What about when you’re no longer running around on the playground and you’re now an adult in adult world, and you and all the other adults are dealing with adult sized life situations?
It’s funny how whether you’re watching a kid choose to eat paste during recess or you’re watching a friend date a less than savoury character, we tend to have opinions and concerns on what others are doing. It’s very common for us to be caught up in what other people are doing and the choices that they’re making. Maybe it’s because we’re deflecting our own issues (rephrase: we’re doing this because we’re definitely deflecting our own issues) or maybe we are totally selfless and think it makes us better people to worry about others.
I have examples from friends, clients, family, and even myself at different points in time of preoccupation with the decisions of others. It’s as if we wait on bated breath, moment by moment, to see what everyone else will do next.
Because there’s always going to be someone who could be paying attention to their health more, or tending to their finances more responsibly, or being more present in the relationships in their lives.
So I’m here to make a stand that even when it comes from a space of genuine care, with the best placed intentions, this is not a power play. In fact it’s a power loss, for everyone involved.
Worrying about people doesn’t help them
When you worry about someone, typically you’re placing your emotional energy into something that you don’t have control over. So how does your worrying help move them forward?
It doesn’t elevate them or hold the space for them to grow. You’re actually limiting them and putting them in the box of whatever it is you fear for them. It’s almost a resignation of confidence in their ability to handle themselves and take responsibility for the circumstance they’ve created.
I know this might not make sense, or seem way easier said than done, because of attachments we have to certain people. Tell a parent not to worry about her child and she’ll likely laugh at you or tell you to stick it where the sun don’t shine. But I believe at the end of the day, we don’t want people worrying about us, because we know it doesn’t help us move past our challenges. So why would we impose that on other people?
You’re not taking care of yourself!
This is a nice segue into my next point. When we choose to take on the anxiety of whatever other people are doing, we’re depriving ourselves of the attention to work on our own areas of opportunity. If we spent half the time we use to obsess over other people’s choices and redirected that towards our own growth and development, imagine how much change and progress we could promote.
What if we just boomaranged all that energy back to you?! That love and care you have for someone else…applied directly to you! So moving forward when you make decisions, think of it like, “Is this like what I envision for Laura?” “Is this the type of thing that would add to Noah’s health?”
This lays the groundwork for true self love and opportunity to inspire others. That’s when we can really influence people to rise from their struggles – when we are the example of what’s possible rather than a source of fear, judgement, doubt and scarcity.
So next time you notice yourself worrying about what a friend or loved one is eating, buying, hanging out with or living in, mind your own beeswax and use it to make something awesome that everyone can benefit from and enjoy.