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Don't Connect the Dots

There’s an adage I use in my life – “Don’t connect the dots” that helps remind me when I start panic thinking and I lace together negative events, do not connect the dots. Otherwise, the story I come up with is heavily laden with doom and gloom and becomes a mountain that is overwhelming. I first heard do not connect the dots from my wife, Thea. Here’s her learning experience:

“I used to connect the dots between everything. When I would be caught in a thunderstorm, I would cower in the corner and freak out because it would bring up memories of when my house was hit by lightening when I was 15 years old. When my Dad would talk to me, I’d feel helpless and angry because it would bring up memories of all the times he lectured me throughout my life. When I would hear a sad love song, it would bring me back to past heartbreaks from past relationships. I couldn’t stay in the present. The memories would project me into a future filled with fear that they would happen again.”

“In my thirties, I decided never to be happy again because everything was connected to a painful roller coaster of ups leading to downs. It took time and self-reflection but finally I broke myself out of connecting the dots and learned to stay in the present. A thunderstorm is just a thunderstorm, a song is just a song. And I learned to listen to my dad through my heart instead of through my ears. That’s how I learned how much he loved me.” Thea Iberall

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