An education in worrying
Worry, worry, worry… so much time and energy spent worrying about money, career, jobs, kids, partner, siblings, friends, other people’s reactions and opinions, being too fat, being too thin, too pale or too dark; we worry about the future, the past, the present, possibilities and non-possibilities, potential success and potential failure, dreams never chased and dreams yet to be grasped, we worry…. aaaah! too much!
What are we doing?
We are raised in a culture of worry. We are taught that to love someone means to worry about them. We are duped into believing that in order to stay in control of our future, we have to worry about it. We are told that worrying about all of life is being ‘realistic’ and having a solid head on our shoulders. We are told that those who worry are those who care. And so, confined to a human condition surrounded with uncertainty, we resort to worry to obtain an illusory sense of control. We worry in a desperate attempt to shout out to the Universe that we care!
But the Universe does not speak the language of worry. Because in truth, worry has nothing to do with love, and a lot to do with fear. The Universe speaks only the love and truth language. That’s it. Worrying is like praying for what you do not want to happen. All that time worrying means time imagining all the bad things that could happen, or may happen or which we do not want to happen. That is a lot of thought and energy given to what we do not want. And energy follows thought…To me this is tragic because there is so much misconception around worry that most people are unaware that when they worry, all they do is engage in fear and up the chances of making things harder for themselves and their loved ones.
For those of you who know a thing or two about the laws of the Universe (some of them known as the ‘laws of physics’), you know that whatever you put time and energy into is more likely to happen. This is tested and proven by anyone observing how life works. For example if you put a lot of time and energy into achieving a particular goal, you are a lot more likely to achieve it, even if it takes time. If you spend a lot of time energy being optismistic about your life, you are more likely to live a fulfilling, happy life (on condition that you are not using ‘false optimism’ to cover a treasure-chest of insecurities and fear-based patterns). Fear attracts that which you are afraid of. I have seen this happen so many times, it’s not funny (I certainly did not find it funny when it happened to me!). Most people I come accross believe they are loving and caring when they worry; but all they are doing is putting energy into the manifestation of what they so fear and do NOT want to happen! Worrying is one of the more wasteful and fruitless use of our energy, as well as one of the most wide-spread sabotage patterns present in human beings. Think what else you could do with all these ptecious resources of time and energy!
But don’t worry, it is possible to stop this madness.
For those of you who are thinking ‘But I can’t help worrying! I just can’t stop it”. Let me remind you of who is doing the worrying: you. Worrying is an activity, usually a mental activity. It is like saying, ‘I can’t stop walking’, or ‘I can’t stop talking’…. it’s silly. This is your thoughts and you are doing the worrying, so you can change this nasty habit! Unless you have a mental or medical condition preventing you to do so, you are still the one in control of your thoughts and actions.
Now, the first step to quit worrying is to realise that we are not impotent llittle victims in our lives. Worry has a lot to do with feeling out of control – for ourselves and our loved ones. And that is when we go into fear and start spinning around a vicious circle of anxiety (worry is a mild form of anxiety). We need to realise that life is not some random, scary event that just happens to us. And really, deep down, all of us know this. If we did not feel that what we do can have an effect, we would not bother worrying at all. We do have an input on what happens in our lives and the Universe truly is a benevolent place/being. When we chose love, integrity, kindness, optimism, gratitude for life’s learning and the courage to grow from our experiences, our life is transformed into a purposeful journey where everyday is a gift. This is when we truly begin to take part in our life, rather than be buffeted by it. This is when we reclaim the original power of free will: the power to choose love. This is the higher path and there is no room for worry in such a life.
From this empowered state we can simply choose to debunk the ‘love myth’ that was created around the activity of worry. We wake up to the fact that we have had it all front-to-back; that loving someone, or having aspirations, means we want to not introduce fear, gloom and doom into the equation. Instead, we focus on love and success. My philosophy is that if you love someone, you hold a vision of their highest potential, instead of filling their potential future with fear. If you want to achieve something in your future, you hold a positive vision and unshakeable resolve to manifest that future for yourself. You decide that you will manifest it, you focus your thoughts, energy and actions on the end goal and you learn whatever lessons are necessary on the way. Practice this new attitude to life, and when you catch yourself doing the old worry thing, stop, don’t judge, let go and reorient your thoughts towards love. Be patient; when you have had a lifetime habit of worry, it takes a bit of time to retrain yourself.
There is another element in this equation: releasing attachments to outcome. If you are desperately clinging to one particular outcome for any given situation, then you are in fear. If you are attached, you are more likely to worry that something different from your chosen outcome may happen. If you have such attachments and agendas, either for yourself or your loved ones, then you need to look at what need this outcome would fulfill in you. Attachments and expectations is often about fulfilling a need – often an egoic need. The possibility of this need not being fulfilled drives you into anxiety. In order to let go of attachments, let go of the unhealthy needs causing them. For example if you are desperate to see your kid go to a particular university, considering that it may or may not happen, you start to be anxious about it. You worry. Of course, this is not helping you or your kid. What could be the need behind this attachment? Well, it could be about wanting your kid to follow in your footsteps (if it is the same university you went to), which could be about affirming that you are worthy of their admiration and emulation. Or perhaps it could be about the good opinions of others and how it would reflect on you if your child went to this particular university. Or perhaps you are reacting to your child’s attachment ( if they are desperate to go to that university for whatever reason). In this case it is about your need to protect your child from experiencing any pain or feelings of rejections,. While being understandable, this is an unhealthy need simply because anyone alive is bound to experience pain. What we make of our painful experiences will define the impact it has on us. Instead of teaching your child to avoid pain, hide from it, teaching them how to use painful experiences as lessons and opportunities to grow and learn how to do it better next time. Attachments means we are scared to lose that which we are attached to. Attachment is, again, about fear. So you need to really work on healing the needs concealed behind your attachments.
In the end, once you have worked on integrating these three elements of the equation, you begin to embrace life from a more empowered, surrendered, positive perspective. Like magic, your perspective and attitude towards your own life is what defines the experience you will have of it. Suddenly worrying makes no sense at all. It feels unpleasant and restrictive. And you, you are free and you know it.