There is no doubt that we live in turbulent times. But, despite all the seriousness, we need to remind ourselves to let go now and again. Newt Scamander from the fictional world of Fantastic Beasts by J.K Rowling had a wonderful philosophy, “Worrying means you suffer twice”.
Worrying is, unfortunately, a part of life. The fight or flight instinct has been around since we were cave dwellers to aid in our survival. But if we worry too much, it can be detrimental.
People agonise over the smallest detail in their day to day lives. This can include: how other’s perceive us, how we look, or the wording of an email.
The world is a stage but living our lives in a constant performance is exhausting. In taking ourselves too seriously, we choose to always look for approval, and the fear of rejection prevents us from living our best lives. Therefore, we allow other people to become our judge, jury, and executioner.
Fear of ridicule causes us to overthink and the need for worthiness – pleasing, performing, and perfecting every action – consumes us.
To quote the author Tom Robins, “Life is too serious, to take that seriously.”
But here is the thing, you truly start living when you are not excessively worrying and overly concerned with every ‘what if’ scenario. You cannot plan your whole life out. What will happen will happen, and you do not have control over that.
Once you allow things to occur naturally, including the good and the bad, you will be surprised at how easy it is.
Stress and worry are not sustainable, and it is not a worthwhile way to deal with life’s challenges. Not being responsible for everything you do in life does not mean that you are irresponsible.
Whilst you busy yourself worrying over everything you need to sort out, you miss enjoying all those little, but significant, things that matter. All those moments of significance that can make you happy and fulfilled appear much brighter once you have the time and energy to focus on them. Worrying makes you miss out on connecting with people more deeply.
Imagine a world where everyone prioritised self-care and wellbeing first before stressing about the other things. A life where work did not take over every moment, and you left it at the door. A life where we had the time and energy to pursue hobbies, which were not hustling, and spend time with friends and family.
Here is the truth – things are nowhere near perfect, and true perfection is a false concept, I believe. The sky is not caving in on us. It is not, even though it feels that way sometimes.
Change happens gradually, but you are too busy stressing about everything else to notice or enjoy this process.
Get out of your head and enjoy being out of it.
Another truth: nobody is thinking about you or judging you as much as you are judging yourself. That extra weight you have put on, or that spot which has developed on your cheek, you will notice it before anyone else does. You will also scrutinise it more than anybody else. No matter how cool we try to appear, we are strange, weird, and imperfect. We are human.
Things can seem like a big deal from our little plot of existence. Everything happening in your life can come off as monumental, even if it is something so inconsequential. The universe is constantly growing, even if it is more nothingness than anything else. That expanse of nothingness can seem scary when you first think about it, but if you reframe it, that nothingness is instead full of potential.
Life is constantly changing and evolving. That is the only thing that is one hundred per cent consistent. Except for your actions, you do not control how life goes. Perhaps there is an invisible force out there pulling some strings, a deity or fate, or something else, but we do not have control of that either.
Taking life too seriously puts pressure on our shoulders. It can make life miserable, and no one wants that. You need to understand that failure is inevitable. No matter what we do, we will fail at something at some point. It is how we deal with that failure that makes us. We pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and carry on.
The point is to relax into the moment and enjoy life.
So, how do we do that? It is easier said than done.
Be conscious of what you tell yourself so you can start appreciating what you get to do. Prioritise the things you need to do in terms of needs and wants so that they do not appear so heavy on that to-do list. Ask yourself what is stressing you out and write it down or verbalise it, get it out of your head, and then dismiss them. Ask yourself whether it is that much of a big deal and whether you can break it down into simpler, easier to manage steps. Seek help from others or take a break and come back to it. Fresh eyes are better.
End that vicious cycle of overthinking. Add more humour to your life because what is life without love and laughter? Surround yourself with funny people, turn off the news and social media for a moment and watch a comedy. Seek out what makes you happy. And although it sucks, getting your blood pumping through exercise is proven to help your mood. Take a moment to dance without a care in the world, to let go and enjoy what life throws at you. Be okay to be vulnerable because that is another human trait.
No, things will not always be easy. That is just asking too much. But life is there to be lived.