“Worry is imagination wasted. If you focus your thoughts on matters that don’t worry you, it will give your imagination a chance to grow interesting and, perhaps, original ideas.”
– Barnard Law Collier
At one point or the other in your life, you’ve had to deal with this nagging, energy-consuming emotion called worry. Even when you try to divert your attention to something else, you can’t help but recall that thing you believe is a pressing need. The word ‘believe’ is vital because not everything we worry about is a pressing need. Yes, the unpredictability of an unknown future is a cause for worry. But according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are only five needs you are permitted to worry about.
They are the need for:
- Survival, which includes our psychological needs (like food) from which our intense worries stem.
- Safety (such as security)
- Love and belongingness (such as love)
- Esteem (such as dignity)
- Self-actualisation (such as fulfilment)
These are needs that we naturally worry about. However, you need to realise that the future is indeed unknown and unpredictable. No matter how much you worry, nothing will change that. On the contrary, you are simply delaying an action that can be taken in some cases. For instance, if you’re worried about your health, you can simply make a healthy lifestyle change, rather than prolong the issue.
Humans are naturally prone to worry. While we agree that this is normal, it should be controlled.
Here are four things you worry about, but shouldn’t:
1. Your relationship status
You’re single. So what? It’s not the end of the world, is it? Even if you’re in your late 30s or early 60s, and you still don’t have a potential ‘bae’, that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. You need to realise that you’re lovable. The fact that you haven’t found a companion doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. Don’t hold on to depressing thoughts about what the problem may be. Move on! Turn your energy into cultivating and strengthening your talents, skills and abilities. Achieve something and be proud of yourself. You really don’t need anyone to be by your side to be complete. It’s okay to be single. Just work on loving yourself and making it worthwhile.
2. Your social media status
So many people post their best pictures on social media hoping to get likes and comments. This stems from the self-esteem need. It has become a plague. It’s the need to be loved, but by whom? The number of Instagram followers you have does not determine your worth. You shouldn’t worry about the number of likes, comments, and followers you’ve got. Instead, work on building your relationship with real people. Invest your energy into communicating with friends and cultivating deep friendships. Your friends and family should be the major people in your life, and even they can’t determine your worth. Only you can.
3. Your weight
You’ve been on a diet and a workout routine but still can’t keep that weight down. If you are putting in the effort and living healthy, then that’s what matters. Don’t worry if you’re not losing the weight as fast as you want; all that matters is that you’re doing what’s right. If people judge you by your weight in spite of your healthy lifestyle, then let them pluck out their eyeballs if seeing you affect them that much. Strut all the way to your worry-free self!
4. What others think about you
How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel like you’re not good enough? Do you ever worry about what others think about you? Trust me, most people do. You’re not alone. But you shouldn’t worry about what others think about you as long as you’re okay with who you are. If you know yourself and you’re happy with the good choices you’ve made, don’t let what people say or think about you get your mind spinning on the worry wheel.
Worrying is like pouring your water on the weeds while ignoring the fruits, vegetables and flowers, which wither and die.