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Why We Worry All the Time

Wisdom for Life | 5:32


It's not an illustrious category to belong to, of course, but there are plenty of us at least we worry about work money being left illness disappointing over promising madness disgrace, just to start the list. We worry in the early hours, we worry on holiday, we worry at parties, and we worry all the time.

While we're trying to smile and seem normal to good people who depend on us, it can feel pretty unbearable at moments.

A standard approach when trying to assuage our blizzard of worries is to look at each intern and marshal sensible arguments against their probabilities. But it can at points also be helpful not to look at the specifics of every worry, and instead to consider the overall position that worry has come to occupy in our lives.

There is a hugely fascinating sentence on the topic. In an essay by the great English psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, the catastrophe you fear will happen, has in fact, already happened.

When we worry, we're naturally fixated on what will occur next. It's the future with its boundless possibilities for horror. That is the natural arena for exploration by our panicked thoughts. But in Winnicott unexpected thesis, something else is revealed. The disaster that we fear is going to unfold is actually behind us. There is a paradox here.

Why do we keep expecting something to happen? That's already happened? Why don't we better distinguish past from present? Winnicott answer is that it's in the nature of traumatic events from childhood not to be properly processed. And as a result, like the dead who've not been adequately buried and mourned, to start to haunt us indiscriminately in adulthood.

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