Ever think you worry too much?
I do. I worry a lot. I even worry about worrying. Sometimes I give myself a break from worry and just over think things. I go over everything in my mind until I think I have come up with a solution. Then there is worrying about other people (loved ones) where the mere act of worrying somehow protects them. Don’t even ask me to explain that one.
How do these words make you feel? Perhaps you thought, oh yeah that’s me. I hear you girl.. or, maybe it just made you feel even more anxious and worried, my words confirming and reminding you of all your niggling worries.
What I do know is, these words of mine did not take you to a place of serenity, calmness or peace.
Sorry about that. But, I’m not done yet. It’s time to take a little bit of action.
To worry is to be human.
For me, worry comes naturally, probably for you too. We all have our level of engagement with worry.
But before worry becomes something more chronic as it is apt to do, it’s time to cut loose the umbilical cord to worry.
If I can give up sugar, then surely I can give up something that is just as harmful to my health.
Somehow I have tricked myself and my mind into thinking worry solves problems. In my more logical, sensible moments I know it doesn’t. If anything it creates new challenges. It does not save people from harm. It does not make people love or like us more. It does not spare us from the wrongs of the past nor does it assure our future. It blocks our creative lives and hinders our relationships. Worry, even when thinly veiled as something more like, well, a concern is still worrying none the less and is rarely helpful.
Of course, as it’s human to worry, then we can safely say, it’s inevitable and to a degree natural. But, there are some things that we can change, because left unchecked worry can become chronic and leads to sleeplessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, a furrowed brow, fatigue and stress and too much stress ruins our lives and leads to physical health issues. It harms us in more ways than we should ever allow.
So what can we change? Or, perhaps it would be better to ponder, what can we accept in life that we just cannot change.
Too much to do, too many emails to answer, to many phone calls to return, so many projects to complete, other people to manage. It can be harrowing and if you add a sense of worry to the mix, the worry of things not getting done on time or well enough, along with being too hard on yourself and imposing those same standards on others is a recipe for disaster.
It’s time to stop worrying about time, to stop worrying about the deadlines. But how to do that? As the COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg puts it.
Done is better than perfect..
As a bit of a perfectionist, I struggle to agree, but for the sake of a bit of sanity, it’s time to relax our furrowed brows and remind ourselves that sometimes getting it done is indeed better than perfect.
Everything you do.
Many of us, especially women, strive to be perfect. Relentlessly. It can be a proud feeling. Accomplishment and a job well done. I know, I do it. But let’s try to ease up a bit. Cut ourselves some slack here. Perfection does not make you or your life better; you will not be loved more or garner more respect or success. It just creates an unrealistic ideal that others will have difficulty living up to. Not to mention, it’s exhausting. Sometimes, enlist the support of others. Let it go. See what happens. It will not be up to your standard. But does it matter?
Your children, your family.
Okay, so this one is huge for me. My misguided and strange belief that on some metaphysical level if I, not only worry about them but verbally express my worry for them I can somehow protect my loved ones from harm.
While showing people how much you care about them is important and fosters loving relationships, excessive worry drives people away. It’s just irritating. If it’s your kids you’re worrying about, as hard as it is to let go, letting them out into the world will actually keep them close.
I grew up with a mother that loved unconditionally, she also worried unconditionally, did it help me? Did it protect me? No. It instills irrational fear. The implications of this kind of parental worry are never fully understood until much later in our lives.
We all blossom with love, but smother someone with worry?
Finding a way to trust in the knowledge that most of the time, everything, including your kids will turn out just fine will go a long way in easing your anxiety. Hey, if it doesn’t.. well, your worry didn’t prevent it. Active communication and awareness? Sure. Worry? Not so much.
How many nights have you spent ruminating over the past? Too many, I bet. How many sleepless nights pondering, you should’ve said this, you could’ve handled it better or, if only you’d acted this way or that, maybe you’d still be married, still be in love, still be employed.. on and on it goes.
