Friday, March 16, 2007

Got this from a friend

If you're like a lot of people, worry just might be one of the things that makes life miserable. It's not uncommon for people to lose sleep, drop weight, develop "nervous tics," suffer ulcers or other gastric disorders, or get pretty sick in other ways, all from worry. Worry just might be one of the elements that feeds a grand variety of mental and emotional disorders, and thought we don't usually diagnose things this way, worry is the cause of countless spiritual maladies as well.
Not long after my wife and I married, we were talking about some events happening in our lives. I shared with her something I had dreamed up while a teenager to help me deal with worry. It goes something like this:
"If you do, you will, but if you don't, you won't. If you're not able, you don't have to."
I suspect that won't make a bit of sense to anyone but me, but it helps me with a framework for thinking things through and deciding which things are worth my deep concern. As I've thought about that little "ditty" in the years since it came to me as a teenager, I've decided it deserves some deeper thought and explanation. I really believe there are kernels of truth there that can help relieve worry.
1. If you do, you will. Now, perhaps that should be, "If you can, you should," or something like that. The point is simply this: things within your ability are the things you can do. If they are beyond your ability, you can choose either to extend your abilities (a real possibility in many cases), or accept the fact that whatever you're dealing with is one of those things that you cannot change. But, it does encourage action when the capability is present. So, if you're facing something you can effect, do so. If not, accept it. Whatever you do, don't get mired down in a pity-party over things you can't change.
2. If you don't you won't. Perhaps that one should be, "If you can't, you shouldn't." I think I just said this above, but it bears repeating. If something is not within your ability, either expand your ability, or accept reality.
3. If you're not able, you don't have to. Is this getting repetitious yet? If you're not able, you're not able. Do you know how many people beat themselves up over things they are not able to change? Do you know how many people waste time worrying about things they really could change? Perhaps the point is this: if something is within your ability, do something about it. If it's not, try changing yourself first, by developing new abilities, then attacking the problem.
Remember one thing above all else -- worry doesn't fix anything. In fact, worry will add an extra burden to any problem. It clouds the mind, wrecks the emotions, and kills the spirit. How does a befuddled, nervous, spiritually dead person accomplish anything worthwhile?
You've got to get a handle on worry. Some people seem more prone to worry than others, but it's possible for anyone to reduce the extremes. Legitimate concern can serve as a powerful motivator. The fact that we care deeply about some issue is a positive. Worry, however, paralyzes us, and leaves us impotent.

Next time you're tempted to worry, get a grip. Try to figure out if you can do something or not. If so, do. If not, don't. Either way, worry isn't the answer.

Much lov.


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