One of the things that has helped my mental health is recognizing all of the imaginary conversations that I have. Full blown arguments that get me angry and frustrated and at the end of the day, the only person involved in those conversations is me.
Each time I notice that I’m doing this to myself, I start to say in a sing-song way, “you’re having an imaginary conversation!” Best to put a bit of cheer into it! Then I ask myself if I’m replaying past conversations or preparing for a future conversation?
If I am replaying a past conversation then I can stop. I’ve already had the conversation and no amount of replaying it is going to change the outcome. What’s done is done. I recognize that I’m trying to process what happened and play “what if” scenarios to change an outcome that I have no control over. I can’t change anything that got me to where I am now. And as much as I wish many things didn’t happen, everything feeds into present me. If those things didn’t happen, where would I be now? Worse? Better? Who knows.
If I’m preparing for a future conversation then it’s a question of the likelihood of that future conversation. Sometimes it seems handy to have talking points ready for social issues for the next gathering I might find myself at. But replaying those conversations in my head repeatedly doesn’t help. If I’m about to make a phone call to the government then maybe a little bit of prep is good. Do I have all the information handy that they’re likely to ask for? Good.
The fact, for me, is that most of the imaginary conversations I have had have and will never have come to be and all I’m doing is getting myself upset or angry over nothing.
If there’s an issue I have with someone that needs a discussion, then I need to have an actual conversation.