There are many emotions that I consider dangerous -- fear, anger, worry, guilt, shame and hate. Some of these are necessary emotions at times of our life. We need to feel fear when walking down a dark alley so we'll stay alert. As I mentioned in a previous post, anger can be a source of motivation. Guilt has its place too; without it we would be near sociopaths. But like everything in life, everything must be in moderation.
Worry, however, has no positive function whatsoever. Within worry is held all the negative emotions -- anger, fear, guilt, shame and sometimes even hate. It's the mother ship of all negativity. I challenge you to tell me one good thing that has ever come from you spending your time worrying.
Some people truly believe that if they worry enough about a situation that it won't happen. This is the most ridiculous thing that I've heard, and I can say that because I used to be one of those people. If I had a test coming up, I'd worry about passing it and felt that if I didn't worry, I might not pass it. I know it makes no sense, but worry in and of itself makes no sense.
Others believe they can make a situation better by worrying about it; it's a way for them to feel better about their poor choices. I have a friend who gossips a lot and almost always gets caught. She'll then call all her friends and worry over her decision to spread the gossip. "I didn't mean to tell Susan that Christy lost her job. It just slipped out. I mean, that happens, right? I'm not a bad friend; I was just worried about her. Right? You would have done the same thing. I just wanted Susan to pray for her. I am right, aren't I? What do you think? Oh God, this situation is killing me. I feel so bad."
Here was my advice to my friend: "You gossiped. It was wrong. Now you feel bad about it. Instead of gossiping about worrying over gossiping, just fix it. Apologize to Christy and learn a lesson." Aren't I a fun friend to have?
Some people learn to worry from their families. It's like an inherited gene that spreads like a virus. I know whole families who worry over everything -- money, health, relationships. And you know when a worry wart's biggest worry appears? When everything is going well. How many times have you heard someone say, "Everything's going so great now; I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop." Or they'll lament about Murphy's Law. Who the hell is this Murphy character anyway? We should rename him Debbie Downer.
Anyway, what I hate (and yes, I'm using that negative word intentionally because I really hate worry and what it does to people) about worrying is that within its realm lies deep insecurity, a total lack of faith, belief and trust in ourselves, those around us and our higher power. If you truly believe in God (however you term that), then you would not waste your time worrying. Because when you have true faith, you have total knowledge that there is a rhyme and a reason to everything that occurs and doesn't occur in our life. In my readings, I'm shown this over and over. People come through and tell my clients why they had to die or why the client is going through a divorce or a job loss. Every day, my experiences teach me that life is in perfect harmony. All we must do is tune our instrument and play along.
Now, I understand that worry will never permanently leave us. When my husband was fighting for his life in the hospital nearly six years ago, I worried that he would die -- but only for about a day. Then I surrendered completely to God's will. I prayed that he would live. But I also prayed that God would give me the strength to handle any outcome. I kept my prayer positive -- I never said, "Don't let him die." My mantra was "Let him live." And I kept my interior dialogue hopeful as well all the while surrendering my fear and worry to God.
When I was doing a reading for a good friend years ago who was worrying over a long and arduous adoption process, I saw a picture of Mother Mary in my mind's eye. She showed me worries landing at her feet that she then gathered in her arms and turned into birds. She said that prayers were turned into roses that gathered around her and filled heaven with beauty, but that worries surrendered to her in her name were turned into birds.
I've always cherished that message and have used that image many times myself when worry threatens to dampen my spirit. I simply give it to Mary. Usually, I'll see a white bird that day as confirmation that my worries have been taken away.
If you find yourself bested by worry, practice praying more to increase your sense of trust and faith. Write down your worries to get them out of your body. Ask, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Because when we face the worst thing in our mind's eye, the very worst, it's extremely freeing to know that even that terrible scenario could be handled with the grace of our faith. Begin to look around at the world through new eyes and see the rhythm of nature, the harmony of our life. Dive in to your life -- not with fear or worry -- but with trust and zest -- and go with the flow.