Sunday, March 8, 2009

Most of the Worst Things That Ever Happened to Me, Never Happened


How many times in your life have you spent days or even months worrying about something that never happened? We tangle our minds in a web of "What Ifs". "What might she think" or "What might he do". This is the trap of placing expectations on the future.

The ego lures us into the future at the expense of the present moment. So not to be caught off guard and find ourselves in an embarrassing or weak position, we run through a myriad of possible scenarios, making sure we have all the bases covered. Since we can never know what truly will happen, we spend immense energy focused only on the possibilities. More often than not, these fantasies are far worse than what eventually comes to be.

Understanding that fear of what “might” happen, is just fear, frees us to just let the future take care of itself. Often, we even feel a sense of relief following the event, saying things like; “I’m glad “that” didn’t happen.” or "What was I so worried about?" These are experiences we can learn from.

The future is yet unwritten. For us to find peace we need to stay focused in the here and now. The energy we now spend planning, fretting and worrying can be used for so much more. Let us open to this moment and breathe in the beauty that is right in front of us. We can never really know if tomorrow will come, let alone what it will bring.

22 comments:

runzwithknives said...

I've never had the worst of what I thought would happen, happen to me.
Not only that but spending time on the what if's always puts us in a defensive position.

I'm still practicing...chop wood, carry water...

Shane at Environmental Health-Wellness-Beauty said...

Yes, but how do we just so easily let go of the worry? Especially when it is not just ourselves that we may be worrying about. I guess this si what Christianity espouses when it is said that we do not truly believe in God if we worry. So hard though. Thanks for another wonderful crumpet to munch on.

Hazelmarie 'Mattie' Elliott said...

The fear of something bad happening is most often worse than the reality of the situation. We, usually, have nothing to fear but fear itself. Unfortunately, it is human nature to feel trepidation at the slightest risk of failure or embarrassment.

And 'what if' something unwarranted does happen?
Well, I guess that is up for discussion.(smile) Fate, destiny, life's lessons...??? Life can be so very hard...

As always, I thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is a pleasure stopping by to visit you.

Have a wonderful week, my friend,
Mattie

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

We should never let fear win the day, it really is a waste of time. There is so much beauty in this world why fret over the ugly stuff. No matter how much we worry, no matter how much we fret, no matter...what will be, will be.

Everyday is the beginning of the rest of your life make the most of it.

LLnL said...

Beautiful words. I know that they are true but it is sometimes hard to do. I feel like the only answer is to meditate and be patient. I have stopped worrying less though my life is has more uncertainty than ever before, or at least that's how it feels to me.

Thank you for sharing your insights. I find it helpful.

Tess said...

This is so true. We could change the world with all of that spent energy on what ifs...

I think the more time we spend in prayer, mediatation and right mindedness the less we spend in what ifs

Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk said...

I try to follow the Traits of Stress-Hardy, Resilient People, especially the line, "The quality of our lives depends on how we focus our energy and our attention."

One of my mantras is "Centered, creative and constructive." I try to keep my values in mind and focus on what I want, not on what I don't want.

Kimberly Drever said...

I've given you an "award" for your awesome blog!

http://thejourneyofpassion.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-got-award-and-get-to-pass-it-on.html

Thanks for doing what you do!
Kim

Amanda Linehan said...

Even when the thing that I was afraid might happen, did happen. It was never as bad as the worrying about it! Our minds can really play tricks on us when we let fear have it's way. It's a wonder we ever do anything ;)

Yoli said...

Your words are very true.

klahanie said...

Hi Roger,
When I decided it was to time to move forward in a positve direction, something awesome and inspirational occured. I found my self-respect.
Indeed, I learnt to live my life with realistic positive anticpation rather than negative speculation.
The 'what if' and the 'if only' are in the past. It is better to live for this moment and make the most of it.
Thank you for this blog Roger.
I send you positive wishes.
Warm regards, Gary.

DESPERADO said...

we always remember more than we see and we always see more than we remember.
I have been and am obsessing about how things might have turned out if something played out the other way.Always playing out the alternatives in my mind with no gain whatsoever.
Never having time for the present.

David said...

Dear Roger,
I feel that I can only echo klahanie's comments. It is always best to live in the present, in the moment, if you can, and not get bogged down with either the mistakes of the past or trepidation for the future. In this way I think we can all find a little contentment and happiness.
Thankyou for your wise remarks. And I hope you will visit my blog again soon!
Yours with Warmest Regards,
David.

Brenda Lorene said...

It is true that our imaginations can play tricks on us and cause us to spend wasted moments contemplating those "what ifs." I must admit I do have an active imagination, but I try to keep it under control and be realistic about my worrisome issues. Some things are simply out of our control so I set those aside and work on the issues I can do something about. It seems to work well for me most times. Brenda

dcrelief said...

Hi Roger:
It is quite possible that had I read this article a week back... well, you know where I'm headed with this. lol.
Kind regards to you.
Dixie

Michael - Love to Spare said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom. This is my first time visiting your blog, and I like what I'm reading. Expect to see more of me.

Butternut Squash said...

Nicely put. Peace.

The Buddhist Conservative said...

Thanks to all for the great comments!

We can let the story become bigger than the reality causing us needless suffering.

May our worst fears remain just that, fears.

Namaste,
Roger

YogaforCynics said...

In my worst moments, I will sometimes completely freak out about things that actually will, in all likelihood, happen: deaths of loved ones, my own death, growing old (or dying still relatively young)...as well as countless disasters I can't name--some scenarios, certainly, are worse than others, but it's pretty definite that if I live many many more years, there will be many, many more hard times. So, knowing that, what can I do but make the best of now, as well as develop an attitude that simply accepts change and deals with whatever comes along....

Upon reading the title of your post, I also thought of a long estranged friend I had lunch with last week. I realized a while ago that a number of unpleasant things that "happened to me"--in terms of my being horribly abused by this friend, didn't actually happen--or, they the actual words and incidents did, but it was really more a matter of two unhappy people making each other miserable rather than one of them being unfairly treated....

Paul Maurice Martin said...

Important point and something that was underscored for me by the sudden onset fifteen years ago of a progressive disease completely beyond diagnosis, even at places like Johns Hopkins and NIH. No one on either side of my family had any kind of history with rare disease.

Worry serves no good purpose, while chances are excellent that the preponderance of major adversities as well as joys that will come one's way are beyond anticipation.

Robin Easton said...

I LOVE this whole insight. And have also found it to be completely true. What a wonderful reminder you give us all. Such a seemingly simple truth, and yet if we stop and REALLY let it in it can change our lives. Thank you!!

Chintan - चिन्तन said...

yes , it's true , most of the times we spent thinking about the worst but it will never happen . The best thing is to live in present as famous Kalidass quotes,
“Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence. The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty; For Yesterday is but a Dream, And To-morrow is only a Vision; But To-day well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!”