Worrying is a vicious circle. Once I step into that circle I start worrying that I am not worrying about everything that I “should” worry about. What am I forgetting? What am I missing? I worry that I am not doing enough, that I should be doing something that I don’t even know that I should be doing. But then I can’t figure out what it is that I should be doing. So that spirals me into more worry. It never ends.
Then I take a deep breath, tell myself to “chill out,” and take a personal inventory – what is it that I am really worried about? What is at the root of my worry? And is there anything that I can practically do about it now? Or, is this something that takes time to resolve, and I am going to have to accept not knowing for the time being?
More often than not, there is nothing I can practically do in the moment, and I have to learn to accept the uncertainty of a situation. I hate not knowing things. Uncertainty is so uncomfortable.
I don’t know if anyone would claim they love uncertainty. I could see where having some things unscripted could be exhilarating and freeing, but mostly, I think uncertainty is nerve-wracking. I am certain that I don’t like uncertainty. And I am also certain, that uncertainty will always be a part of life.
I am not going to list tips about how to stop worrying. A quick google search will produce thousands of results. What I will mention is acceptance. Accepting myself for worrying. Accepting myself for getting caught in vicious cycles of worry in spite of my years of psychological training. Accepting myself for getting caught up in the angst of uncertainty, despite knowing that life is full of uncertainties. Acceptance is what gets me through the worrying days.
Don’t get me wrong, despite writing about acceptance, I still get caught in anxious circles and don’t accept myself for worrying. But, some days, I can catch myself before the anxious circle leads me into an unproductive state. But even if that happens, I am learning to accept myself for being in that unproductive state.
I definitely judge and berate myself for worrying about things I know I have no control over. But judging and berating myself does nothing for me, except to make me feel more awful. And when I am worrying, the last thing I need is to feel more awful. Judging and berating myself for worrying is a reflex. It is hard to stop that reflex, breathe, and be compassionate towards myself for having thoughts that I know are not helpful. But this is a part of being a human being in process.
Acceptance of this part of myself is difficult. Honestly, I don’t like that I worry. But it is learning to accept this part of me that allowed me to transform this day, which started off in a cloud of worry into a blog post. I can guarantee that there will be more worry days, and more self-berating days. And I am also sure that there will be days that I will judge myself for judging myself. But today, I take a slow inhale and give myself permission to be wherever I am at, even if that means being in a puddle of worry.