Reminiscing when I had to leave secondary school to pursue a higher degree, I was worried if I would pass UTME or be admitted to my institution of choice to study the course I wanted. Even after getting into the institution [though it wasn’t my choice] and studying so hard to graduate with good grades, the worry still continued. The questions were ‘Would I get a good job? Do I have all it takes to get my dream job? Would I fit in if I finally get the job?’ But hey, I lived to pass it and here we are now. So what’s the point stressing oneself about what has already been taken care of by the Master Planner Himself?
Sometimes it feels like the world is weighing one down, seems like the future holds nothing or the path that is being threaded upon leads nowhere. Though worrying about what the future holds is not wrong. But it’s a case of us wanting everything to be perfect in life; a perfect family, relationship, friend, job, etc. – everything going on smoothly and stress-free – but unfortunately, life isn’t as simple as ABC, it often throws obstacles our ways to deal with.
I could say that worrying began immediately when one could differentiate left from right; asking mom, ‘what for I’m having to school tomorrow? What cloth I’m I wearing on Christmas day or where are we visiting for vacation?’ Yet with all these, we were still able to grow and meet the tomorrow and even the future [as at then].
Having an uncertainty feeling about the future could be fear on its own. If you have experienced many bad things in life, it is normal to be fearful of them happening again, but you cannot see into the future or what it holds for you – and holding onto the thought of everything going wrong will only cause you pain. When going through situations like this, you could try these:
Ask yourself questions: Ask yourself real-life questions, ask yourself if the matter you’re bothered about is worth it. I do this often when I’m worried about some things and I just can’t explain it. I simply ask, ‘“babe is this worth thinking about?’ Then I get the answers in my head. So if I’m cool with the answers, at that point I know it’s not a problem. You could also give it time too. Imagine yourself in one week, one month, one year, or even one decade from today. And ask how much the current situation will matter to you then. Did you even know that what we typically worry us today will not matter next week? It won’t matter again, so just give it some time.
Write it out: Putting thoughts on paper works miracles for me. Trust me, whenever it seems my head is full and about to explode, my first port of call is offloading whatever I know is bothering me in my journal. When I’m too tired to even share it with someone, all I do is write it out. That gives me a clear perspective of the problem and how to overcome it. Writing it out is just a great way to ease the whole pressure and makes it less stressful. You could even tear the paper you used in writing the worries into pieces, it helps you to rest and get rid of them too.
Share your worries: Often times when I’m worried or bothered about where I’m going and it seems like everything is crumbling, I share my burden with some good friends. That just has the way of calming me down with some soothing words and that ease up everything I might be going through at that moment. There’s this idiom that says, ‘a problem shared is a problem solved’. When you share your worries with like minds, it helps lift the burden from your heart and gives you the insight to see the situation from another perspective. However, be careful who you share your worries with, some might just be curious to know what went bad with you.
Say no to negativity: Sometimes the only way to cease the negative thoughts flowing in your mind is to scream out NO! It doesn’t matter if you’re disturbing the person by your side as long you’re shutting up the worries clouding your mind. You could even do it mentally or move your lips without making a sound; you can actively occupy your mind with some pleasant thoughts or fun moments you’ve had. At times when some negative thoughts are building up in my mind about the future or worried about some personal things, one could see me shaking my head or murmuring some words to myself [maybe soliloquy] and it makes me feel better in the long run.
Pray: Really, this can’t be overemphasized. It’s just like an easy path to overcome any worries or negative thoughts one might be having. Most times when I’m too tired, I utter a word of prayer and I switch my thoughts into a prayer mood, tell everything to God; my fears, worries, deepest secrets, failures. Believe me, I feel better and assured whenever I do this. You don’t have to necessarily be on your knees to pray, you could do that anyhow and anywhere you feel you can.
No doubt, there would be bad times but when they come, the best person to encourage yourself is you! You can even picture yourself in the future you want to have, think about the goals you would have accomplished. Remind yourself the success you made in the past and the assurance that the future is bright. Encourage yourself, tell yourself – I will be fine.
I will leave you with this quote by Leon Brown, ‘The day you stop worrying will be the first day of your new life; anxiety takes you in circles, trust in yourself and become free’.
Though I’m yet to know why I wrote this long epistle but I’m sure someone somewhere needs this.