Thursday, December 9, 2010


It’s so easy to worry. There’s global warming, wars being waged, and children starving. There is much to focus on in the global community. A little closer to home, we worry about family, personal relationships, career and debt. But does worrying truly serve a purpose? Of course, we must acknowledge the things that we consider to be wrong so that we can make the adjustments necessary to improve those conditions. But when we take these issues on as a reason to worry, we are not in the business of creating solutions. We are just feeling bad for the sake of having a bad feeling.

Somehow, we have adopted the belief that worrying about problems means that we truly care about something. We even judge others when we determine that they aren’t worrying enough. We believe that when things are not going well, the appropriate response is to feel bad. This belief runs so deep for some of us that even when we don’t care about a particular issue, we feel compelled to work up some negative emotion. We will put on the sad face and give the requisite, “Awwww, how sad!” in response to the news that a friend has ended a dysfunctional relationship that has outlasted its usefulness. We exclaim, "How terrible!" and sigh heavily when we hear that a family member has lost a job that we know they hated. Why? We make it mean something that we can commiserate and share in the suffering. We mistakenly believe that it makes us “good” people; that we are kind and sympathetic.

When we feel powerless to positively impact a situation, we choose worry and sadness as our contribution. We go all in and get lost in the negative emotion because it is familiar to us. It is our way to act without taking action. We are not empowered and we fail to empower others.

Of course, “bad” things are happening in the world. Sometimes, “bad” things happen to us and to our loved ones. It is during these times, that we may want to consider taking a step back before we choose worry as our reaction. We may want to ask ourselves what would be our truest intention. Is it to feel bad for the sake of feeling bad or are we simply acknowledging our feelings before moving into positive action? Is it to offer authentic support to a friend in need or do we just want to give the appearance of caring? Or, are we worrying because we feel powerless to do little else? When we choose to react to life’s unpleasant events from a place of pure intention, we allow ourselves the freedom to genuinely express caring. And it is through this authentic expression that we empower ourselves and others.