Worry is a powerful driver of action. It seems to be effective at narrowing the scope of an individual’s ability to observe, think, and act. When one person is anxiously worried about another, their mind’s tendency to negatively spiral down to worst case scenarios is seldom controllable. The more time they spend negatively visualizing all the possible outcomes their apprehensions hint at, the more likely they are to allow those apprehensions to guide their actions.
This article is about your reactions to the actions others perform out of worry for you.
You’ll experience people who love you being fooled by the potential of a worst case scenario. They’ll take drastic actions out of worry for you. They’ll leave you with missed calls, they’ll show up where you don’t want them being, and they’ll talk to people you don’t want them talking to. They’ll ask you the same questions numerous times just to be sure, and they’ll advise you based on their worries for you.
Handling your reactions to scenarios such as these is important in your maintenance of relationships with the individuals who worry for you as well as those watching from the side.
Paralyzing Those Who Worry Rather Than Eliminating Worry at Its Roots
Others’ feelings of worry for your well being / safety are rooted in their love for you. Worrying for someone else’s well being / safety is difficult to do when you don’t possess some sort of admiration for them. That admiration can assume various shapes and forms, but its tendency to induce worry is similar across all its forms.
A mother worries if a child takes too long to make it home from school, and a wife worries about a husband on deployment in an active warzone. Worry has a special trait in that it can spiral into panic with an ease which outpaces logic.
As someone goes to take action in the face of worry, their hope would be to either:
- Impact the situation they worry about
- Place themselves at ease with their interpretation of the situation
If actions stemming from worry are difficult to resist from performing, then their irresistible nature may be a clue which points at action being necessary to relieve the pain of worry.
The necessity of action in the face of worry as a calming agent should garner your respect. Understand that those who act out on their worries not only do it out of their love for you, they do it to put themselves at ease.
Your negative reception in the face of someone’s worries for you (out of embarrassment or a desire to appear strong) will entrap those who worry for you. They’d be punished for feeling and doing things out of the kindness of their heart and their love for you. At a profound level, your negative reaction will not make sense in the spectrum of reasonable responses to someone’s worries.
You’ll not only punish someone for attempting to ease their own pain which stems from their love for you, you’ll also put up an unneeded barrier for the future. The barrier you put up in the form of a negative reaction to someone’s worries for you will prevent those who love you from easing their pain of worry by acting on it.
A Positive Reception to Our Worries Makes Us Worry Less Next Time
You’ll perform your act of scolding your significant other or parent due to a desire to curb that behavior. Though your negative reaction may in fact curb future showings of their behavior, you wouldn’t tackle worry at its source. Your negative reactions will not suppress others’ worries for you, your reactions will merely mute them.
The worries at the root of unfavorable actions will still be there after you’ve scolded your loved ones for worrying for you. Though you may not see those worries play themselves out into actions, their effects will be felt. You’ll force your loved ones to bask in their worries alone, and their anxiety filled state will spill over to other communications you have with them.
A favorable reaction to someone who’s legitimately worried for you will show that you’re on the same page as them regarding their concerns.
When we know someone understands our concerns for them, we place a certain trust in their judgment going forward.
For example, if your friend drives you to work, it’ll be comforting for you to hear them share the same worries about unsafe driving as you do. In hearing them complain about unsafe drivers, your potential concerns for being transported to work safely will be placed at ease.
Counter-intuitively, your positive reception to – and agreement with – those who worry about you will serve to curb their worries at the root. Rather than being confrontational and rigid in your attempts to curb someone’s worries only for them to continue worrying about you, tackle the habit in a wholesome and effective manner.
Outsiders Will Empathize With Those Who Worry, and Cringe at Those Who Scold Them
Being subjected to a worrying family member or partner in public can lead to feelings of embarrassment. “Can you check your bag to be sure you didn’t forget your passport?” is a question which often elicits an emotional response from one’s partner at the airport.
The recipients of others’ worries feel a sense of embarrassment and vulnerability when others worry about them. Their positive reception to others’ worries will depend on acknowledging their potential fragility in the situation at hand. Others’ worries thereby label you to have a potential vulnerability that could be pried open and exploited.
As these feelings of vulnerability rise within you, observing third parties will often take the side of those who worry for you. People with no stake in the matter will not care about your vulnerabilities as much as you do. Those vulnerabilities will already be established as soon as they hear your close friend or family member worry for you.
From here on, a negative reaction to that worry will only serve to confirm the truth behind that worry. You’d communicate that you don’t actually have a sense of grounded control over the variables someone else worries about. If a worry doesn’t carry with it authenticity, then there is no reason to brashly try to kill it.