The Perfectly Imperfect series is about acknowledging and embracing our individual gifts and quirks-our perfect imperfection. It’s time we release the idea that every part of us must be “perfect” and we open to our full creative potential as unique beings. Stay here to learn how to replace guilt, worry and self-criticism with joy, wonder and purpose.
You know it’s not productive, but it just creeps in.
You’re brushing your teeth to the tune of: “My to-do list is a mile long, and I’m going to burn out at this rate.” Or “What did he really mean when he made that comment about the cake? And why in the world did I drink that extra glass of wine?”
Worry is normal. Worry can even be useful at times, like when it lights that fire to finish a nagging project or nudges you to check in on a close friend.
But pointless, obsessive worry leads to frustration, anger, lack of confidence, and even (yes) premature aging. It’s the surest ticket to burnout and ending up with very unattractive scrunch lines between your eyes.
Whether you’re a pro at fretting or you just want to stop second-guessing your decisions, here are three tools to squash worry in its ugly tracks (and create way more ease and wonder in your life):
(1) Lights: Get out your flashlight! Examine the situation. Talk to a friend. Get another opinion – and be open to it. That incessant voice in your head is not the Dalai Lama. It’s often anything but wise. Here’s the proof: How many times have you thought your idea/project/presentation was a total flop (yup, a crazy failure), only to meet with rave reviews? Or when have you agonized over an upcoming deadline, only to complete it with ease and grace? …your finances and bills, only to put a plan in place and welcome more prosperity into your life?…a big meeting, only to discover the other person was totally NOT intimidating? Okay. Once you’ve identified the limiting story you’re telling yourself, it’s a lot easier to shift your focus to a more supportive–or at least more realistic–tale. Because, as our friend Emerson reminds us, “There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.” The same goes for our thoughts. Bring light.
(2) Camera: Remember — It’s not the Truman Show. A few years back, I was frustrated with a colleague who suddenly seemed cold, unresponsive, and disconnected. I began to worry that I hadn’t been proactive enough, then I worried that the project was going to fail because of our lack of communication. Then I grew angry and even more concerned. Until one day I caught my whirl of worry and gently asked him directly what was happening. Guess what? The problem had nothing to do with me, and it was much bigger than our project. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and was, quite understandably, withdrawn. He’s happy and healthy now, thank goodness. And the lessons were huge for me: You never know what’s going on in folks’ lives, and (as I gently reminded myself) the world does not revolve around you. When you trust that friends, colleagues, partners and strangers are all doing their best and you avoid attributing any imagined meaning to outside circumstances, you are able to meet moments and people with much more presence and much less worry.
(3) Action: Step into WONDER.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein
Before you move on to your next task, look around. Find 5-10 objects or circumstances that inspire you, that fill you with wonder and joy. Here’s some day-to-day to marvel at: sending a note ACROSS THE WORLD in less than a second to communicate an idea, or your heart’s 60-100 beats per minute! CRAZY WONDERful.Now, choose one from your list of 5-10 and tell me about it below. Here’s mine: It’s the bach flower candle next to me. It was made by a wildly creative new friend; his shop A’nanda Ka’nan is a magical place filled with enchanting corners and uplifting conversations. What a gift to have stumbled upon in my travels last week!
Your turn. Tell me about the wonder in your life, in you. What’s the ONE miracle you’re marveling at right now? Leave a comment and let me know, and together let’s transform worry into wonder.
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