After long hours spent pondering in the anticipation of an upcoming difficult conversation I needed to have, the day had finally come to have it. ‘Pondering’ sounds better than the reality that I was flat out worried sick. Physically sick. I was going to have to fire someone who was working for me. The hardest part was that she was also a friend. I had to let her go for a variety of reasons in her best interest as well as mine.
There had been the middle of the night head spin, monkey-mind of worry that had hijacked my sleep that week. Would ruminating over and rehearsing the upcoming conversation and potential outcome really help? Hell no! In my head, I would say this, she would say that and I stewed, brewed and chewed on this for far too long. The stewing was all I could do and the knot in the pit of my stomach was so twisted that this pending situation had even affected time spent with my husband, as well as my appetite. Embarrassed as I am to share this, I could not even let the worry go after a glass of wine or two in a social setting. It loomed over me like a giant cloud of negative despair and fear. Sounds really productive AND helpful huh?
Most of us know that worry accomplishes absolutely nothing in terms of impacting the outcomes in our lives. Even though we know we have zero control of the future, nor control over the actions or feeling of others, somehow we think that worrying will make the impact more predictable or tolerable. In reality, it makes it worse.
Basically, I was worried about the situation and reliving the pending “doom” (which is usually not even close to transpiring in the horrid way we envision it). I missed out on fun days, good food, peaceful sleep and guess what? It turned out just fine - even better than I thought. Boy, did I feel dumb having wasted so much energy on the fear and negativity.
Origin of the word Worry: Middle English wirien (c. 1300), "to slay, kill or injure by biting and shaking the throat" (as a dog or wolf does), from Old English wyrgan "to strangle." - Online Etymology Dictionary
Our human minds favor logic, reason and answers. We want things to make sense. The tendency is to become impatient, and as a protective mechanism we try to put thoughts and ideas in places that make them ok for us. Of course, this really does nothing at all to alter any future outcomes in our favor. It just feels like it will in our moments of anxiety and worry. Trust and faith are the only antidotes. Yeah, I know , easier said than done, but true.
It’s never that easy to shift our thought patterns when there is something uncomfortable or pending in our lives. What we CAN do is to remain present. There is absolutely no way to control life’s future outcomes no matter how much we try to predict and speculate. Time is priceless and precious. Missing out on today by obsessive worry not only robs us of our precious hours, but also robs us of happy times, possibilities, productivity and simply life itself. The stress of worry impacts our physical health, and we all do it from time to time.
The next time you feel that knot of worry and fear in your stomach, try to stop and ask yourself, “Am I paying interest on something that I will likely NEVER own?” It is like making layaway payments on a T.V. you will most likely never watch, let alone own.
Heavens, you would think I attended some Uneasiness/Anxiety 12-Step Detox Program. I am only sharing that I have wasted too much time in my life not enjoying the present and have pledged to myself not to miss out on today by worrying about tomorrow. It is simply a waste of precious time and life.
Today is happening; tomorrow may never be. Save that ‘emotional interest,’ aka worry, and apply it to the wonderful and precious things in the present. Those things, people and blessings that are a sure thing!
Peace to you,