“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook
When I was a kid, we lived in a small, up-and-down apartment which stood along a narrow street. The house, which was made of mostly light materials, was bright on the outside but a bit gloomy on the inside.
My mom and dad were both employees of a nearby department store at that time so I was left at home with my sister, who was still a toddler back then, and our nanny Anna who happens to be my dad’s cousin too.
It was a friendly neighborhood. Almost everyone knew everybody. In the afternoon, nannies gathered around in front of our house to share stories (they were actually rumors) while us children played and ran around.
One of the rumors swirling around at that time was that the apartment we lived in was supposed to be haunted. My nanny tried her best to keep those stories from me but like most children my age (I was 4 or 5 years old), my sense of hearing and curiosity was top-notch. It may seem that I was playing with my friends but my ears were actually wide open so I knew what was going on and what they were talking about.
The story obviously had a big effect on me. I was always scared to sleep by myself, I can’t go to the bathroom alone, and I can’t stand sleeping in the dark.
One night my sister and I, together with our nanny, were watching television. My mom and dad were still at work and having a sharp sense of hearing, I heard footsteps going up our stairs.
I was scared to death when I told my nanny about what I heard and based on her reaction, I knew she heard it too. Out of curiosity, I went to check who was approaching us and to my horror, saw absolutely NOBODY!
I ran to my nanny and my sister while shouting “THERE’S NO ONE!” and we all went under a blanket and stayed there until the footsteps stopped.
When my mom and dad came, we told them what happened. My dad just laughed and told me that I probably imagined the whole thing. He even checked the rungs which were made of wood and he showed me how it was impossible for the steps to make the sound I described given how securely those wooden steps were attached to its frame.
It was about a few weeks after the incident that we learned about what I really heard that night. It turns out that the apartment next to us which was built with the same materials as ours, had their staircase steps replaced because they were already loose and made a lot of noise every time someone stepped on them.
It’s funny how sometimes we scare ourselves of things we know nothing of or things that hasn’t even happened. I didn’t want to be alone and was scared of the dark because of stories I didn’t even know were hearsay. I made myself worry about ghosts that didn’t even exist.
Get your facts straight and stop being a victim
Stress is difficult to manage but if you look closely, most of the stress we feel were brought about by none other than OURSELVES. We have this stubborn tendency of putting ourselves through stress by giving our minds something to worry about even if it hasn’t happened or even if we don’t fully understand.
I have a friend who always seem stressed out and lonely so I asked him what was happening. He said he felt like he was not getting the better end of the bargain from the company he worked for. He felt he was being treated unfairly so I asked him how he got to this conclusion and if he had proof.
He said he didn’t and that he just heard that some of his batch mates were getting better benefits than he did. I advised him to stop listening to hearsay and to not waste his time worrying about things he wasn’t sure were true.
We eventually learned that one of his batch mates was just bragging and playing him because they knew he was sensitive.
Anticipate positive results
“If anything can go wrong, it will.” – Murphy’s Law
Negative as it may be, it’s sad that most of us follow this law more than we should the opposite. How about following Noel’s Law which says “If anything can go right, it will.”
You see it requires a similar amount of effort to think positively and negatively but the results of doing both are totally different.
Why anticipate something bad from happening when you can expect a better result?
I’ve been a follower of Murphy’s Law before and I’m telling you, it only made my life worse and even to this day, regardless of how much I resist thinking negatively, sometimes I can’t help it. What helps me overcome negative thoughts are positive input and hope.
If you just came from an interview, be excited in the prospect of getting the job instead of over-analyzing what you could have said better in the interview for you to get the job.
If you are travelling from Singapore to Paris, think of the places you will visit once you set foot instead of worrying if you’ll ever get there in one piece.
As the late Zig Ziglar once said:
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
Live in the present
No one knows what will happen tomorrow, or next month, or next year yet most of us worry about it. We worry how our children will grow up, how the economy will do or if we will still be alive by then. That’s a lot! That’s too much to handle for something that hasn’t even happened don’t you think?
I’m not discounting the dangers of being out in the world today but if it starts to affect your health and well-being, it’s a different story.
Regardless of the circumstances in today’s world, we have to stay hopeful. Don’t wear yourself out thinking of something that hasn’t even happened yet. Worse, we’re not even sure if they will happen.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati even found that 85% of the things we worry about NEVER actually happens so stop scaring yourself to death of what lies ahead.
Live your life one day at a time. Live for the moment. Enjoy the present and stop worrying about things that may not even come.
Over to You
Are you giving yourself a lot to worry about?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.
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