Are You Paying Interest On Something You Never Bought?
Nothing happens until it happens. Nothing.
How many times have you worried, perhaps to the point of making yourself ill, over something that has yet to occur? Speaking for myself, I can say that at least half of my gray hairs have come from premature freaking out over things which not only had yet to happen, but ultimately never happened at all. Because—say it with me, buttercup—nothing happens until it happens. Not the good stuff, the bad stuff, or anything in between.
Some things warrant premature freaking out, I’ll agree, such as the illness of a loved one or the threat of imminent job loss. How can we not worry about such life changers? Unfortunately, the worrying does nothing for the outcome while shaving yet another layer from our peace of mind.
As a Gold Star Worrier, I’m right there with you. Gray hair, remember? And lots of it. I earned every gleaming strand, fretting over every ‘what if’ that came my way. Some of the ‘what ifs’ came to pass. Most did not. For those that did, well . . . they did. And none of my worrying changed a thing, except to add a little extra fodder for the silver factory on top of my head.
One of the best quotes I ever saw was on a church sign: Worrying about things that haven’t happened yet is like paying the interest on something before you’ve bought it.
So how do we tamp down the fretting? What can we do to ease that sick feeling in our gut when our brain focuses on something with the potential to blow up into something real?
One of the methods offered up by author Amanda Chan in her article “9 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Stop Worrying” is to write about it. This one appeals to me for obvious reasons, but I already know from experience there is truth here, because I have followed the advice of author Julia Cameron—The Artist’s Way—and have written morning pages for some time now. (Thank you Lynn Obermoeller.)
Morning pages are three pages, written longhand, first thing upon rising. These are not for anyone’s eyes but those of the writer and should be stream-of-consciousness writing. Anything and everything is game. Think it? Then write it. I find that I scribble onto the page all the nasty stuff I’m worrying over that has percolated in my subconscious overnight. This takes up the first page or so, and after that it’s smooth sailing. The last page-and-a-half is positive thoughts—things I’m grateful for, planning to accomplish, stuff that makes me happy. The rest of the day is free to begin because all that GAK! craziness has already been projectile vomited onto the page. Everything I’m thinking, feeling, stressing over, etc. is expunged. And to quote Shrek, “Better out than in, I always say.” After writing the pages I shred them, a physical means of demolishing all the negativity. Sounds nutty, but it offers a certain psychological charm and sense of accomplishment. Writing morning pages allows for the acknowledgement of those things we’re worrying over and offers a vehicle by which to put them behind us and to start the day with a clean slate. I strongly recommend the practice. I’m still a Gold Star Worrier, but having an outlet helps.
Bottom line, we’re humans, so we’re going to worry. Potentials for problems, grief, life changes, exert power over us, even before they happen—especially before they happen, if you’re like me. Afterward, we cope, adjust, and turn the worry to other yet-to-be issues. What a routine, huh?
Prepare for the eventuality of worrisome outcomes if it provides a sense of control, but keep in mind that nothing happens until it happens, and the Universe surprises us more often than not.
I’d like to leave you with a quote grounded in hope and good sense:
Wishing you bountiful tides.
Are you a Gold Star Worrier? Or are you more of a hakuna matata kind of person? How do you manage your worries?
See you next Wednesday for more of the Naked Truth. Have a great week!
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