There’s this man…
He still fits into all his clothes from 6th grade. His throat swells up like a balloon at the idea of voicing his opinions. He’s terribly afraid of judgement — he’s a real stick in the mud.
No matter the situation, he finds a way to reveal the potential disaster lurking beyond any practical and simple situation.
He could accept an award for “World’s Greatest Achievement” and he’d still dread the idea of being in the lime-light. Because he’s a coward. Any situation that threatens to expose his cowardice calls for worry and anxiety. This man’s a wizard of insecurity; the King of “what could go wrong…” And this man lives inside my head.
I don’t know who he is, I don’t know where he came from, all I know is I hate him.
This morning while pouring coffee, I caught myself worrying seemingly for the sake of worrying. Here’s me, just casually enjoying my morning, then this cancerous terror comes crashing in like a brick through a window. Like woah, woah, woah, wait a second! I’m just making coffee? Why are we going to war right now? At least let me enjoy my dinosaur oatmeal in peace, then we can address all the pain, anxiety, and worry of the day ahead of me.
Later today, I’m helping an old friend at my church. (He’s literally old, like 60 years old.) I’m helping him figure out some computer stuff because, you know, old people don’t understand technology.
Ever since making this arrangement on Saturday, I’ve been stressing over it. Not in an overly dramatic way, but in small, weird ways.
Worry sucks because it overshadows everything else. Never mind the good that could come from the situation and never mind the obvious fact one small hiccup won’t define the entire experience — worry is overcast. And it never fails to ruin the day.
Ever since arranging to help the old timer, I’ve worried about it. I think it starts as questions… it starts as “what-if’s” and then it spirals from there.
What if I give this poor old man Corona? How should I greet him? I know he lives in a trailer park, what if he’s ashamed of where he lives? How do I make him feel comfortable? How long before it’s okay for me to leave? How do I say bye?
Now I’m at the point where I’m negatively viewing the whole encounter. It’s transitioned from simple meet up to this thing I have to navigate and potentially suffer through. It feels like needles when I think about it now.
I wish it was something I could look forward to. Or better yet, I wish it was something I didn’t have to think about until it happens. But, that’s the nature of worrying — it’s wasting time and energy to no avail.
Worrisome thoughts have a tendency to dominate the playing field of my mind when it comes to social settings. They corrupt everything good and beautiful and wholesome about being human and interacting with people.
Imagine a beautiful bouquet of flowers slowly dying, losing all color and life while simultaneously transforming NOT into a pile of dead flowers, but turning into a pile of vomit. Actual puke. That’s my idea of worry, turning something good and natural into something also natural, but extremely unpleasant.
When I was young, I used to underestimate the power of the mind. I didn’t believe in mental disorders, I didn’t think the mind could consume reality, distort emotion, and change behavior. As an adult, I understand this is the very nature of being human and it’s part of the burden of consciousness, understanding, and self-awareness.
I hate worrying because it’s the opposite of freedom; it shackles and holds you back from realizing your potential.
So, what can I do? Well, this morning was cool because I caught the little man inside my head — I caught him worrying and realized how irrational he was. Not only was it not the time to worry, there were no means for worry.
So I’d like to recognize those thoughts when they appear, then abruptly let them go. If I do this long enough, maybe the man inside my head will get bored… if I’m lucky, maybe one day he’ll move out for good.