Your child starting a new school.
A loved one going through a break-up.
There are a ga-zillion reasons you worry about the people you care about. There are hundreds of reasons you worry about people you don't even know! Worry and concern are normal human feelings, and feelings that mean we care. With all that life can throw at us, it's certainly nice to know people care, so surely that's a good thing, right?
Let's make a clearer decision by seeng how Merriam Webster define 'worry'.
Worry: "A mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated."
Because 'anxiety' is a simile to 'worry', let's define it too:
Anxiety: "An apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill."
And medically defined, anxiety is considered:
"An abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it."
With statistics stating 1 in 3 Australians will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, can worrying be a detriment? It appears the answer is yes, so how can we manage 'caring' for others without giving ourselves an anxiety disorder?
NOTE: if you're experiencing constant and impacting anxiety, please access professional help.
We've decided worry is related to caring for others and that's kind. We like kindness. 🥰 You don't however, want your kindness (and worry) to negatively impact you, 'cause we all know what happens then, don't we? You lose sleep, put others first, stop taking care of yourself and get irritated or resentful. Your resilience and ability to cope reduces and your overall ability to stay that 'higher version' of you, wains. The worry for others starts to seep into other areas of your life, soon becoming an all-encompassing habit that's hard to stop.
And sadly, it's not helping your loved one either. Dang it - all that mental, emotional and energetic effort and you didn't get the result you wanted 😩
Whether it's your friend, parent, child, colleague or neighbour, there's ONE thing to do before you offer help.
This has been advice I've given to mums, to friends, to family and yes, advice I've had to remind myself to take too!
See them as capable and competent.
Think about your life. Do you like it when people say they're worried about you? What thoughts or feelings surface when you hear this?
There are normally 3 responses from the person you're worried about:
1. Yes - I need help (phew, something you can action)
2. Thank you, I know you care, but I'm fine (they appreciate your worry, but would rather your forward-focussed support)
3. Why; don't you think I'm capable? (relationships might be impacted here)
Regardless of which response the person has - and note, these thoughts may or may not be verbalised - imagine how beneficial it is for both of you, if you BELIEVE they're going to be ok.
Your thoughts and feelings have energy, and that unspoken energy is easily felt by others, this is why you want to intentionally choose to see your loved one as able to get through the hard times. Even and especially when you're worried.
Tell me: what's a better scenario?
Even though they're going through something big, sad or shocking, they don't need your worry. Heck, they're probably worried enough! What they CAN use is the unwavering support that someone believes in them. That someone who cares about them can see they're struggling AND STILL think, 'you've got this!' This is powerful.
That might be your child as they navigate friendships or schoolwork.
It could be your parent learning to live without their significant other.
Perhaps it's a grieving colleague.
Of course you're going to offer physical and communication support - a text here, a meal there - but catching your thinking and changing 'I'm worried' to 'she's going to get through this' is empowering. It's the 'self-fulfilling prophecy' in action. It's you having enough faith in your loved one's ability, that soon, small pieces of your viewpoint rub off on them and they start believing in themselves too! They begin to move out of fear and worry, to resourcefulness, pride and hope.
'What if they aren't ok though, Cath?' I hear you wondering. 'What if they don't change or get help?'
That IS a possibility.
We know life can break some people. We know some people need more support than others.
We also know we don't control others. We know that each person is here to live their individual purpose and experiences, whether we like it or not. Yes, even our children.
If that's true for your person, wouldn't you rather know you viewed them in the highest way possible, through all of their life? I think this is particularly true when raising children because they're learning. They're going to go up and down, win some and lose some, feel hurts and have to learn to pick themselves up again. Your ability to exude a KNOWING that they've got everything in them to be ok is immeasurable. I believe this is one of a parent's greatest lessons to learn. And oh man, I've prayed a few nights on this topic!
Finally, if it feels REALLY hard for you to stop worrying about a loved one right now, lean into it by focusing on trust instead. Trust that there's a much bigger game at play than what our human minds can conjure, for instance that the Universe, Source, or God has planned. We can't control life events or the actions of others, but we CAN learn to manage our minds. And that's a skill you'll NEVER regret.
Worry often makes us want to control because it makes us fearful. An energy of fear and seeking to control the uncontrollable won't create the results you want - not long term.
Strengthening feelings of trust: that's a strategy to focus on! It will serve you, your loved ones and the greater good over and over and over again.
Until next time, stay amazing and enjoy beautiful person
PS access professional help such as your GP or Lifeline on 13 11 14
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