Everyone, from Alfred E. Newman on, seems to offer advice about how to handle worry. But at some point or another, we all do it.
Nobody makes a conscious choice to worry. It’s a very unpleasant feeling, and it generally doesn’t fix the problem. It can also rob us of our peace of mind.
Everyone worries, but by recognizing it for what it is and acknowledging the effect it has on us, we can minimize those effects. In my experience, once I recognize and accept a negative feeling, it brings it out into the light of day, and this somehow makes it less scary.
For the most part, humans are creatures of habit – we generally stick to what we are comfortable with. We make a circle of friends, get a job, and engage in a fairly established set of activities. This may be due to a variety of factors, including economic stability and convenience, but it may also be related to a desire to stay in our comfort zones.
There are some who thrive on trying new things, but even they know what they like and will retreat to trusted friends and familiar places when they need comfort.
There are dedicated homebodies and there are those who can talk to anyone and love new experiences. How long can you stay out of your comfort zone?
What do we do when negativity rears its ugly head?
We can try to always be positive and optimistic, but we can’t control it when others are negative.
However, by categorizing others’ words or actions as negative, we necessarily attach our own judgments to them and actually contribute to those words or actions being negative. We feed their negativity.
But what about inconsiderate drivers, rude retail clerks, catty relatives, surly teenagers, arrogant coworkers (I could go on all day)? Aren’t these people’s words and actions inherently negative? Maybe, but it’s not that simple.
There can be a tendency, especially as we get older, to believe that we’ve done our best work: We’ve run our fastest race; we’ve written our symphony; we’ve painted our masterpiece. We might go so far as to base our identities on our past accomplishments rather than on our current lives.
It is interesting to think of the periods in our lives when we were (or will be) on fire. When is our heyday? If we think it was in the past or will be well into the future, that’s a sign we’re not living our lives the way we could. Why can’t our heyday be right now?
Some believe that there are many factors that influence how we interpret what is or isn’t true, including our values, experiences, culture, and condition.
Our truth may not be the same as someone else’s truth. Each of us has our own reality based on what brought us to where we are in our lives and how we see the world.
When the truth of two different people is revealed as different, it can seem as if one or the other person is intentionally obscuring the truth (aka lying). Of course, some people do tend to give truth (even their own truth) a wide berth. So how can we tell if people are misrepresenting what they believe to be true, or if their reality just differs from our reality?