My lovely wife told me another mind-blowing, life-changing piece of advice this last week.
Many times I concern myself with how future negative events might unfold. You might also know this as worrying.
wor·ry [wur-ee, wuhr-ee]
verb (used without object), wor·ried, wor·ry·ing.
1. to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.
It never really feels like that. I am confident that everyone that knows me would consider me an optimist and a pretty positive guy. However, my wife certainly sees a different side of me. For years I thought of that part of me as being a realist or cautious. But no, I worry.
And I am sure many of you do too. However, everything changed when my wife told me this:
“Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.”
If your focus is on a negative outcome or a positive outcome, there is a good chance it will come about.
We were at a pool party and I noticed my son was really close to the pool and I kept thinking “He is going to fall in.” Delilah kept looking at me and she could see the concern written on my face and gave me this knowing look. And guess what, he did!
At the beginning of the year, I stopped listening to the news. I subscribed to several email newsletters that inform me about environmental issues and labeling genetically modified organisms in our foods. I don’t read them but sign every petition. And really with whatever is going on in the world today that concerns you how much is there besides that you are prepared to do anyway?
Currently, people are telling me about all the underage immigrants coming across the border, but really, what actions would I take on that knowledge? If I was really upset by it? Maybe write to my congressman? I live in Texas, I am sure he is aware of the issue and it would just be me agreeing with him. The times I write congress and the Senate I get a roundabout response so really that outlet is pretty worthless.
Another philosophy that came into my life recently was on the stoic philosopher Seneca. This might seem contrary to what I am saying above however, I think it pairs well with my fellow worriers.
“He robs present ills of their power who has perceived their coming beforehand.”
So think about the worst happening and prepare. But don’t dwell on it.
Do what you need to do to prepare. Most of the time, events are out of your control, but even should something bad happen most of the time you still have your life and family.
Limit your time as a pessimist, take a deep breath and get back to living and enjoying being on this earth. Okay probably not what Seneca meant but still.