With the end of the year right around the corner, a lot of us are focusing on what we’ll being doing for Christmas, where we’ll be for New Years’ Eve, and what next year is going to look like. It’s easy to get wrapped up into all the rush and race. So today I ask you to slow down. Trust that the year will end the way it should, the presents you get for everyone will be the right ones and you’ll be able to handle whatever next year throws at you. Ultimately, I ask you to stop worrying.
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” ~Eckhart Tolle
All the busy mental work we put ourselves through does little to change the actual outcome; in fact it can make it worse. I remember walking out of my final CPA exam with a horrible feeling in my gut, like I knew I failed. The worst part of it all was that if I had indeed failed this last section, my other 2 sections would expire, so I was looking at re-taking 3 out of 4 sections of this exam!
Twenty minutes out of the pressure cooker, I was drowning in fears about what it would mean to fail. I would have to dedicate at least another 6 months to studying, exam fees around $650, while working a full time job during the busiest time of the year no less. That meant 6 more months of 12 hour days (and Saturdays 🙂 followed by racing home to study another 2 hours each night. No social life, no happiness, no growth, no time to cook meals…just misery!
The worst part of it all was that if I failed, I’d have to acknowledge it was all my fault for blowing this exam.
Comforting me was not an option and I was convinced nothing would help, no one knew what it felt like. I didn’t believe people when they told me I’d done my best. My parents told me not to be so hard on myself, but I was certain there was no other way to look at the situation, so I worried about my score every day for the 19 days it took to receive it.
Every time I opened my gmail account, my nerves kicked in. Today could be that day I received the words I had been dreading. Then one day when I got back from a Starbucks run, 2 co-workers were celebrating…exam grades were out! I ran back to my desk (as fast as I could with a latte in hand) and logged on to the check…I had passed! Relief flooded over me, my heart rate slowed down (as much as it could after drinking a latte), my shoulders relaxed, and my narrow vision of doom expanded into a blend of shock, euphoria and excitement. I was done taking exams!!!! I was officially a Certified Public Accountant (as exciting as that is)!
At that moment I thought about how unnecessary my worry had been, and how I wished I didn’t put myself in that space. I was overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness and desperate to feel some sort of control. But the truth is, my worry wasn’t even slightly useful or productive and it actually exacerbated the situation.
I only missed out on 19 days, but I know there are women out there who have been in a state of worry for years, maybe even decades. Uncertainty should not automatically produce worry, because uncertainty has an equal change of turning out positive or negative. When we worry, we’re not protecting ourselves from pain, we are causing more of it and our preoccupied mind causes us to miss out on the present.
On the other side of worry, there’s trust. We can’t always count on the things we can’t control, but we can always count on ourselves. So my advice to anyone looking to worry less and be more mindful would be to trust yourself and trust what you have ahead of you. You’ll be a calmer, happier person and a heck of a lot more fun to be around 🙂
Live your WHOLE life,
P.S. Do you have your own methods for turning you worried mind around? Email me back and let me know what works for you!