My mode of operandi is worry, but I am blissfully unaware of it. I use worry as a way to move through life. If I can determine every worst case scenario given a particular circumstance, I can move forward.

What a limiting way to live, right?! But it’s how I “survive” or at least that is how it feels. I need to survive in a world that is scary and unknown. I present very assured and often feel confident, but then there is that low level of (and sometimes high level) worry and genuine concern for the world we live in and issues I deal with personally. I’ve started to see how worry has been what actually leads me and I had no idea except I started to see how my life was a mirror of what I was putting out there. If I can’t see all of the circumstances that may happen I don’t want to do it and that line of thinking paints you into a pretty tight corner.

I stopped enjoying travel because if I have to fly, the plane could go down.

I don’t want to meet new people because then they’ll see my flaws.

I don’t want to try anything new with my business because who am I to think I’m capable.

I know all the positive reinforcements that can be applied here, but my worry and anxiety can sometimes supercede anything “rational” and there is nothing more annoying than someone trying to make you feel better when “worry” has been such a loyal friend.

Recently, I was in Target shopping for groceries and clothes and office supplies. Target really sucks you in, doesn’t it?!  While shopping, I saw a guy I thought looked suspicious and thought about 101 ways to flee the store in case something went down. Even writing this is bizarre to me, but it how I can exist in a world that seems scary and out of my control. The guy was just picking up toothpaste for God’s sake.

Worry affects every aspect of my life including a sense of stability around money, receiving it through my work, feeling like I’m “not good with it”, feeling like I can’t get ahead financially. There are some real economic issues that I can go into and for me they have real value: cost of living in an expensive city, saving when student loans are abhorrent, a desire to buy a home when I have a business to consider. These are real causes for worry for me, but is there more to this/my story?

If you look up the etymology of prosperity, its origin comes back to “being well”. How can one worry and be well? Can the two reside in the same space without diluting the other?

I tend to take risks, but as I get older and jump into a new adventure, I then worry about it. When I was younger, I wouldn’t worry after taking the leap. I just want to say to myself, “Either worry or be well, but don’t do both!” I think a change of thinking or letting go of worry can be helped when you pray, exercise, meditate and allow. When I make this a practice, it does help.

I am remembering to let go of what I felt I needed to do to “survive” and when I remember to do so, I can stop myself from worrying by talking things out with someone I trust and really just stopping myself from going down the dark alley that is sometimes my mind.

I have found when I don’t give myself any other option but “being well”, the pleasant hour turns into a good day which turns into a great week. Do circumstances (high cost of living, climate change, systemic racism, breakups, bigotry) change because I lead with joy instead of worry? *shrugs* What I do know is joy goes a long way to put me into action in order to be a part of the change we see in the world and what we experience in our personal lives. I don’t give myself any other option, but joy…when I can!

Here’s to being normal in Target and traveling with glee!! Wish me luck. *wink*

By Ebonni Bryant