Recently I was talking with my parents and a few family friends about my tendency to worry. My mother recounted a story from my childhood; after watching a story on the news about abduction I asked for a body guard. I was four. They stopped watching the news in my presence.
I spent much of my childhood helicopter parenting my younger brothers. My parents thought it was mostly amusing if not annoying. I am happy to report progress on that front and I try not to do that with the girls as much, understanding the value of bumps and bruises. However, I still check on the girls before I go to bed, checking their breathing.
I know that worry is pretty pointless. I have read so many of bits of wisdom about worry:
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.-Corrie ten Boom
If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.- Dalai Lama XIV
Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all. -Ovid
Isn't that all great advice?
While we were discussing my worry I was internally worrying that I was making myself a problem. Our family friends, unaware of how deep this river runs, tried to offer advice and logic...all things that I understand intellectually, but find impossible to employ long term. Sure, I can control worry on particular issues through logic or deep breathing or meditation, but I don't have that kind of time to spend on each worry, breathing myself down to calm. My mind is a bubbling cauldron of endless worry.
Ultimately the discussion turned to putting a positive spin on this issue, when nobody had any new ideas. Compassion and empathy were brought up; I have that in excess too. Somehow that empathy and compassion and worry are all bundled together. I worry about my needs, the needs of friends and family, animals, strangers, land, sea, sky. All of it falls into my sphere of concern. I even worry about outer space. I mean why not at this point right?
So now I recognize that I was made to worry, but it is a matter of managing this issue. Worry is often valueless, but there are times when it gives me motivation to act. I am working now, to cultivate this worry into something that is a tool rather than a barrier. I want to identify my worries and sort them into action/non-action. If I cannot do something about a particular worry I must train myself to channel that energy to a worry that I can impact.
Are you a worrier?