What if I quit my job (that I hate so much) and can’t figure out a new way to make money?
What if a go scuba diving and am attacked by a shark?
What if I confront my partner and she leaves me?
What if, what if, what if, what if — so goes our inner dialogue, unfortunately mostly based on what could go wrong and not on what could go right.
Our decision-making process is oftentimes more based on fear of what could happen, instead of a factual assessment of possibilities (and opportunities). And so we go choosing options that mitigate risks and play safe, instead of the joy that they might bring.
Sure we can connect to the possible positive changes that the scenarios above could bring into our lives. But there is another subtlety here.
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Leo F. Buscaglia
On one hand, there is worrying, and, on the other, there is caring. There’s a conceptual fine line between feelings of worrying and caring — yet their difference is staggering when it comes to what we feel, experience, and, most importantly, live.
Worrying implies a need for control, and control comes from fear. There’s something we need to do, or else shit hits the fan. Caring, on the other hand, is nurturing in its awareness.
If worrying is connected to fear, nervousness and anxiety, caring is an act of love.
We take care of what matters to us, and we care with alignment and joy. So yes, quitting our jobs without a plan involves risks, which we care about and act on — from a place of love, which is very different from worrying from a place of fear.
Risks exist, and we should not ignore them. But there’s a great difference between living based on risk avoidance and joy expansion and self-care.
Worry is tense, care is tender.
And this is an important difference, given that this is what we actually live through. Can you relate to this in your own being?
“Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.” William Shakespeare
Getting a bit more concrete
Worry brings a cage of what is ok, a rigidity about how we expect things to happen, how things should look like. When we over-control things, there’s no room for magic and the unexpected to come into our lives. Things become stiff and serious.
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere” Erma Bombeck
Now, how could I say to someone who is dead-scared of conflicts to just not care about what their beloveds might tell them? Or what about a person who wants more out of life but is stuck, worried that a shift might bring nothing but failure?
I would begin by asking them to shift from worrying to caring.
If worrying leads us to not walk forward out of fear, and makes us suffer terribly in anticipation and negative self-talk, caring invites us to take a good look at ourselves and our feelings, and consider how we can act to take care of ourselves and of what we love as we choose to keep growing.
It is not only about words — it is about what is behind the words. Many people say they care when in fact they worry sick. It is about what you experience, what you feel, and what you live, within yourself.
When we face a conflict with a loved one, caring is not an invitation to avoid it but rather an invitation to face the situation with calm and ease instead of anxiety — out of self-love.
The shift from worrying to caring is a change of tone of our inner dialogue, a change of where our attention goes to — so we can be more loving and nurturing.
“Truly caring people know they have to take care of themselves first.” Marty Rubin
Caring is compassionate. When we care but don’t worry we are soft with ourselves. If worrying takes us to go mental in our heads, over-plan, get attached, and not let that fear go, caring knows that we are not in full control of anything. We can do what is within our power with awareness and ease, and surrender the rest to other circumstances that are also playing in the picture.
The Big Picture Is in the Heart
There’s always a bigger picture. That’s why worrying is disconnected: it forgets about the interconnectedness of multiple factors that play at any second of our lives. It distrusts other people, nature, spirit, and love.
Trust brings patience, expanded love, and connection.
I’ve been living nomadically now for almost two years. When I left my city, I felt the place where I was living no longer felt like home. Out of caring so much for my happiness, and knowing there is more for me, I followed my heart in a search for a new place I can call home. Truth be told, I thought it was going to be a much easier process. At first, I didn’t think it would take me over six months. I have now found where I want to be, and know it will take me this year to get settled in this new place.
I care for my dreams and I am aware of my challenges. Because of that, I work on them with hope and tenderness — and not with anxiety and fear, for I choose to live a life of magic and love, and not a life of fear.
Until we recognize our ability to choose not only our actions but also where we live from and what matters to us, we make our souls and hearts hostage of our fears.
Do we choose to soften or tense up? What serves us best? That’s only up to us, and the stories we tell ourselves.
In such a mental and fear-based society, living from the heart requires a touch of self-mastery.
“From caring comes courage.” Lao Tzu
Worrying shuts us down — caring helps us to expand our hearts. When we get carried away by worry and make decisions from this space, we disconnect from our hearts directly. That’s how we accept less than we can have out of fear of not fulfilling our hearts, and we hurt ourselves in stress. Even worse, we already start suffering right there, in anticipation.
What you fear, you create.
Caring is an Act of Love
If worrying leads one to be anxiously on top of something, love, and care know when they are to back off. Love is an energy of nourishment, and nourishment needs to know when it is enough. Too much food, obesity. Overwater a plant, and it might harm it as much as giving it no water at all. Love is spaciousness, not rigidity.
“Nurturing is not complex. It’s simply being tuned in to the thing or person before you and offering small gestures toward what it needs at that time.” Mary Anne Radmacher
Instead of worrying, I invite you to breathe in into your heart and reconnect to that whisper of what you love. Breathe deeper than ever before, and remember who you are, and the life you want to live.
Transform your worry into awareness, as an acknowledgment of what needs to be taken care of, from a place of love of what you are caring for. This is a much more loving life.
To care but not to worry. This is an exercise in awareness, presence, connection, and alignment. To keep holding love and peace within. To act from the heart, and not from fear.
“When you stop caring what people think, you lose your capacity for connection. When you’re defined by it, you lose your capacity for vulnerability.” Brene Brown
Now, how much can we care? Here again, is the fine line that invites us to have discernment between what it means to worry and what it means to care.
Care as long as it is genuine loving care; when it becomes anxious and fearsome, then it has turned into worry.
Clearing out Illusions
When you catch yourself worrying about something, try asking yourself if what you are worried about is a real fear, and if fearing is the most beneficial and empowering approach for you.
Instincts are there to protect us from real situations, and there is a big difference between having a predator running after you and modern-time anxieties.
“Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.” Robert Eliot
There isn’t enough time, I cannot do this or that, What will people think, I can’t handle all these feelings so I will just not think about it. Most of what we fear is not real but mentally created fear.
Anything we can change with our minds is not real, but an illusion. That is what we call a mental construct.
If nothing is settled and everything is a mental construct, why choose a perspective that is disempowering? Find a more empowering and loving way to talk to yourself. That’s the first shift.
Our feelings, be they worry or caring, are the results of the belief system we carry in our minds. The blueprints we carry from our parents, education, society, you name it.
Do you believe it is all doomed, or can you see and act with love and ease? It’s about perspective and mindset. It is about where you act from. A classic example is the difference between taking environmentally sustainable actions for loving and feeling connected to fellow humans and nature, versus taking the same actions out of despair for world collapse.
We are taking exactly the same actions, but experiencing something completely different.
Love cares, love nurtures, and the immensity of love knows there’s nothing to worry about. When we don’t experience that, we are already disconnected.
Yet, there are plenty of things to take care of — with ease, with presence, with lightness. In awareness of what is needed. We take care of what is precious to us, with joy. And, we can care with all of our hearts, doing everything we can, with love.
Care. Allow yourself to love.
Take a look at what you could do now to be more fulfilled. Are you taking good care of yourself, or are you worrying a bit too much?
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” Dalai Lama XIV
Connect to Your Heart
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