Today was an interesting day.
For months, I would look at the calendar and my stomach would sink. For months, I knew that I had to do something that I didn’t want to do – something that needed to be done.
And while I won’t get into the specifics of what that something was, I will say that I did it.
And all of the worrying beforehand and stories that played out in my mind about how it was all going to play out didn’t come to pass. Not even close.
I have lost sleep over this. I have cried about this. I have gotten angry about this. I have felt anxious about this. All before it even happened.
I had worked myself up into a complete tizzy over this thing that I needed to do.
And when I actually did it, it was easy. It went smoothly. Everything was fine. Absolutely fine. No friction. No feathers ruffled. No hurt feelings or resentments or anything even close.
So basically, I feel a little bit silly now for wasting so much of my precious energy on this moment.
I started looking at other times in my life when I followed a similar pattern and found that this was pretty typical for me.
Before my husband and I started our business, we taught middle school for a semester. We quickly realized that our dreams of working for ourselves were ready to be brought to life, and we dreaded telling the kids that we were leaving so soon. While we became close with many of them, our souls were speaking so loudly to us and saying that it was time to take our leap of faith. I made myself sick thinking about telling them. I felt like I was abandoning them and that they would be devastated. What actually happened was that we told them (expecting tears and sorrow), and within five minutes whey were asking if that meant it was a free day and wanted to see if they could play computer games.
I was surprised at how well they took it, and I realized that I wasted so much energy worrying about something that never came to be. Fearing how upset they would be was something that I had made up in my mind – a story I told myself that had no basis of truth. A story that I had believed – even though it wasn’t real.
There are also times when I would expend tons of energy worrying about something that actually did end up with the outcome I worried about – such as having a root canal or being in a car accident or getting sick or getting divorced or losing a loved one.
But I’m realizing more and more that worrying is powerlessness at its best. Worrying didn’t change the outcome of any of the examples above. The outcome was going to happen exactly how it was meant to, regardless of how much energy I put into worrying about it beforehand.
What a wake-up call that is for me. If the outcome is going to be the same, then wouldn’t I rather be happy and positive and joyful and grateful leading up to whatever it is that I’m afraid of? At least then I would be enjoying my days beforehand, regardless of how the actual day that I had been worrying about went.
I am so tired of making up these stories in my mind. I am so tired of creating outcomes that rarely come to pass. I am so tired of working myself into such a tight knot because I’m positive that I know how something is going to turn out, when in reality I have absolutely no idea and never will until I’m actually in the situation.
And today’s situation helped me see how all of this energy that I expended could have been put toward more positive, uplifting, healing things. And that’s where I want it to go from now on.
So while I’m not sure if this is something that I’ll be able to change overnight, I am going to be much more conscious of it. I’m going to start noticing the stories that I’m telling myself and the worries that I’m fretting over and the thoughts that are circling in my mind about an upcoming situation that I’m fearing. And I’m going to give myself permission to breathe, to trust, and to do my best to stay in the present moment. This is where life lives – not somewhere in the future. And if I can focus on being grateful right here in this moment, then the rest just tends to work itself out. And on the rare times that the outcome isn’t what I had hoped for, at least I wasn’t completely miserable leading up to it.
It’s definitely worth thinking about. I am just not okay with giving away my precious energy to worrying about what may or may not come to be. I would much rather focus on joy and love and gratitude in this exact moment.
That feels much, much better.
P.S. – A new post is up at my new A Year of Silence blog! I would love for you to read them. This project officially begins on January 1st. You can learn more about it here: http://www.ayearofsilence.com.
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