“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves.” Cheryl Strayed
Based on my internet research, this sentiment has many sources. I heard it recently, in the format above, from Cheryl Strayed. That said, it seems to me that this sentiment is found all over the place, and going way back in time. On hearing this from Strayed I immediately thought of three other variations among some of my favorite writings:
From Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata – “do not distress yourself with imaginings.”
From Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen recording written by Mary Schmich – “Don’t worry about the future, but know that worrying is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.”
From Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Whatever the source, there is great truth in this concept. This is not to say that some things worried about never occur. As a kid I worried that if I skipped a class in Catholic grade school I’d get caught and end up getting some “nun-ishment” in the principal’s office – I was right, once. But my odds for one of the things I worry about actually happening are, on reflection, lottery-like. My path in life is, thankfully, I guess, littered with worries of possibilities that never occurred. All of which points to the realization that I am good at worrying, but not particularly good at deciding what to worry about. Yet it occurs to me that there are no bragging rights associated with being good at worrying, and perhaps not even knowing what to worry about, because often, things just happen. (Don’t believe me? Read the bumper stickers.) This is a sentiment I think is best addressed in Luhrmann/Schmich’s work:
“The real troubles in life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, that kind that blindside you at 4:00 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Great! What the hell is going to happen this Tuesday at 4:00?