Another major cause for worry is when we constantly try to conform to another’s opinion of us. The funny thing is that while we are worried about others’ opinions of us, they are worried about our opinion of them! Society conditions us to worry about others’ opinions all the time. That is the problem. When you are worried about what other people think, you unconsciously weaken your efforts in whatever it is you are doing. You divert a major part of your energy toward suffering and worry.
Why do you worry about others’ appreciation?
Don’t bother. Just do anything totally and to the best of your ability. Leave it at that, that’s all. Only then will what you do be the best that you are capable of. In the end, you are your only stronghold. You should be clear from the beginning that you are your only stronghold. Then there is no need to worry about what others think of you. If you observe closely, you will see that goals always create worry in us. When we move toward any goal, we move only with the worry about the results.
Krishna, an enlightened master from ancient India, beautifully says in the ancient Indian scripture, the Bhagavad Gita*, ‘The person who does not expect gain or loss from anything works happily with no need even for motivation.’ When you are worried about the results, the very worry affects the results. Because when you worry, your doing is affected. Work should always be done out of inspiration, never out of worry. The motivation for any work should be inspiration, not worry. Inspiration is an overflowing energy that expands your capacity to do things. It is completely energizing. Worry, on the other hand, is something that shrinks your capacity. It limits what you are capable of really doing because it takes away your energy.
When you work out of worry, you are always bothered about the results. When you work out of inspiration, you are not bothered about the results. You are bothered only about doing the task to the fullest. Any task done with the energy of inspiration always turns out good results. Even if it doesn’t give the expected results, you won’t feel bad about it because you have received fulfillment simply by doing it. The ‘doing’ itself will fulfill you.
In today’s world, everything is measured by productivity. Even in that context you see right away that worry is a waste of time. It is the most non-productive activity. The problem is that today’s world is so highly competitive. Everyone feels compelled to achieve. Everyone wants to be first. Everyone is worried that they might be last. Tell me, so what if you are last? Someone has to be last! You should worry only if you did not give it your best. If you gave your best, then there is nothing to feel bad about. In fact, if you can feel neutral about being last, you have achieved a much bigger thing than finishing in the first place. It is not a sign of failure, it is a sign of success at a different level.
When you live without expectation, you are already fulfilled. There is no space for worry or discontent to thrive. When you don’t have worry, you see things as they are. You don’t worry about what might be or might not be. Worry exists only if you give it space. The space for worry is the past or future. The present doesn’t hold any space for it. When you allow the mind to wander to the past or future, worry gets created. It includes what is and what is not, based on past experiences and future expectations. For example, if your friend loses his job, you worry about what might happen to your job. Why worry about that now? You already have a hundred other worries about your job. Then why add the hundred and first worry, about losing the job, when it has not even happened? That is the space in which we should never allow worry to reside. We always worry about what is happening and what might happen, also! The boy might not have even thought about putting beans up his nose! Now his mother has planted the idea in him. Worry infuses life into many things that never existed in the first place. Now, when the boy puts the beans in his nose, her worry turns out to be true! She concludes that her worries were always right.
If you find yourself overloaded, at least remember this, it is your own doing, not god’s. He begs you to leave the future to Him, and concern yourself only with the present. When you take care of this moment alone, you enjoy the moment. You create a blissful future, because every moment takes birth only from the previous moment. When you are in the moment, you don’t think, you only do. It is only when you think that you start creating worries.
Worry needs space to think and time to move. Space is your mind and time is the idea that you have of the future and past.
Understand one thing, only those who are weak worry a lot. They feel so helpless that they hold tightly onto worry as their hope. Worry can never be hope. Worry is only like a hammock. It goes back and forth; nothing comes out of it.
When you stop worrying, you make correct decisions. There are some people who come to me asking me to make decisions for them. They see outside circumstances as the cause of their troubles. They use these influences as their reason for poor decision-making and see me as an influence in making any new decisions correctly. Sometimes they blame their parents for not educating them properly, for the lack of correct exposure, etc. Your parents did what they felt was right. Feel grateful to them for what they did. They might not have educated you in the right way, but they may have given you many other virtues that made you a good human being. So see the whole and move on. You only have the present under your control, so why waste time living in the past?
In the same way, the future is completely open. Anything can happen in the future. You can make the best happen. It is in your hands.
It is only when you think of the past and worry about the future that you make the future a replication of the past. Otherwise the future is completely open. Just through your worry, you end up making the same mistakes in the future also.
If you look into worries, you will observe that they arise out of deep ignorance of the truth that Existence is running the whole show. If you look, you will see that all worries are mere illusion. You can understand this by observing what happens at the time of death. When you are alive, you may have one hundred worries, but suppose you are dying. At that moment, how many worries do you think will dominate you the way they did earlier? Surely only one worry will be foremost – that you are going to die. None of the earlier worries will exert any great influence. All the outer world situations remain the same, but still the worries disappear! Only loving thoughts remain for the people around you who are dear to you. How is this possible? It is possible only because your worries were never a part of you in the first place. They were merely a part of your mind. They were nothing solid. If they were solid, they would definitely exert some amount of influence over you at the time of your death as well.
The nature of worry is such that it always goes behind something that is not present. If you have wealth, it will go after relationships. If you have relationships, it will go after education. If you have education it will go after good looks. If everything is present, it will suspect what IS!
Worry is always trained to see the black spot on the white wall! That is the problem. Not only that, even our seemingly solid worries can easily be proven to be illusory. In reality if we track our worries, we will not be able to find any truth in them! That is the truth.