Don't Worry: Get Some Perspective

worryA video went viral last week that featured mom’s being interviewed about their respective parenting skills and then followed with the children being interviewed about their moms.

It was headlined as a tearjerker, so the results aren’t too surprising. The mother’s uniformly hoped they were doing a good job of parenting, and would seriously like to do better. Confidence and patience were some key traits that they wanted to boost. When the kids are interviewed, of course the results are a solid “my mom is the best!” type vibe, all smiles. No child mentioned anything they wish their mom would do differently. (But of course there were also no teenagers in the bunch who might have sassed things up a bit.)

While the video didn’t exactly bring us to tears as warned, there is a message here. What you think of yourself and your choices are often drastically different than how other people view you. Partly because other peeps are too busy thinking about themselves to worry about you, but also because you’re harder on yourself than anyone else could be (remember that Dove campaign?).

This isn’t a new concept. While most of us are well aware that we’re our own worst enemy half the time, we don’t always make good or flip that view on its head.

How hard is it to turn that worry into something proactive? Just do something about it. If you know you’re doing something wrong, do it differently. If you don’t know that you are, don’t worry so much.

We worry that we’re not doing enough at work and we worry about the pressure if we do. We analyze the tone of his voice when he says “bye” for hints of an ending, and when it’s not the end, we worry that we’re not pretty enough for him anyway. We worry about our lazy tendencies– that we’ll never get “there,” but that we’ll never stop wanting more when we get arrive. We worry about how a baby will monopolize our bodies and our lives, and we worry that we won’t have the chance to have one.

Worry is born in the imaginary hellish land where we are separated from people, no matter how close we stand. We play the very technical, very fun, “and then what?” game.

State your worry played out in its terrible glory (such as “I get dumped”), then ask yourself what would happen next…and keep going until it seems too dumb to continue. It takes about 10 seconds even if you’re really playing devil’s advocate. It’s an oversimplification of course, but it makes you think. In a good way.

Imagining what we could be doing better is often much worse than actually hearing the reality of what’s happening. Talking to people (if you can imagine) can clear things up pretty quickly.

Don’t wait to get picked to bare your soul on the next viral video to get a different view of your reality. Ask your kid (or a friend) what kind of mom/person you are, and then tell her all the ways she’s good so she won’t ever have to worry about it.

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