Ahh yes, there is absolutely nothing that robs us of our happiness more than that of worry. When you are worrying, it is impossible to be happy. If you get good enough at worrying, you can worry about never being happy again. What an oxymoron! If you ever want to find your inner happiness, you must quit worrying.
Worry is anxiety and anxiety is living in the future. In the history of our species, happiness has never been found in the future; it is only felt in the present. Worrying takes you out of the moment and places you squarely into the unhappy land of tomorrow. Our brain can only process what it sees, hears, tastes, smells and feels, it has absolutely no power to process what it can’t.
I know all too well the hell that constant worry can put a person under. There was once a time I lived entirely in the past, dwelling on the pain to get me through each day. I used that pain as an excuse to validate my present mind. I found comfort in the suffering of yesterday. When I started to get rid of the layers of pain that childhood sexual abuse can do to a person, I had no idea what to do with my current feelings. I had lived so long in my past that I couldn’t feel the moment, so I began to worry. I worried about what others thought of my decision to omit my parents from my life. I worried about my capabilities as a father and husband without the support of my abuser in my life. I worried about my job, my friends, my house, my bank account, my retirement, I even worried about worrying; no joke! I spent an entire insomnia riddled night worrying about what my anxiety was doing to my health.
It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a counsellor about my worries about death and the welfare of my son that I was able to put it all together and get back to the present. I was worried that my father would take advantage of my demise and try to take my son away from my wife. I shivered even more with the thought that should both my wife and I die, what would happen with our son then? The counsellor bluntly told me “Who cares? You will be dead! And there will be nothing you can do to save your son!” At first, I was appalled at his response, but the more we discussed it, the more I realized that it really doesn’t matter. I will be dead, and it doesn’t matter how much I worry about and prepare for my death, there are no guarantees. It doesn’t matter what I anticipate will happen in my afterlife; I am too dead to make any difference!
Talk about coming back to the present in a hurry!
Of course, it took a lot more deliberate practice to get me off the worry train, but each time I reminded myself that there is nothing more certain than death and that there is nothing more permanent than being dead. I have nothing to worry about, my fate is sealed. I will die someday and nothing that I did yesterday, or what I will do tomorrow will matter.
Quit worrying, happiness is not found when your bank account is full, it is not found in the relationships that you want to have or have had yesterday, and happiness is not found in the legacy that you believe you will leave behind.
Worry is a thief, and happiness is its bounty. Keep yourself locked in the now and I can guarantee your happiness will be safely secured for now and every moment to come.
This blog post is part of a series of 26 that focuses on finding your inner happiness. Please check out the rest of the series here: The ABC’s of a Happy Life