If you’re anything like my group of friends, you can easily be identified by a certain characteristic.
While we’re known for many characteristics, the most notable thing my sisters and I claim to our name is the phrase “I can’t worry about it”.
It’s funny right?
Woke up late for work? Can’t worry about it. Parking ticket is due, but Beyoncé is coming to town? Hmm, can’t worry about it. Kyle’s acting up? Can’t worry about it.
To be quite honest, my mom used to tell the highly stressed out, perfectionist, stick up her butt, to-do-list-to-Jupiter Jerrica this all the time. But I could never let my obligations go. I couldn’t see past myself.
But years later, I’m here to tell you how a mere catch phrase can promote genuine happiness.
So here’s the thing. Even if you’re familiar with the idea of not worrying about it, it’s not until you get into the third level of not worrying that you’re free.
Can’t. Won’t. Not gonna.
This is where most of us tend to reside when we decide we’ve reached a situation we can’t worry about.
The thing about the “can’t” level is that we still openly think about the issue from which we just proclaimed independence. It’s still on our mind and although we think we’ve got the whole mind over matter psyche down pat—we don’t, and that’s okay. It takes honesty and practice to realize where you are and how you’re going to get to where you’re going.
“Can’t” is often characterized by sleeping instead of thinking, choosing to watch “Martin” over solving differential equations, deleting a phone number you have memorized by heart, eating disco fries when you know you’re on a diet—to name a few things.
It’s lighthearted disobedience. It’s temporary negligence. “It” or the consequence of “it” is still on your mind.
So now you’ve gained some boldness. You’ve taken it a step further and removed yourself from the situation. You’re getting ballsy, telling yourself that you’ve escaped the judgment and influence of others and that no matter what you’re feeling, you will not worry about it.
“Won’t” is a dangerous place because it’s teeming with apathy—the silent killer, as I like to call it. It’s easier to not feel or to not think about it. So that’s what you do. Instead of dealing with the situation head on, you’re thriving in a false sense of strength, solidarity and membership in the “Boss B*tch Coalition” that comes with taking a stance. You’re feeling like you’ve “handled it” when you’ve only half-heartedly tilled rocky soil, yet still wondering why no pink roses are blooming.
While some of these actions are present in the “can’t” stage, these behaviors are prolonged in the “won’t” stage.
It’s continuous non communication. It’s avoiding people. It’s not forgiving yourself or others. It’s depression.
3. Not gonna.
You’ve stopped neglecting the situation and you’ve decided to search for the root of the issue. I’m the first person to tell you that introspection isn’t always pretty, but it’s completely necessary and it will change your life. The most important part of “not gonna” is knowing yourself and what is important to you. Once you’ve figured that out, transcending the “can’t” and “won’t” mindset is as simple as looking at “it” and seeing if it falls within the span of what is worth your time, energy, and effort.
It’s not about what you can’t worry about, but rather what you can.
My list includes a personal search for a relationship with God, family, happiness and genuine inner peace, and life-long learning. Everyone’s list is different and that’s what makes us beautiful and worth knowing.
Life is tough, but be smart. There are really some things you can’t, won’t, and truly just are not gonna worry about. And that’s okay.
Treasure the things that you can.
Am I a motivational speaker? I don’t know. But I can’t worry about that either.