I came across the expression “awfulizing” not long ago. Out of curiousity, I did some research to find out exactly what it meant.
The definition, according to psychologists, is “an irrational and dramatic thought pattern, a tendency to overestimate the potential seriousness or negative consequences of events, situations or perceived threats.”
I realized after reading this that the word definitely described my own thoughts at times. Being in a negative emotional state would make me think that “everything is always at its worst”.
Since coming back into recovery, I realize that if I continued to “awfulize”, I would eventually hinder my progress. If I kept saying negative things to myself or others, it could lead me straight back to a drink because it would become like a self-fulfilling prophecy and I would truly start to believe all the negative thoughts and feelings.
I am now very conscious of the thoughts that come into my head – I try to quickly change any self-sabotaging negative thoughts into such ideas as “it’s not that bad”, “it isn’t forever” or “it will get better”.
I believe that by maintaining a positive outlook on life, and not exaggerating when things don’t necessarily go the way I want them to, I gain respect from others, I take responsibility for whatever has gone wrong, and I do what I have to do to fix it. This helps me maintain not only my sanity, but also my serenity.