‘I’ve learned that worry is often a substitute for action.’ How often have you let worry get in the way of doing something in your life? Instead of embracing an opportunity and jumping in, we hold ourselves back by worrying about every little detail. And if we can’t figure out one little piece of how we will achieve a goal, we don’t even make the attempt to try.
Worry can block us from putting ourselves out there and doing what it is that needs to be done. It can paralyze us and prevent us from doing the very things that we have set out to do. We worry so much about the how that we never get to the action that propels us forward. Wayne Dyer likes to point out to us that it is not for us to say ‘how’ but rather to say ‘yes’. If we say ‘yes’ to something and start on the path to doing it, the ‘how’ will reveal itself.
Worry really serves little purpose. I was reading something about Michael J. Fox several months ago and was really grabbed by his thoughts on worry. He says that he does not worry about things because then if they happen he has had to live through it twice. This falls right into line with understanding that ninety-something percent of what we worry about never comes to pass anyway, so why waste our energy on worry?
Corrie Ten Boom says, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength; carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Wow! And who of us can afford to give up our strength for this day when we could be using it for the actions of the present?
Here’s a question to ask yourself: Is worry just a prideful way of thinking that we have more control over something than we really do?? When my clients are filled with worry, I have them complete an exercise that helps them to determine what they do and do not have control over in their lives. The next step is then taking action on the things that are within their control. The things that are not in their control need to either be let go or adjusted in some way to bring them into the realm of control. (If you would like this free exercise download go to: http://kathyetc.com/coaching-services/)
When we let worry go, life is just simply better! I remember other parents being amazed that I was able to go to bed and sleep at night when my kids were out as young drivers. Now, as it happens, both of my children were involved in car accidents (one their fault, the other not), but so were lots (it seemed like most!) of other people’s kids (I frankly could not get over all of the stories that we heard from others…..). And my staying up at night to worry about things would not have changed that (back to the Michael J. Fox idea about living through it twice). Were those dreadful events? Yes. But at least I only had to live through them one time and let me tell you, once was enough!
There are scads of things in life that we could choose to worry about. Just being a parent gives you years worth of things that you can worry about if you let it. Do I still worry about my kids? Sure, a bit. It’s hard to turn off. But I try not to let it paralyze me. I live in the knowing that they, like me, will make mistakes and that accidents happen but also with the knowing that most of us get through it and turn out pretty well.
And if I worried about ‘how’ I would never be where I am now with my own business. Just saying ‘yes’ and knowing that the ‘how’ will present itself has taken me far and I know will continue to lead me down the path. Things just keep presenting themselves that carry me forward.
What is worry preventing you from doing or enjoying? Where might you be if you could let go of the worry? What actions could you take without the limitations of your worries?
I think it is time to worry less and live more! As the song lyrics by Bobby McFerrin encourage us, “Don’t worry. Be Happy!”
On the journey with you…….Kathy
(Quote: Age 50- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)