When I was much younger than I am today, I worried about EVERYTHING. I felt I needed to be in constant control in the course of my life. If things didn’t progress the way I felt they should, I found it hard to handle.
This anxiety response was there whether it was someone letting me down for a Christmas gathering, right through to expectations of my own performance in something.
If I didn’t get 100% accuracy in a test I was undertaking, then I felt like a complete failure. I gave my time studying every chance I got and if the outcome wasn’t perfect then I felt all my time and effort had been wasted, even though the mark I got was still pretty good.
Once I bought a car because at the time I was in a relationship with someone who had children and I thought it was the perfect vehicle for us all to go out together in. The problem was, it was a much bigger car than I had been used to. I had always bought hatchbacks in the past and the amount of bingles and scrapes I started to get in to was unbelievable.
Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last and I remember saying to someone Ï really wish I hadn’t bought that car, it’s too big, I’m such an idiot to have gone out of my comfort zone and get one that size. The person I was talking to said to me you did what you thought was best at the time…and for the first time I really got it – with the information I had in front of me at that time, I had made a decision and, although the future changed the practicality of my decision, it had been right in that present moment.
So…with lots of practice I can finally say that I waste far less energy worrying about the future and how things will turn out. Situations I have no control over at all, but normally would cause me to worry regardless are becoming less frequent.
It’s called mindfulness, or living in the present moment and I spent so much of my life not doing this.
I have gradually learnt to “let go”” when something doesn’t go my way, or the way I had hoped it would and trust that the right path for me will open up in some other way – usually in a direction I would never have been aware of, if the circumstances hadn’t pushed me in another course.
If what I am relating to you sounds familiar and you would like to stop this cycle of stress you are creating for yourself, try taking baby steps to create a shift.
Someone living in an ashram once said that one should:
Hope for the best
Prepare for the worst
And take what comes
When you feel yourself getting caught up in worrying about the future, take your attention to your breath.
If you are in a situation where you can, place one hand over your navel and one hand to the centre of your chest and just be aware of the flow of your breath. Maybe repeat something mentally like “Be here now”’ to remind yourself that you are not living in what happened yesterday and the decisions you made then, nor are you living in the future and the unknown that the future brings. You are here now, in the present, in this body, in this moment…
[More on this subject to come]