Worry Not!

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That video always makes me laugh, but the message of it is what I want to share today.

A few years ago, I was a huge worrier so much so that I didn’t even know it because it was my natural state. I would stay up late at night thinking (worrying) about everything and nothing all at the same time. I would think about what people thought of me, what I thought of myself, what people did to me, how what they did affected me, how I would respond next time I saw them, how to keep going – basically everything.

Notice how I said “think”. A lot of the times we deceive ourselves that we are “thinking”  when we are actually worrying.

Thinking means you are purely considering. Worrying carries an uneasiness, trouble, or anxiety and evokes an emotional response that leaves you unsettled and drained. I lied to myself for years and told myself I was “just a deep thinker”, when in fact I was a worrier; I was the worst type of worrier. I was a thoughtful worrier; I worried so much that it was a natural state of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying be selfish or inconsiderate, but there is a huge difference between being concerned or mindful or thoughtful, and worrying. The key difference is how you feel. Thinking at max will leave you frustrated and confused. When it starts encroaching on other emotions that leave you tired, or leave your mind going in circles, chances are, you are worrying.

I remember one late night whilst having one of my thinking sessions, I was talking to a friend and he told me to go to sleep. His next words have never left me, “worry about what is in your power to control.” That was my eureka moment.

I used to worry about not being able to help people out in the way they wanted me to and how they would be upset with me. My best was not enough for them, and I worried about that as if it was my fault. I worried about a friends temper and how that made me feel and how I needed to “act right” so I didn’t get the brunt of their anger.

The thing is, these are things that were beyond my control. They weren’t my problem, but I carried them as if they were, and that’s something we all do too much. Someone being unsatisfied with the level of help I can afford them is not my issue. Someone having a bad temper is not my issue. When we make other people’s issues our worries, we will automatically lose our peace and contentment.

We’ve all heard it said before that worrying adds nothing to our lives, but I beg to differ. It adds sleepless nights, irritability, fickle emotions, depression, unhappiness, and a whole host of medical conditions such as high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome.

Don’t let people steal your peace. If you are able to effect change, think about how you can do so and go for it. If it is beyond your control, don’t worry about it. Be thoughtful, be concerned, plan, and execute; just do not worry. Very few things in life are worth the time and energy it takes to worry.

I know it’s difficult because I was a serial worrier, but having been on the other side now, and knowing what a good night sleep feels like, I can promise you it is the best principle to live by. You will be more productive just by being content with yourself and what you can do for other people.

So in the words of our dear friend August Rose, “worry about yourself!”

Check out my blog post about how to rest without sleeping for a few tips on how to stop worrying and just rest.

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