Worry? or Work!
“More people die from worry than work, because more people worry than work.”
This was the saying my grandfather evidently used to always say. I say evidently because I was too young to have collected his wisdom before he passed. My mother was however very close with her father so I often get glimpses of his guidance second hand through her.
When I think about the advice she shares it’s not difficult to find the words that were meant for her. A father’s words intended to ease his daughter. The quote that started this was deliberately a father’s catchy way to help his daughter not just one day, but all days. And if you knew my mother personally, you would know her as a major worrier. Now here’s the trick, if you didn’t know her personally, you would see her as a hard worker.
Worry is natural and normal, cued up by a situation that has triggered an emotional sensation be it fear, anxiety, or any other emotion that fit the scene and the person experiencing it. Worry is the thing that gets a parent attentive to the dangers surrounding their children at any given stage of development. Worry can be useful, if, and only if, it develops into a plan that does not perpetuate more worry or intensify the feelings that set your brain spinning in the first place.
My experience with those I serve has taught me that people who get stuck in worry tend to worry about the same things over and over again almost caught in a time loop. They never seem to escape what would appear to be a self fulfilling prophecy they themselves have become the prophet for. What more, if a worrier worries about a specific situation long enough, it’s only a matter of time until something happens (even not directly connected to them) that validates their worries and fears as having merit.
In talking with a client it’s not hard to see where the worry comes from, it all goes back to the mother. Just joking, but seriously, the generational connection of worry exists in my family, if you haven’t figured it out, I too am a worrier. Analyzing every possible outcome, cautious about my next moves, constantly and in an instant flashing through a tragic and awful possibility surrounding my worst fears as a parent. And yes, I’ve entertained the notion that my grandfather may have been a worrier too. Maybe the quote was the very thing that put him into action and away from his worry leading to his great success. The same action that people see in my mother that keeps her moving forward. Oh, and by the way, worry is not only passed down in families, it’s contagious.
We feed off of all the fears generated all around us, the media, social media, local stories, the experiences of our friends and coworkers, and yes,,, our mothers. Worry if not addressed with work and faith can paralyze your actions and stagnate your thoughts. I’m apt to believe that people who tend to worry the most and in high-def also have a tendency to be the most creative. For those, an expressive outlet to focus all of that energy away from worry and rumination is a must. To move that intensity over to something their mind can nourish and bring to life rather than living in the daunting worry and impending doom.
It is only through work and faith that we find our way. When we work, we do our part, when we do our part, we don’t let fear and worry rule us, when we’re not ruled by worry, we don’t feed it. We then choose to feed our faith. And yes, work is first because we must do our part before we let it go. If you are hoping for life to get easier, you will be hoping and worrying for a very long time. Build the skills that feed a happy life, take action that brings that life into existence, use your faith to let go of everything else the first two can’t resolve.