What? Me Worry?



When was the last time you worried over a situation so long and hard, that you succeeded in turning it around, changing the outcome, or banishing it into oblivion? Hopefully you’re being honest and said NEVER, otherwise I’d be forced to say you’re completely up-to-your-eyeballs-full-of-baloney s***.

I know this because I once carried a Masters Degree in worry and was well on my way to a PhD.  Not that I actually aspired to such honors — it was more a matter of accepting the award with a smile and a handshake since I’d worked so hard to earn it.  In retrospect I would’ve been wise to refuse it, but that’s the thing about hindsight, it’s always so much more defined when you’re looking back from a distance of time passed.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy … Ah, what a concept.  But where are the instructions? How exactly do we transfer the song lyrics over into real life, where angst and concern are so often the flavor of the day?

It starts in childhood, this penchant for worry, and it takes on strength with every growth spurt. By the time we reach adulthood, we’re full blown worrywarts and what-if-aholics; piling worry on top of worry, where they will subsequently mate and breed, producing enough crazy ideas to paper a padded cell.

It’s a fact that worry, left alone to mingle with imagination, will often conceive an abundance of worrisome thoughts masquerading as rational concerns. It becomes all to easy to convince ourselves that the school bus driver  is a recently paroled ax murderer, or that the real reason hubby’s plane hasn’t arrived on time is because it’s at the bottom of the North Altantic …

Yes, of course, all worry does not come from a place of irrational paranoia, and there are legitimate instances when logic and worry collide with the force of continents dislodged, all for good reason. But even in the midst of genuine crisis, it’s helpful to keep in mind that worry is not so much to be ignored as it is to be mastered.  After all, worry loses a good deal of it’s potency if you refuse to feed it kick it in the butt and run away.

It’s not always easy to let go of our human tendencies to worry, but I’ve learned a few absolutes:

*Worry will not dissolve the traffic jam and get you to your doctor’s appointment on time.

*Worry will not increase your test scores

*Worry will not help your child make the team

*Worry will not get your book, blog, or synopsis written

*Ditto, Worry will not make reviewers, readers, or editors stand-up and cheer once you do

*Worry will not remove cellulite, excess weight, or a bad hair day

*Worry will not end wars, pay the  mortgage, or get you to the church on time

The fact remains that worry doesn’t solve problems, in as much as it allows them to grow to stifling proportions.  The result of which does little more than cripple us from action, or in many cases, to expend abundant energies running in the wrong direction.  It’s not always easy, but the thing to do is grab this gremlin by the scruff of the neck, and wrestle it off it’s pedestal.  Troublesome little  monster never should’ve been up there anyway.

True confessions–Yes, I am a recovering worrier. How about you?