Stop worrying…

26 June 2020.

I was on leave last Wednesday, and my close friend sent me a message: “Enjoy your leave. And don’t worry about work.”

I looked at the message and wondered: Have I been worrying about work? Or did I display that I was worried about work? Perhaps my enthusiasm about certain part of my work and the eagerness to help some of my fellow colleagues show that I am constantly thinking about work.

Then I replied: I’ve past the stage that I no longer worry about work.

Indeed, my views have changed, especially these few year, and I have stopped worrying about work. In fact, I have stopped worrying about many things that I used to worry about.

I could have chosen to worry about the never-ending work that sometimes keep piling up.

I could have chosen to worry about the escalations from customers and how I was going to manage them.

I could have chosen to worry about how the management or colleagues feel about me and my quality of work.

I could have chosen to worry about the KPIs that have not been met.

I could have chosen to worry about dad’s mental condition at his age.

I could have chosen to worry about mom’s deteriorating self care capabilities and memories.

I could have chosen to worry about my loved ones’ well-being, whether they are physically with me or not.

I could have chosen to worry about all my close friends all over the world amidst this COVID19 pandemic.

I could have chosen to worry about the virus itself.

I could have chosen to worry about losing my job and not having enough savings.

I could have chosen to worry that tomorrow might never come for me.

Now here’s the key, I could have worried over many things, but tomorrow might never come for me!

And as I began on my spiritual journey, I learned through books and video clips that more than 70% of our worries never come true.

We are just over-worrying about something that may never happen and more importantly if that thing happens, we may not have control over it.

And so I choose to stop worrying…

Then the story of a couple came into my mind.

They are both very close to me and they are very much in love with each other, even till today.

The woman is one who couldn’t stop worrying about things that have not happened and may not even happened. And such worries caused her to feel stressful (that’s the word she uses it on herself).

More importantly is that those things that she was worried about were mostly uncontrollable.

Whenever she began to worry and felt stressed, she kept to herself and chose to be alone, not even sharing with her lover that she needed time of her own.

On the other hand, her lover, would then start to worry about her and attempted to check on her and questioned her on her change of behaviour.

He loved her very much, but he didn’t seem to realise that what she needed was her own time and space, for she felt that she was independent enough to take care of her own self.

Besides, she most probably was also trying to manage her own emotions, and to avoid any quarrel, she preferred to keep in silence.

But what she didn’t realise was that her silence was causing him more worries, and her change of behaviour of sometimes “missing in action” for a short period of time drove his thoughts crazy.

Then one day, he realised that there’s no use worrying for her as he could do nothing about it and he knew that if he pressed on trying to show more concern, they would end up with more unpleasant arguments that many a times were uncalled for.

So he took a step back and gave her more space, which didn’t work all the time, because they didn’t really have a good talk to really make things work for them.

Had both of them looked within and be more understanding towards each other, those arguments could have become loving moments where words become unnecessary but only love and care.

This couple is no longer together but they love each other very much still, and the man has learned that he has to let go of all the worries he has for her and allow her to be in any way she wishes to be.

He lowers his expectations in many aspects in their relationship and chooses to love her silently and unconditionally.

They have both matured in many ways, yet a person’s nature is hard habit to crack. So, there are still times when the man will feel disappointed with the lack of communication and attention in their relationship.

I have learned much from the story that they shared with me and with the books that I have read, I begin to stop worrying, especially for the unknown and uncontrollable.

It is always easier to tell the others not to worry, but practising it myself was an uphill task, for I need to accept that there are many things I am still attached to.

I had another lengthy chat with dad on his mental condition two days back.

As I shared with him how it hurts me to see him behaving restlessly and lost, I told him that I have stopped worrying about his condition, just like I have stopped worrying about mom’s dementia illness, for there is really nothing I can do to help them.

The only thing I can do is to shower them with love and allow them to be.

In my lifetime, I have had too many unnecessary worries in the past and one day, I just told myself that I shall stop worrying.

For whatever reasons, I am always inspired by Buddha’s journey to enlightenment and how he enlightened many people.

And everything I read his stories or watch movies about him, I am motivated to become more compassionate, detached, and be present.

I love the story about how he taught the children the art of eating oranges.

I love the story of how he accepts all positive and negative words about him with no judgement.

I love the story of how he never remembered how others treated him badly, but remembered the beautiful side of those people.

Recently, I just completed the Indian drama series of life of Buddha (of course with English subtitles) and was amazed at how well the show can express Buddha’s compassion towards mankind and his love for all the people was so strong that he was never in hatred.

I am glad that I have picked up a new skill that trains my patience and concentration. It allows me to be fully present with every stroke of the pencil and eraser on the sketch book.

My latest sketch was on my buddy, Tracy, who has moved to Hong Kong to take up a senior management position.

And it so happened that her birthday is going to be tomorrow.

As I posted the sketched portrait of her and tagged her, she commented that she loves it and is happy to receive a gift that no amount of money can buy.

I feel thankful.


Francis Lim

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