Tuesday, April 09, 2013

From the desk of a Chronic Pessimist

About 10 years ago my grandfather wrote an Urdu book called 'Fikharein Choro Jeena Seekho' it was a translation of Dale Carnegie's best seller 'How to Stop Worrying and Start Living'. I was very young when he wrote it but I remember we had numerous women who would call or send letters from Pakistan seeking Dada’s advice on an unending list of things they worried about. In my opinion, Dada wasn’t a self-help guru, but he hit the nail on the head with this book. Just the title is enough to show that it’s probably the best advice anyone will give you about life. Sadly, I never even attempted to read the book myself! Lately though a lot of things going on have had me thinking about this concept. This "worry wart pessimistic" attitude which seems to be more prevalent in us women was blaring in my face everywhere I went. Especially after watching Kashaf’s behavior (female protagonist of the current Pakistani TV show I’m hooked on, Zindagi Gulzar Hai) I couldn’t stand it anymore, I had to dish out some advice to the current generation, just like my Dada once did.


Girls, can we please admit to this ‘flaw’ of ours and work on fixing it?! Please?

We worry beyond belief! This issue of stressing about every possible scenario that might play out in our lives literally drives us to the brink of insanity. I know we really can’t help it, its innate. But you know what? We give men a lot of grief about being lazy and irresponsible, so maybe we should take our own advice and fix our quirks when they become a problem. Perfect example: Kashaf is a manic worrier, this girl couldn’t recognize happiness if it punched her in the eye, because she’s perpetually afraid of what can go wrong next. She is doubtful of anyone who is nice to her and of any possible hope of good times in life. Watching her I thought, wow who can be THAT negative? But it took a few seconds to realize I do this ALL the time! Last week, I read in the news about a young mom dying in her apartment and her four year old son walked around alone for days surviving only on a bag of sugar. Suddenly, I’m crying. AT WORK. Because the little boy’s story was so sad I started worrying about what if I die and no one finds out. I imagined Ali locked in with my corpse, eating nothing but fistfuls of Nutella. SERIOUSLY? Get it together girl. Yes bad things happen. Yes they do happen to good people. But GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TOO. We cannot not allow fear of these ‘what ifs’ to consume us.
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We need to take off the green lens and actively seek the good in our lives. It may be exams and 8 page papers in college life or endless hours at work or a baby who doesn’t sleep at night that cause us to worry and become Negative Nancys. But the truth is WE allow it, life experiences may be triggers but we are the ones who choose to pull it and shoot out that bullet.

While Kashaf on ZGH is an extreme example of it, we all have this inner pessimist that we sometimes let get the best of us and it only wreaks havoc when we do. Think about at least two things you obsessed/worried about in the past week, month or year that turned out “not so bad” after all. Yes it wasn’t entirely how you expected but it wasn’t as terrible as you worried it would be. And maybe, possibly, some of your worrying negatively affected the outcome, like a self-fulfilling prophecy. By stressing too much we actually cause the things we fear to come true. When I first got married I had this constant dream of my husband dying! Once I woke up bawling from a dream that he went out jogging, was got hit by a car and my parents are telling me he’s dead. It took me a long time to figure this out, but I realized it was my fear of a good thing. I had never loved someone so much and was majorly afraid of losing the best thing to ever happen to me. I had to come to terms with the fact that this amazing occurrence in my life was actually here, and  I wasn’t allowing myself to love him wholeheartedly for fear of losing him.

I’m trying SO hard to fix this worrier side of me, and it may be working. Like last month when we spontaneously decided to do a trip to Turkey planned in 2 days I did not panic. I just got to work on what needed to be done. And even if we dashed to the passport office a few hours before our flight, it all worked out. IT ALL WORKED OUT. As women we are planners and organizers with a big part of our nature is to be a perfectionist, wanting every detail to be flawless. In doing so, we begin equating planning with stressing. If we aren’t stressed we don’t care enough. This attitude has got to change. I care very much about everything in my life and a huge part of me does want to panic at times, but I am making a constant conscious effort to remind myself that freaking out will not help. Worrying won’t make it perfect and ‘perfect’ will only happen when I accept that there will be flaws.


Learn to let things go when they go wrong. Work your absolute hardest and when you find yourself freaking out, stop. Take a moment to breath and tell yourself:

Have hope. Know that this too will be over eventually, so while it’s happening you must enjoy the best of it and let go of the worst of it.

So now with all that being said, can someone please shake Kashaf ‘Churail’ Murtazas’s shoulders, slap her across the face and say "GIRLFRIEND YOUR HUSBAND IS HOT AND HE LOVES YOU, STOP WORRYING ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG AND FREAKING HUG HIM ALREADY!"
 
Images via Tumblr 



How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Carnegie, Dale/ MacMillan, An (Google Affiliate Ad) 

 Pessimism Never Works iPhone 5 Case (Google Affiliate Ad)

Art.Com Love, Worry, Laugh Framed Art Print (Google Affiliate Ad)

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