It’s very human to be afraid of the uncertainty of life. Afraid all the good stuff you have is going to end and you won’t be able to cope.
Brene Brown talks about the panic that sets in while she’s staring lovingly at her sleeping children. From “aren’t they precious” to “something horrible is going to happen and I couldn’t go on”.
Like many of us, when her panic kicks in she reminds herself not to stare too lovingly, too often, for too long. As if a dose of worry is insurance against the big bad inevitable ending.
I know how that goes. I lived that way for almost 30 years.
Too good, too happy, feeling too free…
Red Alert! Danger, danger! The fort is not held down, the guard’s asleep! Quick, find something to worry about. FAST, before all hell breaks loose.
I used to manufacture worry because I believed it kept me safe.
(Some people manufacture worry because they believe it’s righteous; concern is a marker of an important or meaningful life. Similar to how some people see it as a badge of honor to always be tired or overworked. That’s common, but it wasn’t my reason for manufacturing worry. I knew it sucked to worry and, if anything, I was ashamed of it. I did it because I thought it helped me survive.)
I mistakenly believed that worry was how I controlled my environment. I’d have less far to fall when it all ended.
And maybe that’s right.
But what if….
…the time spent at the top feeling happy, enjoying our blessings, staring lovingly, actually makes the uncertainty easier? (In other words, what if we flip the whole idea on its head?)
What if you thought, “Some things ended, some things changed, but at least I was really, truly happy for a while.” And what if that thought actually makes the changes more manageable?
What if those moments of joy hold you up in your down times, instead of making the down times harder?
So, how do we test this crazy theory?
Decide to be okay with not worrying. Let yourself off the hook and let yourself be happy. When you find yourself manufacturing worry, take a deep breath and stop. Release it. Kindly remind yourself that worry doesn’t help, but presence and appreciation and love might.