Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. – Swedish Proverb
What does that mean?
This quote is, in case you hadn’t figured it out yet, about worry and the troubles which can come from it. It is one of the smallest forms of fear.
Small things can often have disproportionately large shadows. Shadows are, in this quote, representative of all the scary things in our lives.
But most of the actual things we fear are really small things. Small things which appear larger than they actually are, due to the size of their shadow.
If we can learn to manage our worry, our fear, our trepidation, we can better face these small things and their oversized shadows.
Why is letting go of worry important?
What does worry do for you? Medically, it can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), short fuses (making someone more prone to anger), and, in sever and ongoing cases, ulcers (stomach making so much acid, it damages itself). And that doesn’t include the strain on relationships and the ability to work.
The more you worry, the less you can do with what is left of your time. That is, your effectiveness is lessened. So not only do you lose the time spent worrying, you also lose a portion of the rest of your time. Time with family, time with friends, time at work, everything is diminished.
Worry does nothing good for you, as by definition, it is about things over which you have no control. What will your boss say about your report? You handed it in already, nothing you can do about it now. Gave your friend a present, but will they like it? You already purchased and wrapped it. Nothing worry will do now.
Yet so many people worry. And it’s about things they cannot change. Often it’s about things which are really small things, but they have spent so much time worrying about it, they are certain it is something huge and worrisome. But still, there is nothing they can do to change it. Let go of the worry and be free.
Where can I apply this in my life?
It’s easy to worry about things, and as you have more things, you tend to worry more. If you have a nice car, you’re worried about a scratch or other minor damage occurring. But what will happen? Will it be the end of your life? Yes, your pride and joy may not be as shiny, but so what?
In time a scratch or dent will come to every car at some point in time. You are worrying about something which will happen. There is no question of it. Unless you hire a guard to stand by it and scare people away, or lock it away in a museum, it will happen. So what good has your worrying done you?
Hopefully you can see how pointless worry is. Yes, there are things completely outside our control and even outside our influence. And some of these things can have an impact on our lives. But what good does worrying do? Not a lot. It takes time, energy and distracts you from other important things in life.
Instead, wouldn’t it be better to place your time and effort into determining what you can do to minimize the impact or damage which could occur, and then get on with your life. You’ve done what you could, so stop worrying about what you cannot do, right? Take a deep breath and let go of it.
Yes, it can come back quickly, and at first your power to banish worry will be a bit small compared to the power of worry. But that’s because you have spend most of your life building the strength of your worry habit. It will take a while to wear it down, and to build the strength of letting go.
What are you presently worried about? Your popularity? Your looks? Your reputation? Are you worried about the shadow of something else small in your life? Think for a moment about the worst likely outcome. Ten years from now, will it really make a difference? Which dent in the car was the first? Or have you sold that car already?
We all worry about something at some time. It’s natural. But don’t make the shadows any more powerful than they already are. And how powerful is a shadow? That’s right, it’s powerless without the light or the small thing casting the shadow. And if you can face that small thing, you become the powerful one.
Don’t let worry ruin the joy in your life. Allow worry to alert you to the thought that something should be done, analyze the situation, take reasonable precautions, and get on with your life. Worry is a drain on our time, our energy, our health and even the very joy of life. Let it go.