I have walked through worry my entire life. Waded in it actually. Knee deep. As a child, worry was my default state of being. It’s a hard way to be. Cautious, protective. It takes an enormous amount of energy. As I grew older, I learned to detach myself a bit from my worries. I was able to compartmentalize a little better so that it didn’t fill my whole day, rather just the awake-at-3-am times. And then I had kids. They inherited my creativity, my love of books, my quiet reflective side, and my worry. The one thing I hoped they wouldn’t get from me, and there it was. The worry that I had (mostly) buried in my childhood and my twenties, was staring back at me. It was in these darling little ones who worried about every bump and scratch. It was in my daughter who would ask a hundred times if I was going to pick her up from daycare, even though the response was always the same, and I had NEVER forgotten. It was in my son, who worried about the sound of the wind, and the rain. Worry was back, and I was going to win, once and for all. I had a degree in social work, I had worked with kids my whole life, there wasn’t a thing these two could worry about that I hadn’t worried about already. I armoured up with copies of every ‘Scaredy Squirrel’ book ever made. I talked. I reassured. I checked for monsters under the bed and in the closet, behind the door and behind the pillows. I had a runway of night lights all the way down the hall. And still these little people worried. And I worried about their worry. What I came to realize in all of this, is that the harder I tried to banish worry, the more it moved in and made itself comfortable. Worry was here to stay and we’d better learn to deal. And worry is okay. I come from a long line of worriers. My ancestors probably survived because they were too worried to eat strange berries in the bush. Worry serves a purpose. It protects us and keeps us from making rash decisions. So rather than view worry as something to be banished by a thousand night lights, we took a different approach. We accepted worry for what it was. We greeted it like an old acquaintance. We let it sit for a bit. We talked about it. We learned to problem-solve through it. We learned to breathe. And now, when worry pops up, we don’t run. We walk. We walk beside it, we walk through it. This has taken the power away from the worry. Join us on April 27th, and we’ll talk about Walking Through Worry. You’ll make and leave with a Worry Kit containing tried-and-true strategies and hands-on tools. Use them with your own little ones, and maybe even help yourself get through some rough 3 in-the-mornings.
Joy Chaser, Worrier (yes, you can be both!)