Worry is our imagination working against ourselves. Rather than thinking about and envisioning best-case scenarios, we often create our own horror stories and then go on to believe them as if they were real.
Since worry is always future directed we cannot possibly know what is going to happen. Yet all too often, we put far too much weight on thoughts that predict doom and gloom.
- The stock market is going to crash.
- My teenage daughter is late coming home. Maybe she was in a car accident.
- The biopsy report will come back positive.
How important it is to take a step back and notice how our minds work. How powerful it is to observe our thoughts rather than just believe whatever pops into our minds as if they were truths.
What if we listened to these thoughts and consciously decided whether they were real. Perhaps we are just frightened. Can we just keep ourselves in the present and cope with that fearful thought without putting the label of truth on it?
Since fear is always in the future, can we accept that we just do not know, cannot know. Can we live in the vulnerability of not knowing? Isn’t it better not to know than to believe we know something negative is happening?
Once we become witnesses to our thoughts, we have the choice to validate or question them. That requires moments of stillness to ask: Can I know what is happening when I am not there or what will possibly will happen in the future? Can I bear the discomfort of the unknown? Better yet, as Barry Neil Kaufman, author of Happiness Is a Choice asks: “Since you can’t know, why not make it up good?”
Will we make our minds darkrooms or sun-filled spaces? Ultimately, that is our choice.
I invite all of you to share your stories and support one another here.