why Is This the Case?

I assume a lot of it comes down to the fact that we often tend to ruminate in our own thoughts, usually to an extremely unhealthy degree!

A classic example would be a nervous candidate going for a job interview.

If you ask the candidate how they feel before the interview they might be absolutely terrified. If you ask that same candidate how they feel after the interview, they would likely say it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they initially thought it was going to be.

I know that this is certainly what I’ve experienced in my own life.

What Should I Do?

The above is true for many different situations and during these times we really can be our own worst enemy. This is why I take great relief in telling myself that the thought is continually worse than the action.

I’m going to keep stating this to myself and also to those around me, especially those dealing with mental health issues. “The thought of this will be worse than the actual execution” – it’s almost become like a mantra to me. I’ll keep stating this until life proves it otherwise.

So, the next time you’re committed to doing something, but your brain ends up trying to look for a way out, tell yourself this: The thought is worse than the action!

Have you got any examples from your own life of a time when you dreaded doing something, but afterwards you realised it wasn’t actually that bad? If so, share them with me in the comments section below. I’d be really interested to hear it.

Likewise, if you have examples of a time when the actual action was worse than your initial thoughts, then please share them too.

2 thoughts on “The Thought is Worse Than the Action

  1. Jesse Sandler 10/09/2018 / 1:36 am

    I always tell myself that I’m blowing its up, that’s its not such a big deal. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. But intellectually I know that it’s all ok, I just have to convince my anxiety that it’s fine, which is sooo much harder. It takes work to learn how, but it’s possible and worth it!

    • Iain Geddes 10/09/2018 / 3:00 pm

      It is definitely possible and 100% worth it!

      Good luck with keeping your anxiety in check.

Leave a Reply