There is someone in my life I will call Captain Bringdown. He doesn’t intentionally try to crush my dreams, yet it happens. Repeatedly. Despite this, Captain Bringdown isn’t a bad guy and I generally like him (don’t worry, if you are reading this, you are definitely not my Captain Bringdown). I think a lot of us might have a Capt. Bringdown in our lives -someone we like, respect and cannot get away from that doesn’t realize how much their words or actions can sting.
I think the reason we let the Captain Bringdowns of the world effect us so much is because it’s like that voice in our head that tells us we suck and can’t do anything right has suddenly sprouted arms and legs and is walking around in the real world. Because if we didn’t believe that there was at least a sliver of truth to what he’s saying, we’d blow it off completely.
As my readers know (both of them), I’m forever a bundle of anxiety and the Captain Bringdown situation was not helping things any. He’s not going anywhere any time soon, so I realized I had to figure out a way to deal. I remembered a story in some book (that, of course, I cannot find anywhere) about a small mental health study. In this study, they told a bunch of schizophrenics to pretend to be non-schizophrenics to the best of their abilities. They found that the patients reported that while pretending to be normal, their symptoms didn’t completely go away, but were lessened and, in some cases, lessened a great deal. Granted this brings up a whole host of issues regarding mental illness, but that’s not what we are concerned about here. The important part of the story is that they pretended to be normal and their symptoms were relieved.
So, with this in mind, I asked myself, “What would a normal, non-anxiety prone person do with Capt. Bringdown?” I think they would just ignore him. We make our own paths and most of the time it’s those paths that aren’t perfect or smooth that are the most meaningful. Maybe Captain Bringdown will be right or maybe he won’t, but he’s got no more or less insight then anyone else in my life.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you … the minute that you understand that you can poke life … that you can change it, you can mould it … that’s maybe the most important thing.- Steve Jobs