Project the emotions raised by a situation I went through into the past onto situations that are developing in the present.
And okay, I don’t think I’m walking around with a particularly large amount of baggage. I don’t actively drag every situation I’ve ever been in around with me all day; I don’t avoid relationships because I’ve been hurt in them in the past or not apply to competitive research programs just because last year I got rejected from everywhere I applied. I don’t even have to pretend to be friendly with my ex–I am fully capable of moving on, I promise.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t get a gut reaction when something happens that reminds me of something that caused me pain in the past. I won’t necessarily plan my next steps entirely around that reaction, but I can’t bring myself totally ignore it either. There has to be a comfortable middle ground where I can recognize a potential warning sign without losing my shit or feeling weighed down. If I totally ignore it, the chances that I’ll end up right back where I was last time seem fairly high. But preparing myself for an apocalypse that might never come just seems silly and overly defensive.
So I think I’ll compromise by highlighting all of the ways the situation that may or may not be currently unfolding differs greatly from the somewhat similar situation I went through in high school. The players, the scene, the maturity levels, the strength of the involved relationships. Why do we jump to compare situations based on one or two similarities when so many other variables differ? Why is what things have in common more valuable than what sets things apart?
I am not convinced that I have anything to worry about. And yet a familiar tightness is wreaking havoc on my stomach right now; I think its name is dread. I want to hide from it under the covers.