Worry rules my life.
I’m always trying to prevent an outcome I don’t want, and since becoming a mom it has gotten a hundred times worse. I am always trying to make sure my kids are safe, which is important of course, but I go to the extreme of going down the rabbit hole and imagining in detail anything bad that could happen to make sure I take all precautions to prevent it.
I know I’m not the only one, and it’s got to be some sort of survival instinct. Dwelling on these ideas, however, and thinking they might come true makes a person sick.
In author Michael Singer’s podcast episode, “Releasing the Burden of Worry,” he focuses on why we do this:
We are trying to prevent any sort of pain from reaching our heart.
Our heart has given our mind the task of seeking all possible outcomes that can hurt us so we can do everything we can to prevent that from happening and getting hurt. He also discusses the day he finally told his mind that it could stop doing so.
So, I decided to tell my mind the same and I’ve been catching myself in the act saying, “Remember, this isn’t your job anymore.” My mind still tries out scenarios of course, and I still have intrusive thoughts, but I no longer go down the rabbit hole of worry. I just jump my thoughts to something else, something more pleasant, before I get the chance to think of more disturbing outcomes.
As an example, I have a great fear of losing my husband. It’s always been a horrible thought that enters my mind over and over, so much so that I entered therapy because it was disturbing me so much. Now, every time the thought comes up, I gently remind my mind that that’s not it’s job anymore.
I remind myself that I can deal with that pain if it ever comes. That there’s no preparation that will ever help me with that loss. And in reality, I could die first and never have to deal with that pain, so then I’m torturing myself over a problem I may never have to experience.
I know too that we are both spiritual beings, and he will be with me on this plane and the next. He’ll be closer to me in death than in life. I know he’ll still send me messages, and of course that won’t take away the ache of losing him, but it still helps to know he won’t be gone, lost forever to some abyss.
This is an example of where my thoughts go. But I am learning to move on, to have these thoughts and not dwell, to know instead that I will be able to deal with all the pain and heartbreak when they come.
I can’t protect myself from everything, nor should I. Pain teaches us. Pain is why we’re on this planet. We come to feel everything—not just the beauty.
Listen to Singer’s podcast episode below: