Rehearsing Tragedies Leads To Anxiety

Carrie Wynn
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There is a quote by Brene Brown that I absolutely love in which she states:

“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience and if you cannot tolerate joy, what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.”

What does it mean to dress rehearse tragedy?

Well, let me ask you this…

How many times have you played out the worst possible scenario in your head?

Many of us imagine tragedies occurring in almost every aspect of our lives.

We worry that our loved ones will get hurt. We worry about our jobs. We worry about our future. We worry about our spouses falling in love with someone else or cheating on us.

It’s the way that most of us are wired.

The reality is, instead of being vulnerable in order to allow joy to come into our lives we are living in the terror that it will be taken away.

When something good happens we immediately assume that it is too good to be true.

Instead of opening up to people, we live our lives with suspicion of everyone’s intentions because of the hurt we have endured.

When we are in a healthy and happy relationship we wonder when things are going to start going south so we start to sabotage it.

If you are someone that has experienced great loss in your life it makes it even harder to truly experience the moments of joy.

For example, because I was abandoned by several important people in my life it has been extremely difficult for me to get close to others without experiencing the fear that they will eventually leave me.

I was also in several abusive relationships which have resulted in the terror that someone I love will hurt me again.

I’m saying this because I empathize and understand your fear.

There will be moments when it is very difficult to experience joy without feeling some fear, and without starting to imagine the worst-case scenario.

But not trying to change your mindset will result in you being robbed of some of the most special moments in your life.

Recently my therapist asked if I trusted my partner that I have now been with for several years.

I answered yes without a moment of hesitation and she told me to really think about my answer.

At that moment, I allowed myself to really sink into that feeling and the truth that was right in front of me.

Why should I dress rehearse tragedies that he is going to leave me, or cheat on me, or hurt me when I know that isn’t the case?

I do it because I’m scared to be vulnerable and I’m scared to truly feel joy.

So this is my commitment moving forward.

I am going to do my best to live in the moment instead of worrying about the possibilities of how things could go wrong.

Life has a balance of joy and sorrow and one cannot exist without the other.

Try to reshape your mindset to realize that because joy isn’t a neverending resource, you need to truly appreciate it.

Next time, instead of imagining a tragedy in a moment of joy, do everything you can to actually live in the here and now.


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I am a writer & relationship consultant that primarily deals with narcissism, overcoming abuse & trauma, and self-love. Contact me @ Blog: Instagram: carrie_wynnmusings


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