40 Questions We’re Afraid to Ask – #2
What worries me about the future?
Worrying can be one of the most unproductive and emotionally taxing things one can do. We’ve all done it at one time or another, and there are those who do it continually. They’re simply chronic worriers. We all know them. You may be one yourself.
They say at least 85% of the things we worry about never happen. In his book The Power of NOW, one of my favorite spiritual teachers and authors, Eckhart Tolle, points out that the future, just like the past, does not even exist except as a thought — a creation of the mind. When we get to the future — whether it’s the next minute, tomorrow, the next day or next year — it will be now. Now is all we ever have. It’s all we’ve ever had. It’s all we will ever have. So why do we worry about something that neither exists nor will ever exist?
I don’t remember where I first read it, but it has become one of my favorite mantras . . .
If there’s nothing you can do about it, why worry?
If there’s something you can do about it, why worry?
Human needs psychology says that everything we do, every emotion we experience (or go to) serves to meet one of six basic human needs that every one of the 7 billion of us on this planet share – Certainty, Uncertainty (or variety), Significance, Love/Connection, Growth, and Contribution. If something we do meets at least two of those needs at a high level, then it becomes an addiction. It can be a positive addiction or a negative addiction.
What need (or needs) is your worrying helping to fill? Does worrying help give you a sense of certainty about an otherwise uncertain future? Do you feel connected with other people who also worry or with the people you care about? Do you somehow feel significant or justified on the rare occasions when something you worried about actually became a reality? Do you somehow feel you’re contributing to the world around you when you worry? If the answer to two or more of these questions is yes, you could be addicted to worrying.
Rather than worrying about things that may or, more likely, may not come about, perhaps a more productive activity would be to think of something right now, right this moment, for which you are grateful. Think of something fun or creative or helpful you could be doing right now that you might choose to do if today were the last day of your life. What could you do right now to reach out to someone and help make it a better day for them? It’s amazing how when we take attention of our own concerns they tend to disappear.
Make it a great day!