Worry is opposite of caring

“Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”
Abraham

Since I jumped on the “worry is bad” bandwagon, I have been met with resistance when discussing it. Many people are very attached to their desire to worry. One of the resistances that I get from this conversation is that they simply cannot “not care”. This argument is stating that there are two states that a person can be in during any situation. The truth is there are many states between worry and not worry. They are mistaken in believing that worry is tied to caring. In fact worry is the exact opposite of caring.

In any given situation, worrying about people actually makes the situation worse. This is especially true if the person is a chronic worrier. Not only does the person worry enough about their own situation and lives, they are now given a burden of another person who feels bad about their situation. As I’ve written previously, a person cannot feel bad enough to make someone else feel better. That is not how it works. Worrying about a bad situation just adds to the whole problem. If the person going through the bad situation is also a person who worries, a huge worry ball that will just destroy everyone involved is created. Tempers will flair, emotional crying outbursts will explode, more feelings will be hurt, and a myriad of other emotional disasters may result from too much worrying.

I am not trying to pile on a lot of blame on the worriers out there. In fact, they are probably worrying about me picking on them right now. The intentions of the worriers are generally good. The chronic worrier feels they are doing what they need to do to show that they care. The chronic worrier’s help may be misplaced, however, they are doing the best that they can with their skill set.

If you are one who is prone to worry with the idea that you worry because you care, ask yourself a question, “Is it caring to make the situation worse?” When you notice that the person is sick of you asking if they are OK is that really caring? To me, caring isn’t about showing that I care. It is me doing actions that make the situation better. Not worrying about the situation constantly, and instead thinking the best of the situation and dealing with it with a smile does not mean that the person is not caring about it. This practice takes me out of the equation of feeling bad. No sane person enjoys making another person feel bad, even when the situation is something they have no control over. Let’s use cancer as an example. I have seen situations where the person who is in total pain has to put on a brave face and make jokes for the benefit of the person helping them. How is it caring when the situation calls for the person in pain to go into the caregiver roll for their own caregiver?

Worrying is not caring. Caring is caring. Having concern for someone in pain does not have to be tied to worry. Worrying is making the situation in your mind worse than the reality of what is actually happening. Worrying is constantly thinking about the pain instead of thinking of the healing. Thinking the best about a person does not mean if they fall down, you will not go over and help them. Look back in your life and notice the times when you were not worried about a given situation and the situation happened. Did you react with concern and caring? Did you think, “I was not worried about my friend breaking their ankle, so I will just let them lay there crying in pain.” I am guessing that you helped the person with as much caring as you have in your being. Taking the worry out of the equation is not putting your burden onto those you are trying to help. It is about love; it is not about worry.

The action of feeling love is on the opposite spectrum of the feeling of worry. Love is an emotion that feels good. Worrying is not an emotion. It is an action where a person takes emotions that feel bad and constantly spins them. People who worry make pictures of the worst thing happening. They tell themselves that bad things are going to happen or feel that the worst is going to happen. It is actually impossible to love someone and worry about someone at the same time. Worry either leads to no action with the person feeling bad and worrying themselves to death or worrying too much action such as the constantly asking if someone is doing fine. Neither of those actions make the person that they are worrying about feel loved. Imagine yourself saying to someone, “I love you.” Notice how that feels good and imagine the person’s reaction. Generally reactions to those three words are good. There are situations where it might be bad for people, however this is not a blog about dating. Now imagine yourself looking into your loved one’s eyes. As you are holding their hand, with all the caring you have say, “I worry about you.” Notice how that does not feel as good. Does it feel like caring to you? Does the person you tell this too feel better about themselves? Have you ever heard anyone apologize for making someone feel love for you? Have you ever heard someone say, “I am sorry I worried you?” Love is never having to say, “I’m sorry.” Worry is about being in a constant state of sorrow.

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Together we will work to see how worry is affecting your life. With this awareness, we will find techniques to get you off the worry train. You will be able to react to situations with love in your heart instead of fear and remove the blocks that keep your life from being joyous.

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Homework of the week

Reread the first blog about worry.

Examine the thoughts in your head about situations. Notice if they are helping or hurting the situation. If they are hurting the situation and making the person feel worse say to yourself, “I am open to happier thoughts that help the situation for the person I care about.”

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Martyrs are only good for stories

English: "Martyrdom of St. Paul", fr...

English: “Martyrdom of St. Paul”, from an 1887 copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs illustrated by Kronheim. Français : Le martyr de Saint Paul. Illustration par du Livre des martyrs (Book of Martyrs) de Foxe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The truth is that it is good to be selfish. When you are selfish you are putting your needs first. I understand how that can look like a bad thing. Look at it closely; if you are out of shape can you help someone push themselves in a good run? If you are sick can you take care of another person? Taking care of yourself is what allows you to support your loved ones.

Many people like to create a martyr mentality where they believe they can help people or be a good person by hurting themselves. Martyrs are only good when their sacrifices are written in song. Generally this is done by religion. In real life martyrs are annoying and draining to the people they are around. Have you been with a person who refused to be selfish? Have you noticed how you really want them to do something nice for themselves? Have you noticed how you aren’t taking your advice on this one?

The person who lives a life of anti-selfishness is living from a lack mentality. Somewhere in their brain they believe if they spend time for themselves then they will not have time for other people. When people are in lack mentalities they create the lack in their lives. They believe if they only sacrificed themselves more then their children would never feel bad or their significant other wouldn’t have left. I feel Abraham said it best when she said, “You cannot get yourself sick enough to make someone else better, you cannot lower yourself enough to make someone feel more empowered, you cannot make yourself poor enough to make someone else rich.” Only in extreme situations, such as jumping in front of a bullet, does martyrdom help a situation.

