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In Your Relationships, Worry is not Love


Yesterday was a day full of insight and contradiction. I got a text from a friend who had apparently reached out to me a number of times without getting a response. She said, “I haven’t heard back and I’m worried.”

I get it. She felt there might be something wrong. Actually, I was at a Hanukkah celebration and then at a healing circle for a dear one. My friend’s text brought up an experience of old that had a profound influence on me.

Several decades ago, I had just gone through a really bad divorce, leaving me with a huge debt, big monthly bills, two children to care for, and all this at the beginning of a serious recession. I was working my way through it (one step at a time), when one day I got a call from a dear old friend.

She said in a tone of deep concern, “We are ALL really worried about you!

Wow! I had such a visceral reaction to this that I can remember the sensations to this day. It really brought me down. “Oh no,” I thought, “everyone is worrying about me. They don’t think I can handle this.”

That comment, as well-meaning as it was, did nothing for me. It didn’t offer me anything but more difficulty or uncertainty to deal with. Unlike another girlfriend, who quietly put $10 of gas in my car when we stopped at a gas station, this friend was actually unwittingly passing on doubts and fears.

Doubts and fears don’t help. Ever!

Love is what I needed. Love and the belief and certainty that I would be able to deal with what was happening to me. And, of course, practical support where possible; someone to listen to me without making comments; someone to help me hear myself and figure out what the next steps needed to be; someone who was convinced that it is not what happens to you, but how you handle what happens to you that counts.

Yesterday at the healing circle, I experienced just that. A beloved sister had a stroke and a brain tumor was found to be the cause. A circle of friends gathered to celebrate this beautiful warrior woman (and she was there too) on a Zoom call. We spoke of the kind of love and support we can offer each other to help illuminate our ways. We shared wonderful stories about our inspiring and courageous friend and reveled in the love we could all share with each other. There was sustenance for all in those loving exchanges and a true understanding of what is real and what is important.

So in our relationships, let’s offer practical support and thoughts that will energize and uplift. In these strange and uncertain times, that is what we all need from each other.

The sentence should go “I’m not worried about you, because I know you’ll be fine!”

Leave comments at the bottom of the blog by clicking here, and you can listen to it here.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner

BookshelfIn this week's blog, we wrote about why worrying about someone else does not help them. Here are some articles that tell you why.

Why Worrying Isn't a Sign of Love "For my friend and millions of people like her, worry is a sign of love. It says that, even though I am okay, I am selfless enough to suffer vicariously for you. And isn't that the definition of love? Wouldn't it be uncaring not to feel terrible for others, given what some people have to deal with? At the risk of giving worriers everywhere nothing to do, the answer is no."

Worry and Guilt: The Useless Emotions "Worry and guilt are opposite sides of a wooden nickel—two useless emotions facing different directions. Worry looks ahead, seeing threat and disaster at every turn. Guilt looks behind, imposing self-blame for perceived misfortunes and disappointments."

Worrying Vs. Caring: Do You Know The Difference? "Most people would say that worrying is pointless and a waste of time and energy. I submit to you that it is actually harmful. Here's why: Worry is fear-based. It is a projection of negative energy. Caring, on the other hand, is a projection of positive energy. When you care about situations or people, you're hopeful that things will get better. When you worry about them, you're afraid they won't."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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