Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why Worry?

Ever since I saw my first copy of Mad Magazine, I cannot forget the image of Alfred E. Neuman, the magazine’s mascot, famous for his motto “What, Me Worry?”  The magazine is a parody of whatever the editors want to expose, criticizing anyone from comic book characters to the actions of public figures, and satirizing the wars we’ve been involved in, cold or otherwise.  No matter how serious the issue, Alfred’s motto has never wavered.  And in my view, that’s a good thing.

My father was a worrier. He worried about every noise he heard coming from his car. Would there be enough money to pay bills? What if the back yard flooded in a rainstorm? He agonized over everything.

I must have inherited his propensity to worry. A friend pointed out to me that I often say “I’m worried that…” or “I’m concerned about…” It came so naturally I didn’t recognize it in myself. Another friend added “Mike, worry is interest paid on a debt that may never need to be repaid.

Wow!  That started me thinking. Was I really a worrier? The answer was so obvious, yet I couldn’t see it. I had a wonderful wife, great kids, a nice home, and a good job. What did I fear?  I tried to remember what had concerned me in the past and the eventual outcome of each situation. None of my significant worries ever came to pass. There really wasn’t anything worthy of complaint.

Then I read an article on the Law of Attraction. The basic premise is that “Like Attracts Like.” If I worry, I will attract more to worry about.  Really? Think about it. If we are happy we attract happy people to us. If we act sad and grouse about life, we attract other sad and miserable people. (Think about water cooler conversations at work.) Could there be something to the Law of Attraction?

Worried that my Dad worried too much (ha, ha), I thought of a clever tactic. One day as he was expressing his fear du jour, I asked him what he had been worried about one year ago that day. He couldn’t remember. I said “Dad, if you can’t remember what concerned you one year ago, it must not have turned out to be a big deal, so why worry? Just relax and enjoy life.”

Worry can lead to feelings of anxiety or even cause illness, often referred to as dis-ease. Do not agonize over problems involving money, love, health, or career. No amount of worry will help you solve these issues. It is much better to ignore those feelings and replace them with happiness. Bad things happen to everyone. No amount of worry can prevent them or solve them.

The answer to excessive worry is to develop a happy state of mind. For example, when someone agonizes over not having enough money, I suggest they take a dollar bill into a 99 Cent store and say “I can buy anything I want in here.” It changes their vibration from lack and want to one of abundance. With bad relationships I recommend concentrating on the qualities that attracted them to that person and the attributes they have come to love. If that doesn’t change their current relationship, I remind them that Like Attracts Like. Their new state of mind may help them attract someone who does meet their expectations. That’s how I attracted my wife.

As for me, I remember that all my previous worrying was a waste of time; it had no effect on the outcome. I just relax and enjoy life. And guess what - everything always turns out all right. That’s why my mantra is “What, me worry?”

 Originally published in Meta Arts Magazine, September, 2011.

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