Another problem with being a martyr is that you will never feel appreciated enough for your sacrifices. Since none of the martyr’s sacrifices are good enough for themselves, they will reflect their beliefs of lack of appreciation of themselves on the people in their lives. Since a martyr can never sacrifice themselves enough to fix everything, they believe that everyone thinks the same about them. Even if those that the martyr has helped say they appreciate what the martyr does for them, the martyr will never believe them. Also, martyrs will grow to resent the person because they have to sacrifice so much of their lives for them. The martyr puts their life on hold. The martyr also may turn to emotional manipulation to get the love they seek if their sacrifices do not work.

Martyrdom does not allow people to live up to their full potential and is not a way to show love. It is more of a type of manipulation. True love is the love people attribute to dogs. They give love while wanting nothing in return. Mother Teresa had an excellent quote, “The greatest paradox is that if I love until it hurts, there is no hurt.” Sacrificing for love is not a way to get love. In fact it is not even a form of loving. The martyr has fooled themselves in believing they are being loving.

Sacrificing in itself is not a bad thing. Sacrificing your life to get love is though. Many great people sacrifice their lives because it is their purpose. Mothers and fathers who sacrifice their lives for their children are an example. What makes these people not martyrs is they do not want in return and will accept the gifts that people give them. Plus they also make sure to take care of themselves.

The classic example is the oxygen mask on the plane. First the parent puts the oxygen mask on and then they put it on their child. You are no good if while putting the oxygen mask on your child, you pass out yourself. Being the martyr is metaphorically passing out while putting the mask on the child and then yelling at the child for not thanking them for the great sacrifice they have made. Many martyr’s actually try to jump in front of bullet.

The question to ask yourself is where in your life you are sacrificing for someone else to get something in return that you will never get. Are you sleeping with a man so he will fall in love with you? Are you helping a woman move so she will sleep with you? Are you refusing praise for some help you did? Where are you trying to get sick so someone else can feel well?

Awareness is an amazing first step for change.

Homework of the week:

Even if you are not a martyr in any aspect of your life or any relationships, do something nice for yourself, just for yourself. Additional homework, if anyone gives you a compliment, thank them.

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In memory of Steve “Air” McNair

Steve McNair

Image via Wikipedia

The NFL draft is one of the most exciting aspects of football to me. I remember watching the 1994 draft and seeing college highlights of a quarterback who I hoped would be able to duplicate his success in the NFL. With the third pick in the draft the Oilers took the exciting quarterback Steve “Air” McNair. He had the name “Air” because he shattered all I-AA passing records at the little known university named Alcorn State. Watching his career blossom the way it did, taught me much on how to live life. First, his career taught me to honor my path. Sometimes I want success now. I see the work that I have done and wonder, “Why isn’t it happening yet?” I think of McNair as a person who sat on the bench for a few years before becoming one of the best players in the NFL. Another lesson is to accept success the way that it is. McNair didn’t light up the scoreboards like he did in college andhis career was most likely not how he envisioned it would be Instead of lighting up the scoreboards with his arms, he used his legs, leadership, play making ability and sheer determination to become one of the best players in the league. McNair’s career taught me how to get through tough times. There are few players in the NFL that have played through more injuries than McNair. He even had a Jackie Chan inspired poster showing off his many injuries. His ability on the football field and his toughness is how I will remember him.

This tragedy o f his death reminds me of the mistakes that people can make. One of my strongest beliefs is that happy and joyful people who are living good lives do not purposely harm other people. On July 4 a tortured individual named Sahel Kazemi allegedly put two bullets in his chest and two in his head. I call her tortured because only a person who is tortured would kill commit this act. It is times like these where we need to look to people and not discount the torture that we put ourselves through. Torture like the destructive thoughts that will lead people like Kazemi into actions that cause people so much pain. To give compassion to people who torture themselves into actions such as murder and suicide is not an action of weakness and is not condoning their actions. An action that harms another person is not something to be condoned. No one who is in their right mind will do such a thing. No one deserves to be in a space where an action such as this seems like a good idea.

To learn from this and find ways to prevent it in the future will bring more closure to this tragedy and help prevent other actions that harm others. To judge and to hate will just help create more of these actions. We can give answers such as, “this is the devil’s work” or if you are new age, “the ego or pain body.” Once we as a society judge people as evil or insane, we close the door on solutions and open the door for pain and suffering. One gift we have as humans is a deep compassion for all beings. It is times like this where we must go deep inside and find the part of ourselves that may snap one day. We need to give that part of us compassion and to make sure that we as individuals create a support structure where we have someone to lean on so we do not make such damaging actions. We need to learn to love ourselves and give love to others and to have compassion to the poor souls.

The Joker, after emerging from the vat of toxi...

Image via Wikipedia

In the graphic novel, Batman: The Killing Joke, the Joker has a theory that all it takes is one horrible day to change someone from living a life of love and service into living a life of insanity. Joker is the perfect villain for Batman because they are polar opposites. Joker and Batman were both regular people who had just one bad day that changed their lives forever. One went on to become a crime fighter and another one went on to become the Clown Prince of Crime.

During bad times we always have a choice. We can make a choice that will bring pain to many people including ourselves and our loved ones or we can take that pain and learn from it and use it to bring more love into this world. The choice is ours. Kazemi made the wrong choices with her pain and she paid with her life and we all paid with the death of a man who brought so much positivity into this world. My heart goes out to her and her loved ones. My heart goes out to the friends and family of Steve McNair. My love shines through all our hearts.

I dedicate a prayer to all those who have been touched by this tragic event. May the holes left in all of your hearts be filled with love and good acts.

I dedicate a prayer to all people who are about to make the worst mistakes of their lives. May love bring them pause and may they listen to their second thoughts.

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