Friday, January 8, 2021

Worry – The Real Enemy


What does it mean to worry? The Latin concept of worry describes a turbulent force within a person. Worry is a heart and mind in turmoil.

The ancient Greeks thought of worry as something that tears a person in two and drags that person in opposite directions. It is like opposing forces in deadly conflict within the very being of the individual.

The word “worry” itself comes from an old Anglo-Saxon term meaning to choke, or strangle, and that is exactly what it does – it chokes the joy of living right out of its victim. And it chokes off the energy to improve one’s condition.

There is a place for healthy concern, but too often our concern turns into fearful worry. And worry, more than the problem, becomes our real enemy.

Some people have worried for so long that they have become good at it. Just as we can become good at any attitude or behavior if we practice it enough, we can also become good at worrying. Worry is habit – a habitual response to life’s problems.

I rather like the attitude of the late United Methodist Bishop Welch. When he reached the age of 101, he was asked if he didn’t think a lot about dying. With a twinkle in his eye, he replied, “Not at all! When was the last time you heard of a Methodist bishop dying at 101?” Maybe one reason for his longevity is that he never developed the debilitating habit of worry.

I wish I could be like a frog, you know, just eat what bugs me. I’m not a frog, but I can still do the next best thing: I can develop a better habit. Instead of reacting to problems with fearful worry, I can practice coming from a place of peace and confidence. In other words, I can develop a habit of practicing calmness in turmoil.

As Harvey Mackey has said, “Good habits are as addictive as bad habits and a lot more rewarding.” And more fun to practice, I might add.

In this case, practice may not make perfect, but I’m sure to be immensely better off.

-- Steve Goodier

image: flickr.com/Kristian Dela Cour

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