When we worry, all we’re doing is conjuring up some imagined risk or concern. Most of the time worry isn’t warranted. We just think it is.
Worry is often a behavior that we observe in others and make it our own. If you grew up in a home where someone worried, there’s a good chance that you’ll become a worry-er too. (The opposite is also true.)
When I was growing up, we went on a lot of road trips. My dad was one of those men who liked to drive until we were practically coasting on fumes because he didn’t want to waste time by stopping. It drove my mom nuts. She would vigilantly watch the gas tank once it got below half and constantly questioned him when he was going to stop to fill up. As a child, I didn’t think twice about this exchange but apparently, I filed it away for later use. Now, I find myself doing the same thing with my husband, who coincidentally has the same mindset – don’t stop until you absolutely have to!
In all of my adult years I can proudly say I have never run out of gas. However, after witnessing my mom’s worry for so many years, I rarely let my tank get below half. Several years back my husband did run out of gas, probably for the first time, at least the first time since I’ve known him. Thankfully I wasn’t with him or my worry meter probably would’ve exploded! Incidentally, he’s never done it again.
That’s just one example of picking up someone else’s worries and making them your own. If you haven’t picked up someone else’s worry, you may have formed your own. Worrying is normal, but not natural.
Worrying is common so in that sense it’s normal. However, it’s not natural.
The Opposite of Worry
It’s not natural because the opposite of worry is not just calm, but also trust. Trusting is what gives us that feeling of calm.
Yesterday I had to drive down into north Dallas, a hike from where I live. When I started up my car, I realized I was down to less than a quarter tank. The last time I was in the car I forgot to fill up afterwards, very uncharacteristic of me.
Instead of panicking I used common sense first. Did I have enough gas to get me where I needed to go? Yes. Problem solved, I made my way down to Dallas and all was good. Now for the return trip home. Like my dad, I don’t like to deviate off course if I don’t need to. But unlike my dad, I don’t like driving on fumes. Did I have enough gas to get me home? Yes.
Then I had a choice. Stop now and get gas before the return trip or wait it out. If I was going to let my worry and anxiety get to me, I’d have stopped for gas now. Instead, I trusted that I really did have enough gas so I can put that worry to rest. I’ll gas up when I get home. I trusted myself and made it home and to a gas station. In fact, I was so confident that instead of heading to the gas station first, I made a few stops, then filled up. All was good. No worries.
An argument could be made that common sense prevailed in that I had plenty of gas to make the round trip, so why worry?
Worry isn’t Logical
Worry isn’t logical, that’s why.
Besides, if you have a mom who worries when it goes below half a tank and you adopted that worry, logic won’t save you. You’ll just follow the pattern and worry. I did. Unless you want to break the worry habit. Which I did.
While I used logic to make a rational decision, trust is what helped me to put the worry aside. I trusted in my decision. I trusted in my knowledge of about how far I could go with that much gas. And then I let it go. I absolutely did not worry about it. Did I keep an eye on the gauge? Yes, to verify that I was correct in my estimation vs worrying that I wouldn’t have enough gas. The old me would definitely not have made that decision. I would’ve headed straight to the pumps.
Worry is repetitive fear. We know fear isn’t real (except in obvious cases where something isn’t safe), yet we treat it as such. Because we’ve been conditioned to. Especially if you grew up in a home with worry.
Ask Yourself a Few Questions
To break the worry pattern, look it in the eye. Break it down. Is what I’m worrying about really a concern? If you could run out of gas, then do the smart thing – fill up. Don’t fret about it, just get gas. That’s in your control.
When things are out of our control is when the worry sets in. My mom worried about the gas because she was relying on my dad to take care of it. It was out of her control whether he stopped or not. That created anxiety in her. If my tank is low and I run out, it’s on me. That’s in my control so I take care of it.
When something is out of your control such as you’re relying on another person to do something that affects you, identify that. Ask yourself: “Am I worrying because I can’t control it?” If the answer is yes, your go-to solution now is to trust the person or situation.
Did my dad ever run out of gas? Not to my knowledge. At least not when us kids were in the car. Could he be trusted not to run out? Experience showed yes. Could he create worry in others because he waited so long to gas up? Yes, if they choose to worry about it. That’s when you have to trust the other person.
As I said, my husband is the same way. He waits until the last minute. He’s never run out of gas with me in the car so I have to trust him that he won’t.
In the case of it being in someone else’s control, ask yourself if they have a good track record. Is it a possibility they could run out of gas? Sure, it’s always a possibility, but experience has shown they will not. If they have a good record, then take the worry off of the table. Realize it’s just that – worry. Trust in them. Trust that the Universe will provide a gas station.
Trust in You, Trust in the Universe
One time my husband and I were driving through the Arizona desert. If you’ve ever done that, you’ll know gas stations are scarce. There’s miles and miles of nothing. Sure enough, our gas tank was getting low. Now I’m in full on panic mode because I can see the gas gauge and I can see there are no upcoming stations.
A lot of worst-case scenarios can creep up into your head when you’re in the middle of nowhere approaching dark with a gas tank almost empty. Could we get cell reception? Would anyone find us? You can just imagine the thoughts going on in my head. Finally, I just had to take a deep breath and trust. Trust the Universe would provide and a station would appear. Even my husband realized we needed to fill up as soon as possible. He didn’t let panic get to him either. Shortly thereafter, a station emerged. Life was good.
What could’ve turned into a major panic fest subsided because I let go and trusted. I’m sure I could come up with many more examples and so could you. The point is, when you trust yourself, trust the Universe, there’s no need to worry. The Universe provides.
Rarely does the Universe just plop answers or solutions right in your lap. You have to listen and pay attention. That’s where your trusting comes in. Trust in yourself that you are hearing correctly. Trust in your intuition that you will be ok. In the past I wouldn’t have trusted in my decision. I would’ve filled up right away so as not to worry the whole way there. I conquered that worry. Trust in you. If I can do that, so can you!
If you want to worry less, trust your intuition more. If you’re not sure if you’re hearing your intuition, I’ll show you how!
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