Part of my 50 Years #50 Wisdoms journey. Join me as I hurtle towards 50 on the 1st of January 2020.
Quite a few years ago, my lovely husband, Steve, bought me the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. A world-famous book, it was published way back in 1948 by Dale Carnegie.
One of the earliest self-help books, I’d rejected these types of books for a very long time. However, I realized this rejection bothered me, because how could I reject something I didn’t know?
Digging into the self-help genre was personally transformational, because in the midst of a lot of bollocks, I found some truly magnificent books of wisdom – life-changing stuff. I’m glad I challenged my ignorance there.
Another reason I decided to embark on a quest to read these types of books in the early noughties, is because I wanted to understand the genre. Why does it work? Why do people get hooked on these books? What makes one successful? I continue to learn.
A non-worrier worried even less
Anyhoo, back to the book. After reading it, I said to Steve: why did you buy this for me? You, my worry-wart, should be reading this book??
I’m not a worrier, and the funny thing is, Steve thinks I need to worry more. But HE bought me this book, and I read it not being a massive worrier already, only to finish being even less of a worrier!! I mean, could I be less of a worrier? Well yes, it appears I can. And that all makes it his fault, right?
It’s not that my lack of worry means I don’t care, I just can’t seem to allow myself to get caught up in it. Sometimes worry grabs hold, but never for long. As soon as I see what it is, I just make a conscious decision to gently let it go, because I know it doesn’t serve me.
Incidentally, Steve still hasn’t read it, but he’s working really hard on not being a worry-wart. I hope he does one day, because I know it would completely transform his thinking. Equally, I know a lot of other people who would benefit too – especially those who are going through times full of worry and fear.
I know crappy times, trust me
At some point I’ll write more about our seven years of bad luck – which was a reallyshit time – but even then, going through a lot of shit on a lot of levels, I rarely held onto worry.
In the book, Dale Carnegie said something like: 90 per cent of the things we worry about never actually happen.
I’m like YES! They don’t, so why are we so caught up in worry?
Don’t get me wrong, I know that life can be shit. I’ve had years of it too, but I still don’t embrace worry.
To give you a sense. There were years we couldn’t make our business work and we weren’t earning enough to pay the rent and bills. We got through.
We had international school bills to pay. We paid them, somehow.
All of the shit we’ve gone through with Lex, but still, I know he’ll be a legend and OK.
People letting us down… they do that people, no point worrying about it. In fact, when people let me down, I close my eyes, picture a big, bright ball of white light in my heart, and I send it to their hearts. That helps me let it go. It’s all about letting go right?
Sickness in the family, it’s part of the cycle of life. It’s not fun and is certainly a valid time for worry, but I can’t hang onto it. When Steve was sick, I was a mess, but I won’t live with it continuously…. I can’t. What if it happens again? What if it doesn’t?
Buying a house, not buying a house, debt, and more.
There was so much of it during our darkest times, but I couldn’t allow this stuff to consume me. Instead, I’ve always tried to focus on what I’m going to do to change things. Put my energy on the solution versus the situation. It’s the only way I know how to live.
We’re in a world of worry and fear
There is ALWAYS something to worry about, but worry to me is like fear, and when you’re caught up in either, you can not make a rationale decision to get yourself out of it. The world is in that place now, and look at where that’s taking us?
On a global scale, the last 48 hours have been shit. The fear of our world entering World War Three has been at risk of consuming me…. but I can’t let it in. I have to keep believing good will prevail. It’s my default position.
I suppose my worry aversion comes from my childhood. Our home was always full of worry, always. It was intense and unhappy and all-consuming. We never got a break from it, and guess what, worrying didn’t fix a thing.
Later, in 1995, when I’m travelling through India, Nepal and China, witnessing lives where people really had things tough, I struggled to accept I even had the right to worry. How could I complain?
Then the next epiphany struck. We do have the right to struggle in our own lives, because no matter where we live, our struggle is real and relevant to the life we have, so don’t compare with others.
So we have the right, but I’ve found when I’ve allowed myself to be caught there, I could see no glory or joy in life. Because it grinds you down. Takes away the light. It kills you bit by bit. I decided I didn’t want to accept feeling this way. I didn’t want to be crippled by it.
I’m no fool
That’s why I don’t like to worry. I like to be easy-going, but I am not foolish. I can see what’s going on. I can see what isn’t working. I can see when things need to change. But rather than focussing on what isn’t going great, I put all of my energy into turning things around – without worry.
It’s what I do, but obviously, I can never (and would never) diminish how anyone else is living their life or feeling about their lives. Sometimes we need to get stuck in our ruts until we gain the power to release ourselves from it. There’s a lot of power in those moments. A lot of personal gain. It’s worth getting stuck and unstuck to learn the lesson, right?
I’ve just found that if you can work out how to lessen the worry, you’ll have more space to focus on acting to change things, and hopefully, it’ll remind you to embrace the joys too. Isn’t that what we’re here for? To live this life in the best way we can?
Can we have a worry holiday?
I decided to write this today, because I’ve been speaking to a lot of people in recent months, where worry is a huge part of far too many people’s lives. I understand the cause of the worry, but I can also see the terrible impact it is having on my friends. It’s hugely upsetting for me and I wish I could help more.
So I’ve decided to ask my worrier friends if you’d be willing to do me a favour? Whenever you’re ready of course.
For 30 days, don’t worry about anything. Just take a 30-day holiday from worry. Let it all go, dance in the rain, eat exotic food, laugh, meditate, breathe deeply, hang out in nature, and try to get that smile back on your face. Play with your friends/family/lover and give yourself a break from it.
At the end of 30 days, go back to it if you like, and see if anything you were worried about has disappeared? See if the way you feel about something has changed? See if you can fully embrace worry as you had before? Maybe it won’t change a thing, but you can be worry-free for 30 days, yes?
If you feel that something has shifted after this 30-day free trial period (?) remember to keep an eye on things. It comes back. Do you want to allow it in again?
I also definitely definitely recommend reading How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, but if you can’t be bothered reading the book, here’s some quotesfrom it, and here’s a WikiHelp page too.
A worry-free world would be so great
I just hope you can get rid of some of it. Lighten the load a little. Give yourself a break. Remove the hard edges in your face and feel everything lighten up. It’s worth giving it a go, right?
I know life can suck a big one. It’s happened for me too – many times. But when we let it consume us, it makes life worse. I couldn’t accept that. I hope you can’t either.
If you’re in worry-land, I hope this is the little nudge you needed to move away from it for a short while. It’s pretty bright outside of that dark place. Maybe you’ll decide not to go back?
I know people are experiencing some really dark shit. I honour that. I’m only asking if you could take a 30-day holiday from it. Don’t worry, it’ll be there when you get back…. Or will it?
Of course, today may not be that day to take a break, but remind yourself to come back to it when you’re ready. If what you’re worrying about isn’t serving you or making your life awesome, just give it a try. That’s all I ask.
Have you been able to overcome your worries and are be happy to share? Or perhaps you can’t and want to share that too? Any tips on how to escape it from my wise-friends?
Yours, without the bollocks
Thank you for reading my ramblings. My brain and heart are a work in progress, always. I’d love a comment if it stirred any thoughts or feelings and of course, please feel free to share it with anyone you know who might be interested or entertained. I sure do appreciate it when you do. If you want to connect, I’m on Twitter here, Google+ here, Instagram here, YouTube here, and Facebook too. I share loads of stuff, not just my own xxxxx
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