“Give yourself time to worry.”
This was the advice that I was given this week by someone whose word I take as gospel.
“Time to worry, really?,” I asked myself as I contemplated my choice of mentor. It seemed so counterintuitive. I’ve been told my whole life not to worry, because worrying is bad and pointless and never leads to anything good. But yet, here I was being told to schedule time out of my day to worry.
“Okay,” I hesitantly responded to the seemingly mad advice, “I’ll try to worry more.” As I fidgeted in the chair, trying desperately to figure out the solution to my momentary crisis of faith came the lightbulb moment.
“But I hate worrying,” I started to ramble, “Worrying leads to nothing good. It’s ridiculous, almost obnoxious even. As I worry, I get irritated with myself because I see how good I have it, therefore, why should I be worrying in the first place?”
A small, knowing grin emerges from my mentor’s mouth as she chews on the pen cap while she watched me stew over the irony that was materializing in my mind.
“I have it so good,” I continue, “Like there’s so much that I should be being grateful for instead of worrying.”
Bingo. There it was. See, this woman knows me well, almost too well. She knows how my mind works–how it gets from Point A to B. If she let me debate worry for a while, she knew I’d come back to gratitude–I always do. Gratitude is the saving grace of my life.
If comparison is the thief of all joy, then gratitude must be the giver of all joy. It’s science, gratefulness is the deciding factor of what makes joyful people,well…joyful. (Seriously, Harvard did a study on it to drive this point home.)
We as a people have to practice gratitude more. It has to be the narrative consistently rehearsed over and over–during the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have to call out the things that are worth celebrating, no matter how big or small. Those tiny moments of insignificant good add up, and those are the moments that we should be screaming from the rooftops. That version of the story will change your entire life.
So if you’re anything like me–stubborn, think you’re always right, slow learner–worry your way to gratitude. But if you’re smarter than me, just start with gratitude. May we all try a little harder to attain this quaint, light-filled spirit–it’s absolutely worth it.
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