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Ask MetaFilter on Worrying
Matt Wood | Jan 14 2008
The thing I love about Ask MetaFilter is that it makes you feel like you're not alone. Just when you start thinking you're crazy for feeling a certain way, someone pops up with a question about the exact same thing. Over the weekend, a poor soul calling himself a "world class worrier" asked the hive mind how he could just let it go and find his inner Bobby McFerrin.
As always, the thread has a raft of helpful comments, but the best ones were along the lines of "when you realize you're worrying, tell yourself to knock it off." For all my character flaws, I pride myself in at least realizing when I'm being a jerk or obsessing over something I can't control, and whacking myself around the noggin until I knock it off.
I learned to get over this hump when I started keeping the books full-time for our small business. At first I always worried that I was doing something wrong, that I was going to forget to file some form or miss a bill. I finally threw up my hands and decided that I would do the best I could, and if it was wrong, someone would tell me and I'd fix it. That's all I could expect, and two years later (knock on wood), we haven't been audited yet. What that tells me is that as long as I give it the ol' college try, I can't possibly be the worst accountant on the block, and that's probably good enough.
Self-awareness always opens an escape route away from trouble, either via recognizing unproductive, faulty thinking (see above), or not painting yourself into a corner by overestimating your abilities. Understanding and accepting your limitations, whether it's a time constraint, dearth of resources, or a simple lack of experience, is as much an antidote to worry as the more conventional ones like meditation or positive thinking offered up in that thread.
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