Our worries often seem so real, it’s as if they have happened already.
The client is going to cancel.
The kid is going to hurt himself on that swing.
The car’s going to break down.
You’ll never get a park.
The money will run out.
The boss is going to shout.
The anxiety we feel about these things as we sit watching the children play, or in a tense boardroom, or on the way to our destination in town; we can feel as anxious as if these things are already real. It feels bad. We feel worried and concerned. And how many times does the thing we have worried about NOT happen in reality? All. The. Time. A huge amount of stress for nothing.
Here’s the thing. When you get on a plane to a sunny tropical destination, do you know how the plane stays up in the air? Like, really? Hats off if you have a first in aeronautical engineering, but I am willing to bet 99% of us don’t really know. Could you actually explain it? Nah! You just know the plane stays up, and that’s more than good enough. You trust in the process. You can’t see it, or define it, but you know it’s all happening and the flight is going to make it to Club Tropicana. Or how about when you get home from work and flick the telly on. Do you know how the electricity works? Like, really? Could you actually explain it? Draw me a diagram? No, you just know it does, and that’s more than good enough. You trust in the process. You can’t see it, or define it, but you know it’s all happening. And it does.
We can’t define. We are trusting in intangibles. We have a huge amount of faith in stuff we can’t see, and we can’t explain. It’s an awesome capacity, really helpful. It helps us to glide through life, get things done, stay calm, take stuff for granted. It can be a very positive force for good.
Endless worrying is like using this force in reverse. By worrying about some future event that may or may not happen, we are asking ourselves to once again have faith in something we can’t see, but something that makes us actively anxious guaranteed.
Feeling relaxed or feeling anxious a lot of the time comes down to the ability to believe something unseen. It comes down to faith versus fear, essentially. Faith in the fact something good is going to happen (the plane stays up; the telly makes noise and pictures) or fear that something bad will (the client walks away; there will never be a park in this rain). Either way, you have to believe in something you can’t see: faith or fear. Fear or faith.
We can choose to believe in an unseen outcome that’s good and relaxing or one that’s not so good and anxiety inducing. It’s a choice, not a certainty. Trust and faith require us to believe we are big enough, brave enough, strong enough to handle it, whatever the outcome. Which you ARE. Worry is a fear of events unseen. It robs us of joy in the present and actually makes us less able to handle what comes up.