We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. Seneca, Letters from a Stoic
Here’s a test. One year ago today you were worried greatly over something very troubling. It may have even kept you up at night. It made you nervous and grouchy, afraid and angry. What was that thing that worried you so?
I’ll bet 90% of readers can’t even remember. I know I can’t. That’s because it really wasn’t that big of a deal or you took care of it, or most likely, it never even occurred. But, if you can remember it, it was probably the real deal. Something worthy of some consternation.
However, most of the time that is not the case. I’m reminded of the famous quote by Mark Twain, “I’ve had lots of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
1st World and Worry
After having traveled and seeking to learn the cultures of other countries I have come to the conclusion that we Americans are the world’s best at worrying. We have so much going on in our lives complicating most all we do.
Worry over money is far and away the greatest cause. It is one negative result of our truly great system of capitalism. We always want and feel we need more than we have… no matter how much we have. And the richer we get the more in debt we seem to accumulate.
I suggest the next of the greatest causes of worries is relational, starting with families: spouses, kids and extended families. 50% divorce, kids in trouble and families that won’t even speak to one another. All of these are real and sometimes ongoing. But still, we generally learn to cope and manage these issues, albeit often not without great pain.
Most Worry is in Our Mind
Andy Puddicombe of the mega popular meditations App, Headspace, writes, “We like to anticipate things that usually don’t happen. The entire problem plays in our minds not in our life.” It’s part of being human.
Did you know that Mark Twain lost his total amassed fortune at least twice, and yet he wrote that most of his worries never happened? How is that? I think it’s because genuine trouble comes and then it’s over and we are left with what we are left with… and we move on. We accept our circumstances, and either improve them or enjoy them.
Enjoyment, Appreciation and Gratitude
The obstacle preventing us from enjoyment and appreciation and gratitude is that we are too conflicted with some silly worry that we don’t even notice how good we have it. Most of us have enough money to live well enough; we do have family and friends that love us; and then we have our pleasures and hobbies that should be giving us joy.
My problem is that I “anticipate the negative.” I expect that some challenging opportunity will turn out badly and then I worry about it. For no stinking reason other than my insecure mindset!
Instead, what if you chose to enjoy the magic moments of today. Live for today and do the same tomorrow. Don’t worry about the kinds of things you have dealt with successfully your entire life. Although it may be hard to accept, remember that most of your worries will never occur.
Until You Have To
Photo courtesy of XXX at istockphoto
2 thoughts on “Worry: Imagination or Reality”
Actually, I’ve found the worry has been exceedingly beneficial in that all the worries I have given refuge have never taken root.
I am bit confused. How has that benefitted you? It IS true that most worries don’t come true.