The Happiness Connection  

Worry won't change things

As I drove my dad to an appointment, he broached a subject on behalf of my mother. Knowing that I have a road trip coming up, they wanted confirmation that I have insurance to drive south of the border.

Without going into detail, I assured him that I had everything taken care of. He continued to stress the importance of being covered. I reminded him of my age and that I had been taking care of myself for a long time. 

He concluded by saying, parents never stop worrying about their children.

There was no arguing or emotion in our discussion, but his final words stuck with me. Are parents supposed to worry about their adult children? I don’t.

That isn’t to say I never worried about them. When they were young and learning about life, I had my concerns. It’s hard to watch your kids go through tough times without anticipating problems. 

As they grew into young adults, I surprised myself by how little I worried about them. My mom and many of my friends said they never really slept until their kids came home. I never had that problem.

I would check in the morning to make sure the car was in the driveway, but I was rested and refreshed when I did that. I used to wonder if this made me a bad mom. Did other people care about their offspring more than I did?

My father’s words brought these thoughts back to me. Why are they still worrying about me, and why don’t I worry about my kids?

I’ve taken time to reflect and this is what I’ve uncovered. 

I think it comes down to trust. 

Although my dad didn’t trigger any intense emotions, his words did get my attention. I remember thinking, don’t you believe I am smart enough to look after myself? Don’t you think I make good decisions like getting insurance for my health and my car?

It was as if they were seeing me as a naive child, rather than the mature woman I am. I felt mildly insulted, although I know that was not their intention.

I believe personal growth comes from having experiences that teach you to trust yourself and your ability to navigate the world. You learn as you go and hopefully you don’t make the same mistake twice.

I believe that successful parenting involves providing experiences for your children, so they learn to trust themselves and their ability to navigate the world. It is important for them to fail and fall, so they know they can get back up.

Along with this trust, they need to feel comfortable reaching out for support. Asking for help or advice should never be viewed as weakness. See mistakes as learning opportunities not failures.

Experiences also show you that the world is not the scary, horrible place news reports make it seem. There are a vast number of wonderful people everywhere.

Of course, there is bad in the world and terrible things happen. But will worrying about something that may or may not occur and that you have no control over, make any difference?

I believe the only way to learn to trust yourself, and to trust others, is through experience. By doing scary things, you learn you are a survivor. If you survive once, you can survive twice.

I have never taken an extended road trip by myself before. I’m not familiar with the route or towns I will pass through. I don’t know what it will be like. There are lots of things I could worry about, but I’m choosing not to go there. 

I am willing to trust that I will figure out whatever needs to be figured out. I’m not creating an outcome of how this adventure will unfold. I’m allowing it just to be whatever it turns out to be.

I have learned to trust myself. I believe there is more good in the world, than bad. 

Step out of your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before. Encourage your children to do the same. It doesn’t matter how it turns out. It’s about the experience, not the outcome.

It is through trust and letting go of control that you can begin to release worry.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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