I’ve often said fear and worry are the two most pointless emotions one can possess. That is not completely true, however, and I realize that. Fear, has its uses. Worry, on the other hand, has no purpose whatsoever. There can be nothing gained in life from worry.
Don’t confuse fear with worry. Worry is anticipating something traumatic will happen. Something detrimental to your desires. What point does it serve, however? No problem could ever be solved through worry. You can’t apply it to a solution. Worry is thinking about everything but the present moment. Sure, you might worry that the traffic on the icy road will skid into your lane and cause an accident, but why would you waste precious time and energy thinking about something that will, most likely, not happen? Rather than reacting in the present moment, you spend that moment thinking about an unlikely outcome. Think about it, how often have our worries come to fruition?
There is a difference between fear and worry. Fear is what kept our prehistoric ancestors alive. Fear allowed them to react properly in a life or death moment. Worry did not. Fear is fueling your body for a moment, worry is removing your mental awareness of a moment.
We often confuse the two, because worry will often turn into fear given the right conditions. However, given the context of a situation, the fear would present itself in due fashion regardless of whether worry was there beforehand. If we let it go untamed, that worry can lead into a permanent fear. A life where you feel constricted in your actions by thoughts of fabricated scenarios.
When we worry, we aren’t doing ourselves any favors. We think our worries are relevant, because we make them completely relatable to our own wishes and desires, fears and concerns. We think worry is relevant because we twist the emotion to make it relevant. But I’ll say this: Worrying about whether or not you’ll get a promotion/whether the object of your affection likes you back/whether you have what it takes to succeed in life is no different than walking around worrying about a chunk of an airliner falling on your head. There is no point to think about that which has yet to pass. Worrying about that piece of debris doesn’t make one less likely to be struck by it. All it does is is preoccupy the person from being in the present moment, which is all one can do.
So I think about worry and fear in this regard, and how it matters to my own life. Truth is, after everything I’ve said just now, I’m a major worrier. And I’m fearful. But I wish not to be. I have an entire world out there, waiting for a dose of me, and I’m reluctant to break out and fulfill those desires, because….why? I’ve written in the past that I’ve often shied from the spotlight growing up. I didn’t want to be exposed to the world, or, worse yet, I didn’t want the world to be exposed to me.
What is it exactly that I’m fearful of? Is it the fear of failure? Sure, as a declared “smart kid” growing up, I didn’t want to challenge myself for fear of failure and losing that title. I figured “wasted potential” sounded much better than “failed trying”. Obviously, I don’t agree with that mindset anymore. In fact, what worries me (Hah!) is that I might be afraid of success. Somewhere, there’s a part of me that wouldn’t accept a successful version of myself. It would be so far outside my normal “comfort zone” that I would rather not try. Same hesitancy, different fear.
Now, I don’t want to necessarily avoid these emotions. Emotions are a powerful tool, as long as you are the one wielding them. To let them rule you can have an undesirable effect, however. Instead of being void of these emotions, I want to be able to understand them, to know where they stem from, and how to address them in a productive manner. Harness the process of feeling fearful into an energy that I can utilize.
One of the ways I’ve tackled this is through meditation. I’m not consistent with it, but I can tell it has an overall beneficial impact. The days where I’ve meditated consistently, I feel more in the present moment. My mind is clear, and words come quickly. I feel like my wit is enhanced, and I take much joy from the present moment. The past doesn’t cloud my present thinking, and I am unburdened by thoughts of the future. When you think about it, there is no past or present, as our entire lives consist of the present moment. That is why I am bothered by fear and worry. Too often I am distracted from the now, preoccupied in entertaining thoughts about that which does not matter.
When confronted with something immediately, you react. You don’t think or allow time for distraction to set in, you react in the moment in a manner best suited to your instincts. This is what I strive for. I don’t want to think about what I could do. I don’t want to think about what I’ve done. Doing this allows fear and worry to creep in and pervert your mindset. Instead, I want to think about what I’m doing.
To me, worry is the absence of presence.