Did it help? While an appraisal of past events is a good idea, beating ourselves up does not help. Instead, what did you learn? What gifts, what blessings in disguise can you bring with you from the past into your future. Life is a series of sliding doors is it not?
We cannot control the future, no matter what plans we put in place. But we can develop resilience and courage.
After my mother had died, my worry intensified, especially for what the future would hold. Why? Her life force gave my life it’s centre, it’s balance. Loss can redefine you, correct your path. Of course during times of grief it doesn’t always feel this way, decisions become clouded by pain and worry, but eventually, at least for me, what’s left behind is gratitude for the wonderful memories that guide me as I look forward.
Who doesn’t at some point have the worry of money, not having enough, where it’s going to come from next? What if my business fails or I lose my job? Why, even people with an abundance of money continue to worry about it.
But have you ever noticed how some people just always seem to have enough? They go through life effortlessly. What’s their secret? I think it could be the single act of no longer worrying about money. What a liberating thought.
This is one of those occasions where, without a doubt, I firmly believe, the more you resist (worry), the more you push it further away. Time to stop worrying about money, you will always have enough. I’m not suggesting denial, but if you keep going, keep doing what you love, keep striving, keep believing, you will always have enough.
Be thankful for what you have, you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never ever have enough..
What other people think?
When I was a young teenage girl full of teenage angst, my mum offered a little gem. I’ve never forgotten it. “Not everyone is going to like you Julie and that, my darling is perfectly okay.” This piece of advice coming to me at such a tender age, from the one person whose love was always guaranteed has held up well.
I cannot change how you feel about me. But I can choose how I feel about myself.
Just spend 30 minutes on social media and you will see a tiny window into other people’s lives, their worries, their fears, their insecurities.
It can be maddening. Worrying about what others think of us, even people we barely know. Does it help? Does it enrich your life? Is it wasted energy? Moments of your life that you will never get back?
Losing sleep over what others might think or say gives other people power over who you are. Just keep being someone YOU like and I assure you the right people, those you need and want in your life will find you and love you for being uniquely you.
Your face, your appearance, your furrowed brow.
There are roughly 25,000 beauty products out there in the big wide world, with a promise to change, improve or eradicate something that makes you unhappy.
Many of your skin care complaints are never as bad as you imagine, and if they are, well, the vast array of skincare products and other options, such as facial rejuvenation with light or laser, chemical peels, cosmetic surgery, botox, fillers can fix your skin woes. But it’s pretty clear, with all that is on offer and with an ever-increasing demand, we are indeed a bunch of worry warts.
Worry too much and the desire to change what nature and your genes handed you, usually leads to a constant craving that is rarely satisfied.
Trying to hold the engagement of others through your appearance, whether that be your loved one, your friends or the adulation of society, in general, focuses your attention inward. It fuels worry.
So while I will continue to encourage you to care for all your amazing assets and make the best of yourself in ways that make you feel happy and confident, worrying too much about your beauty, attractiveness, the lines etched in your forehead, all bring you the opposite of what you were hoping. Instead, focus your attention outwards to others by noticing and commenting on their beauty and see what comes back to you.
Worrying about worry.
Worrying less is the one single most important thing we can do for ourselves, for our beauty, our health, for positive ageing, for our mental health even our relationships with others.
It doesn’t mean not caring, but it does mean finding ways to relieve some of the anxiety, keeping a healthy perspective, finding ways to think constructively rather than destructively and pushing back on the stress we allow all too often to control our lives.
Worry is a dangerous pastime and it’s time to kick it to the kerb.
Sometimes big changes are necessary, but minor shifts to ease angst can have a significant impact. Switching the phone to silent occasionally, leaving emails until tomorrow, getting more fresh air, walking, dancing, sunshine and much more laughter. Writing all your worries down and then be done with it. If you can’t act on it, then worry will not fix it.
Most of our worries are not real; they are fears masquerading as something else, holding us back from a much happier life.
Above all, trust everything will be okay. It’s time to look up, look around, smell the daisies.
I’ll admit none of this is easy. Have you found a way to worry less, to let it go? Share your thoughts.
Peace and love until next time.