When I first learned that worry and concern are wildly different things, it knocked me on my ass.
It was in a book by Richard Dotts.
The author shared a relatable anecdote about having grown up in a household with a chronic worrier.
Like me, he picked up the habit of worrying for himself.
Eventually he came to realize a better way.
I am generally a careful person, and when I travel overseas for example, I am concerned about my safety and well-being. This means taking all the necessary precautions and steps to protect myself and to safeguard my belongings. It may mean purchasing travel insurance. However, beyond taking a few precautionary steps, I do not worry incessantly about the risks involved. I do not keep dwelling on the things that can wrong when I go on my trip.
To someone who isn’t a chronic worrier, it may look obvious and unfathomable that it could be another way.
But to a chronic worrier, acknowledging the possibility of thoughtful concern, rather than worry, can be life-changing.
Having the two different words for it helped me.
In the past when I had tried to shift my worrying tendencies, it felt like I had to choose between worrying a lot or being unprepared. When given those options, the worrier worries!
If you struggle with chronic worrying, try that subtle change. Go for concern, not worry.