I spent many years of my life trying to control different people and situations and worrying about the future. I came to realize I didn’t even know how to enjoy the small pleasures of life. Like many people, I was afraid to be happy since I could lose it one day, and I was constantly letting my worries ruin my joy.
I wish I would be able to surrender life completely, but I am not there yet. However, I am aware that it’s an ongoing process, and that old thinking patterns are difficult to change in one day.
Today I have stopped defining myself as a control freak. I accept there are things in life that I can’t control, no matter how hard I try. Spending my time worrying is very frustrating, and drains both my time and my energy.
Here’s what I know to be true today and what helped me cope with worrying about the future.
The Only Reality Is Now: How I Stopped Worrying about the Future
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.
– Alice Morse Earle
The only reality is now
I learned to live in the present moment, knowing that my past experiences are part of the story I am telling myself — filtered through my own lenses, expectations, and system of belief — while my future is an illusion created by my imagination, simply because it hasn’t happened yet.
That is valid for all of us, including you. Your future starts now, and your only reality is the fact that, at this very moment, you are reading this post.
Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.
– Eckhart Tolle
Time will tell
“Time will tell.” This very simple sentence has made miracles in my life. It was transformational. I’ve learned it from a former colleague at work. He was from Thailand. Each time I feared to not fail with critical projects or deadlines, I used to hear him saying: “Sara, we are not there yet. Time will tell.”
I cultivate optimism and trust the flow of life. I shift my focus from what could go wrong to what could go right. I embrace my future with the genuine curiosity of a child, and I choose to believe that something wonderful is waiting around the corner — that we live in a supportive universe where everything unfolds perfectly, and things happen for my highest good.
I might not always get what I want, but I know I always get what I need. I choose to believe we live in an intelligent universe, where everything unfolds perfectly. Sometimes in life, even the time needs time.
Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.
– Byron Katie
Most fears are nothing but illusions
Whenever I feared I would fail with anything, I let my mind create a scenario. My fear is nothing but a product of my imagination, an illusion that doesn’t exist. What makes it unreal? It hasn’t happened yet!
Due to The Work of Byron Katie, I now know how to question the validity of my thoughts. Here’s how it works:
Say my fear is related to aging: “I’m worried I will get sick once I grow old.”
That’s nothing but a thought, so I ask myself if getting sick once I get older is real. Is it? In fact, it is not. It’s nothing but a possibility, a “maybe.” As long I am not 100% convinced that it is true, it is not real.
The process of aging is inevitable, but getting sick is not. The truth is I might get sick, in the same way I might keep myself healthy. It all depends on how I take care of myself: mind, body, and soul.
I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.
– Mark Twain
Our words have power
“Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!” Does this sound familiar?
The words we speak and the thoughts we think have tremendous power. They are vibrant forms of energy and can shape the reality of our future.
What we fear, we attract. On an unconscious level, fear is a wish.
When I say “I don’t want to get sick,” my real desire is to be healthy.
When I say “I don’t want to be poor,” what I am wishing is to feel safe and financially abundant.
I learned to get mindful of my self-talk and avoid using negations. Instead of expressing what I don’t want, I first get clear on what I want, then I say it out loud, or only think it.
If I see life with negativity, fearing that bad things could happen to me, my actions will likely attract the very things I’m trying to avoid. I’ve stopped letting my mind play with me and stress me with unnecessary fears, worries, and concerns about things that haven’t happened yet. I nourish my mind with healthy thoughts, like this one:
Life loves me. All is well in my world, and I am safe.
– Louise Hay
And now, I would like to hear from you. How do you self-manage your worries about the future?