I’ve always been envious of the type of people who can truly “live in the moment”. I’m a worrier, when I eat, I worry I might get food poisoning, when I take Millie to the park, I worry she might fall and hit her head, When life is really good, I worry someone or something is going to happen and it’s going to turn my world upside down and I will need to rebuild my life all over again…. In short, I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. So the whole “live in the moment” motto just didn’t seem realistic, because my mind says to me “sure it’s good now, but be careful of what’s around the corner.”
If you are anything like me, you know it’s not a good feeling to always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wanted to know more about how I formed this pattern of thinking, so I read books and discussed this frequently with my therapist. I found out, at least in my case, it all comes down to the issue of fear and the need to have a sense of control. The reason I worry is a way for me to “predict” the future, so if I can think of the worst thing that could happen in my head (Fear), then I can mentally “prepare” myself to deal with the situation (Control). That way I will always have a plan and never feel like I’m being blindsided and lose my composure.
Fear is closely related to our past traumatic experiences. Three years ago, I lost my aunt to lung cancer, she was only 43 years old. She passed away almost exactly a year after her diagnosis. I was so devastated that I would sit on my bathroom floor and just bawl for hours and wonder how someone I love so much, so young and vibrant, could get such a severe and terminal illness. I already worry a lot as is, but ever since her passing, the irrational fear became so overpowering that I started worry about everyone in my family, including Millie. what if they get sick? what if I get sick? I couldn’t enjoy the fact that everyone else in the family is healthy, happy and thriving, because I was afraid the other shoe was going to drop, someone else was going to get sick.
Some of my fears are not always related to something as traumatic as the death of a loved one. But instead, they are related to dealing with mean spirited toxic people. I always count my blessings on how many amazing and genuinely good people that are in my life. but I’ve also dealt with some people who are so emotionally damaged, the only way they feel better about themselves is to hurt other people or see other people fail. These were the people who created drama and chaos in my life and in the lives of others around them as well. I might have decided to choose to understand where they were coming from, and then still cutting ties with them, yet the ugly truth is that the damage has already been done. After dealing with them, I always had the fear some crazy drama and excruciating heartache is waiting for me and I have to put my big girl pants on and deal with them. I couldn’t enjoy the happy moments with my friends, because I thought “will this last? will they be here next year? will we always be this happy?” Even though my true friends have been with me through thick and thin, I always have the irrational fear that it might not be the case tomorrow. Again that shoe might drop whether I like it or not.
But friends, do you know when I decided that I’m done with living in fear and full of worries? it’s when I realized one silly detail — in waiting and fearing for the other shoe to drop, I NEVER really have control over WHEN or IF that shoe is actually going to drop. Natural disasters, illnesses, a friend or a stranger’s actions and emotional baggages….I have absolutely NO control over those things, NOTTA, ZIP, NONE! So I was constantly looking to control something that I will never gain control over, the less control I have over it, the more I feel like I need to find that sense of control… it’s a vicious cycle that never ends. Not until I forced myself to stop being that hamster on a wheel, and started writing down the things I actually have control over.
What do I have control over? I have contorl over how I choose to live my life, my own actions, my own way of thinking, how I treat others, how I respond to negative people and events, most importantly I HAVE CONTROL OVER MY CHOICES! and that is powerful, it doesn’t mean that bad and sad things won’t ever happen again, it just means that I have the power to choose to let go of the things that are beyond my control, and enjoy the joyous moments when I’m in them. And when and if that other shoe does decide to drop, I have control over my choice to respond the way I see fit for my own emotional well-being. A catastrophic event or a toxic person does not define me and cannot take away the power of choice that lies within me.
I still worry about the small things, I’m a mom and a deeply empathetic person, so I will always worry. But I no longer live in the perpetual vicious loop of worrying when the other shoe is going to drop, because I now know and own my power of choice. It’s not my burden or responsibility to worry if that shoe is going to drop. But when that shoe does drop, you bet your ass I will be putting on that Jimmy Choo stiletto that just dropped and walk 1000 miles in them with my head held high!
I hope my journey of dealing with fear and control helps you with whatever you are going through at the moment! Thank you so much for reading and spending time with me!