Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. – Corrie ten Boom
I’ve been writing about how I’m learning to “Let Go” more in life. I’ve learned the importance of letting go of the past, and also letting go of how I think things should be in the present. I’ll be honest though, this next area I struggle with a lot.
Like I said, I struggle with thinking of the future. And really, ‘thinking’ isn’t the word I should be using, ‘worrying’ is. I struggle with worrying about the future a lot. It’s funny though, I’m a very in the moment kind of person. I don’t think of long term consequences very often, I’m not the best at saving money or planning out meals for the week. In school I always waited till the last minute for my assignments. So even though I’m not exactly perfect at planning ahead, I’ve noticed that I am great at thinking of all the “What ifs?” that could happen in the future.
And you know what I mean by “What ifs?” right? “What ifs” are hypothetical fear based questions we obsess and stress over. What if I get fired? What if there is a natural disaster? What if so and so doesn’t like me anymore? What if I can’t lose the weight? You get the idea. “What ifs?” can be serious or super silly. Either way, they consume us.
When I became pregnant I started getting inundated with all the awful, heart breaking, scary things that can happen to your baby before it’s born. These things are very real – and very very scary. I immediately started second guessing every decision I made. And then of course every book I read about taking care of a baby was just chapter after chapter of all the awful, heart breaking, scary things that can happen to your child within the first year. Add to that all the stories I heard about giving birth and I realized having a baby is absolutely terrifying.
I’m not sure if I should admit this or not, but after I read a handful of books I stopped reading about having a baby all together. One book says do ‘xyz’, another book says never ever do ‘xyz’ – it was just too much for me. And besides, how could I make parenting decisions for a baby that wasn’t here yet? I had no idea if my baby was going to be super fussy or calm, have health issues or not. And there was no way I was going to memorize every detail of those books! I decided I would just deal with whatever hand I was dealt, and look up anything specific when I needed too.
That being said, I still worry about my baby even though she is perfectly healthy. And I’ll be worrying about her for the rest of my life; I’ve heard that what mothers do 🙂 But just as I did with all the scary baby books, I am trying my best to not let that worry consume me.
I try to practice gratitude. Whenever I’m lying in bed at night (that is when I do most of my worrying) and I find my mind drifting to “What ifs?” I make a conscious effort to stop myself. I remind myself that the hypothetical situation I’m freaking out about isn’t real; I only made it up in my head.
What is real is this moment.
Then I adjust my focus to what I have right here in the now. I express my gratitude for my whole family’s health and happiness, my great friends… the list goes on and on.
Of course my mind will sometimes wander back to stressful “What ifs?”, but I just keep reminding myself of all the real things in my life I have to be thankful for. Eventually my attention drifts away, and those stresses start getting smaller and smaller.
It’s just a little trick I’m practicing. Like I said before, I struggle with worrying a lot.
I intend to focus only on what I am grateful for, and let any anxiety of the future melt away.