Stop Punching Yourself
Remember that game we played as kids? You’d sit on someone’s chest, grab their arms, then start thwacking them in the face with their own hands and say (on repeat), “Stop punching yourself!
You didn’t? Well, good for you, Flanders. I lived in a real neighborhood where that was a regular Tuesday.
And that kind of abuse is what Gavin de Becker, author and security specialist likens to one of modern man’s worst traits – worry. In fact, he calls it “self-harassment”.
So why do we do it? Why don’t we just gather up all our strength and throw that chest-pinning-bully off of us? (I became a master at it during my playground days. I’d bring my feet up around the front of the victimizer then use that leverage to fling them backward onto the pavement. BAM!) But damn if I can’t do that as an adult, card-carrying worrier. What gives?
For one, worry feels productive, like we’re doing something when really all we’re doing is jacking up our stress hormones and shortening our lives. (Awesome.)
When it comes to the change-averse, worry keeps things familiar, no matter how unhealthy. At least it’s predictable! (Control freaks, I feel you.)
And as far as feelings go, worry maintains connection. If you worry about someone it means you care, then they care back, and all that caring is comforting. (Even if it’s caca.)
“Got it, Lynda. But where’s the fixy part? All these facts about worry have me worried I’m doomed to worry forever-er-er-er…”
Here it comes!
Apparently, we are all full of sh*t.
Because, as it turns out, we actually have little confidence in the things about which we worry. When we believe something is a real threat, we take action. (See ninja-foot-move above.)
Therefore, the next time you find yourself worrying about something, you can say, “Sweet! I’m worried sick about XYZ. That means it’s not gonna happen. Let’s go rollerblading!”
It’s way more fun than punching yourself.
Check out a whole podcast episode on worry here. It’s called Fix Your Chit. My friend Lisa Diers and I drop a new one every Friday at 7am CST!
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