Today’s Food & Love Hack is about decreasing the amount of negativity swimming around in our brains by embracing and loving it.
Love your worry. Say ”thank you for trying to protect me” to all of your anxious thoughts.
Why should we do this?
We should do this because the thing about worry– the thing about uncertainty, and about self-consciousness, and about anxiety and pain virtually all of our worried, stressed-out behavior– is that it is doing it’s absolute best to protect us from a world we think is scary. We have been hurt in the past. And we know how tough that is. We know how hurtful it is to be betrayed, insulted, lost. In order to avoid these things, therefore, and in order to maximize how much people are going to be impressed by or love us, we worry the shit out of our lives.
This relates very much to the Food & Love Hack from last week. In that post, I discussed how I believe it is fear of rejection that compels the majority of our negative behavior. Unfortunately, however, all of us are afraid. This means that the world in which we live is in fact the vast majority of the time a matrix of fearful, defensive souls. That’s heartbreaking. How do we get out of that vicious cycle? I believe that one of the most powerful ways of transforming our lives (and our world) is by stepping up to be the first person to actively affirm others. We want the world to be a safe and loving place, right? So why not start right now, and be the agent of change? Why not give love, and watch our interactions be transformed, right before our eyes?
The way in which today’s post relates is that it is about the exact same fearful matrix. Say you are walking down the street right now. And you think: “Does that stranger think I’m beautiful? What if my boss doesn’t like my clothes? Am I going to be too fat to fit into my jeans tonight?” Each of these anxieties comes from fear. That’s what worry is: fear. And what we fear most is a denial of love. We are so desperate for love, and so afraid of being cheated of or denied any of it, that we often live in a constant stream of worrisome or self-conscious thoughts.
We have become worry worts!
This fact is both disconcerting and completely unnecessary. We can get past the worry.
There are a number of ways to do so, and last week’s post deals with it in one way. Another way that I believe is particularly powerful is today’s hack: giving love to our anxious thoughts.
Our anxiety, and our fear– they are there to protect us, as I said. So let’s say “thank you” to them. Let’s give them a hug.
Let us acknowledge that worry, fear, and self-consciousness come to us from places of hurt and rejection, and that they are doing their best to make us safe. Let us observe them float through our brains, and nod as they pass, and then continue on our way. “Yes, thank you for stopping by,” we might say. ”You are right, I do really want to get this job today. That is a valid concern, and I will think about it in a productive manner later. Thank you, I love you for trying to protect me.”
We could even think of our anxieties as bullies on the playground. Sure they might be harmful, but the way to mitigate the pain they cause is not to timidly let them rule us. Nor is it even to fight back. Instead, it is to love them. It is to have empathy. It is to create a safe space for everybody, and to sooth hurt by telling it everything is going to be all right.
So don’t hate on yourself for your worry. Don’t get angry at it. Don’t allow anxiety to continually pull you down in vicious circles of negative self-talk and increased negative self-talk. Just… acknowledge that your brain is doing its absolute best to give you a safe life. Sometimes it might seem like an enemy. But your end goals are the same. Love it, and maybe someday it’ll feel safe and will quiet down a little bit, and you can end up being partners. You and your brain– working together to walk peacefully in the world! What a lovely image, and a worthwhile goal. It’s a very real future, and this is a very real way to help you get there.
Think about all of your self-conscious thoughts. Think about where they came from, the places deep inside of you in which they live, and how they affect your day to day life. Acknowledge that they come from places of hurt in your life, and that they are now in place to try and protect you. And as they come up, say, “Yes, thank you, that is a worthwhile thought. Thank you for trying to protect me. I am going to continue to live my day with my chin up, and with as little fear as possible.”
And in loving all of yourself– in loving your hurt and your worry along with your triumphs and your joys– you are even further down the path of being so in love and so in harmony with your self than you already are.
*More love and gratitude for love rockstar Lex Covucci on this one.