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.
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.
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.”