Worrying is a negative emotion and is not synonymous with the feeling of love. We often equate worry with love and feel like if we love them then we must worry about them. But we cannot worry and love them at the same time. They are two separate emotions.

I heard the statement “worry does not equal love” a week or so ago and it’s been fluttering around in my brain ever since. I know I tend to worry more about the people I love versus those who I care very little about.

I have experienced a lot of worry since having Hailey.

Hailey threw up a lot before she started eating solids. I was worried it was the result of something I was eating. Maybe she had food intolerance or allergies. I tried altering what I was eating, I had her tested and cleared of food intolerances but the vomiting continued. Some days it was just spitting up and other days it was a lot worse. I felt like it was something I was doing. I was worried.

In many ways I was coming at this as a loving, caring mother. I wanted Hailey to be healthy. I wanted to do what was best for her. I wanted to help her out. I’m her mother. I’m supposed to be looking out for her. I wanted to fix her.

I was worried.

But all of the time I spent worrying about her was time I was focusing on what was wrong with her. It was time I was looking at her with a negative feeling of worry. It was not my love for her that I was feeling in those moments.  It was fear and dread.

If you are feeling an objection rising in your throat as you read this please bare with me as I continue to explain.

Your Feelings Affect Your Body

Worrying feels different than love. I challenge you to spend a moment thinking about someone you love (e.g. child, spouse, parent, friend, dog, etc.). Put your fingers on your heart centre as described in my How to Improve Your Intuition – Part 1 post.

Notice what it feels like to love. It’s a positive, uplifting feeling. It’s a feeling of expansion within the body.

Now think about something that is worrying you. Keep your hand on your heart centre as you shift your focus to these thoughts. Notice how you feel. It’s a negative feeling that constricts your body.

Worry is not love. We cannot feel love and worry at the same time. They are opposites in many ways.

How to Shift from Worry to Love

When Hailey was throwing up a lot I felt helpless and fearful. I was anxious and stressed. I wanted to do something. I wanted her to be better. I wanted to fix her.

However, by staying in a state of worry I saw her as someone who was sick, who needed my help. My worry kept me focusing on everything that was wrong with her.I was trying to think of ways to help but the approach to that was from a feeling of helplessness. I wasn’t seeing her as a perfect little baby who was simply going through something.

We get what we think about whether we want it or not. I didn’t want her to throw up anymore. I was determined to change my thoughts. I needed to use my imagination.

I couldn’t get to the point of believing that she would not throw up at all and it wasn’t like I could ignore the vomit as it was happening. The idea of her keeping all of her food down was too far removed from the reality I was experiencing. So rather than trying to jump from worrying about all of the vomit to being completely healthy I chose to shift my thoughts to something that felt slightly better. I needed to take baby steps.

I started calling any amount of vomit “little spit ups” regardless of whether it was or not. She would throw up and I’d say to her in a sing-song voice “just a little bit of spit ups” as I cleaned it up.

It felt like a lie at first but I continued.

When my husband would ask how Hailey was each day I would tell him she spit up a little. He knew what I was doing but after a few days he started to believe me. His worry began to go away. Then one day (not sure how many days later) I was reflecting back on my day and remembering that Hailey had little spit ups that day. As I would clean up the mess in the following days repeating “just a little spits” I felt the relief that it was no big deal.

I was no longer worried.

In a short period of time Hailey’s vomiting decreased dramatically. I can’t tell you which happened first: my change in belief or less vomiting. And it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that I was no longer worried and that it had stopped. Both of us had relief.

Am I suggesting that I never worry about Hailey? No. I’m a mother. I’m sure it will continue to happen.

I’m also not suggesting that we ignore our child’s health issues. However, there’s a difference between knowing that something is wrong intuitively and our thoughts spiraling our of control and making us feel unnecessary worry. Although I would apply this same technique if Hailey or someone else I love was fatally ill.

We can’t always control our circumstances but we do have the power to feel a little bit better in any situation.

Have you applied this technique or something similar and seen results? Tell me about it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your successes!

Photo by Evil Erin