It made me think about the purpose of worry. When we worry about someone, is it for us or for the other person? Parents are notorious worry warts. Good friends can worry up a storm. Basically, anyone who cares will worry. But is it helpful? Or could we extend the church sign to include others, “Don’t let worry kill you. Let your family and friends help!”
We could do with less worry, and more genuine care. Worry is a misuse of care, a projection of fear.
Worry often feels like judgment.
It goes something like this. “I’m not sure what will happen to you if you leave that job and go out on your own. What if you can’t make a living?” Or else it might sound like this, “I’m so worried about you taking that trip. What if you get lost? What if you get robbed? What if, what if, what if…………?
Concern is a natural part of love. But we aren’t helping anyone by feeding self doubt. We should be honest about worry and in the process we could affirm the other person’s courage and potential.
A healthy expression of worry might go something like this;
“I admire your courage to leave that job or take that trip. If it was me, I don’t know if I could do it. I would worry about running out of money. But if anyone can do it, its you. Go for it!”
Worry is so often a projection. I’m worried about YOU because I have doubts about MYSELF. It seems so clear when its put like that, but in the heat of the moment worry convinces us that its pure concern.
Worry speculates, and always on the downside.
Dan Zadra, author of inspirational books such as “Where Will You Be Five Years From Today?”said, ‘Worry is a misuse of imagination.”
Worry is usually based on speculation about what might happen in the future, maybe based on what happened in the past. It doesn’t make it true. In truth, another person’s choice might be exactly right for them, even if it wouldn’t be right for you. Love people enough to trust them. Trust may be the ultimate expression of love. Trust people to know what’s right for them, and keep your worries to yourself.
Concern is a gift when its expressed well, a curse when expressed as self doubting worry. As a gift, we can say to each other, “Honestly, I’m concerned. I SO want you to be well, to succeed, to thrive and I totally believe in you. When you put your mind to something, you WILL make it work. I have some anxiety about your decision, but this is MY issue. Its because I love and care for you SO much. You have my full support, and I own my worry as my own.”
How do you know when concern is turning into worry? I heard the expression, “I chew on concern. I choke on worry.”
When you feel concern, chew on it to get a feel for the real message. Are you projecting anxiety because of your own fears? If it feels like you can’t breathe through your anxiety, there is a good chance the oxygen has stopped flowing to your trust. Your concern may become irrational or over dramatized in this state.
BEFORE you express anything to another person that may squash their self belief, clear your own airways to make sure you don’t inflict YOUR suffocating anxiety on them.
Get Creative With Worry
If you’ve chewed well on worry and feel convinced that you are NOT projecting your own fears and there is genuine danger for your loved one, get creative. Come up with creative ways to move forward that are affirming. It might go something like this,
“I believe in you and I trust you. If anyone can make this work, its YOU. But I’ve got this nagging feeling about the trip you’re taking. Let me buy you the super secure money belt just as a precaution. It might just be me, and I might be wrong, but it can’t hurt, right?”
Get creative about solutions. Offer productive ways forward.
And above all, let your main expression of concern be trust, confidence and optimism. Anything less is short selling the relationship.