Why our brains like to worry.....

I recently had to go to the dentist. I really love my dentist but I HATE going to the dentist. We have been at this same practice for 10 years. They know all of our children so well that they almost feel like family friends.

HGTV was on the tv and I when he walked in I joked that watching this all day must make for a lot of house projects for him. He laughed, but said "really we have it on all day because this is one of the only “safe” channels out there." I looked perplexed, so he then added – “you know even the cartoon channel isn’t safe and this one is becoming unsafe too. Every show now has two guys sitting on a coach holding hands – the token gay couple.”

I was so flabbergasted that I am ashamed to say that I didn’t even respond. Which makes me feel shame that I didn’t take the time to educate him how hurtful those words are.

But I did feel sad. Sad that this is what our LGBTQ community faces everywhere they go – even at the dentist – marginalized thinking which leads to marginalized treatment. Here was a man that we love and respect and had no idea he thought this way.

When my son first came out my mind would have gone straight to worry. Worry about all the possibilities how my son could get hurt. Worry that not even the dentist could be a safe place for him.

But worry is an indulging emotion that brings no returns. Worrying doesn’t help my son or myself.

Why does our brains try to convince us Worry is necessary?

Because we don’t like to feel helpless and there is a lot you feel helpless about especially when your child is LGBTQ.

So our brains worry to try to gain back some control. It tells us the story that worry is necessary because at least we are taking action.

This is a lie.

Erma Bombeck said it best - “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”

Worry appears to be necessary but I promise, it never changes the impact of the thing you are worrying about. Your brain will try to sell you that worry is necessary but this is a lie.

When my son came out I worried. I worried a lot and about everything. I was eating worry for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can imagine my indigestion and weight gain!

I felt like in order to be a good parent worry was necessary and important.

The result of all my worry was a disconnected, distracted, fearful mama. My parenting decisions were made from fear and worry, which made for a lot of parenting mistakes.

My worry wasn’t solving anything and in fact it was causing more problems.

Then one day my life changed when I was working with my coach and I was telling her about how I was so worried about something that my son might do.

She asked me “Why was I worried?” I didn’t understand her question. I didn’t believe there was any other way to feel about it. I thought it was a dumb question because it was pretty obvious why I should be worried.

Then she offered me one of my favorite questions– it changed my relationship with worry.

She asked my "how was my worrying helping my son?"

Asking myself that question made me realize worrying was the opposite of helping. In fact, it was hurting my ability to help him by taking away my energy and blocking my creativity from actually helping him.

I couldn’t give her one useful answer for why my worry was necessary. I finally saw worry for what it was. A joy stealer. A manipulator of my positive emotions.

I was making parenting decisions from fear which really resulted in me trying to manipulate and control his actions so I could feel less worry.

My worry was coming from my mindset of something had gone wrong and I needed to solve the problem.

I was wrong. I needed to stop wasting my energy about things that were out of my control and instead I needed to focus on what I could control - who I wanted to be in this story.

I was telling myself that if I worry then it might prevent him from making bad choices. I needed to own up to the fact that his choices weren’t creating all of my negative emotion, I was.

This is the moment when I got my power back and I realized worry is ALWAYS optional and never necessary.