Give Up that there’s Something Wrong

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a worrier. I also was pessimistic. Sad. Always felt like I just didn’t belong and something terrible was just about to happen. I spent my whole life waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I still do.

If Jake pings me during the day, I instantly think “what’s wrong?” or if the phone rings, I say “everything ok?” before I even say hello. If someone at work is looking for me, I know it must be cause I did something incorrectly. I read into a received email and a lack of reply. I read into it if my manager creates a meeting for us to chat. And I read into it if he cancels a meeting.

It’s a skill I have.

This was one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want to have children. I was worried that they would see me sad/worried all the time and either they would become that way, too, or they would think it was because of them. I don’t ever want my kids to think they cause me any kind of sorrow. Ever.

So when I got pregnant with David, I put this huge sign over our bedroom door. This thing was more than seven feet long. It said “give up that there’s something wrong.” It was a phrase from a class I took a long time ago and it stuck with me over the years.

That’s what I want to be able to do with my life. Not just look for the good, but also stop worrying about the potential bad. Stop making things up. Reading into things.

When David was born, despite the rough newborn life, I remember feeling a deep sense of peace and belonging. I remember letting go of the need to look for the wrong. I remember feeling that so much was right with the world. And with all the wonderful changes we’ve had in the last few years, I’ve been feeling more and more of that sense of deep gratitude and peace. I can see all the good in my life so clearly.

But I think I’ve taken a few steps back on “giving up that there’s something wrong.”

Maybe it’s the fallout of the tough times during March or it’s just cyclical or maybe I need to just be working on this regularly. Either way, I need to make another sign. I need to remind myself that not everything points to a potential problem or mess up. I need to stop looking for the bad. I need to give it up.

Give up that there’s something wrong.

It’s the same thing I want my son to do. I notice that sometimes he looks for the bad. He notices the bad so much more than the good. When I call him, he worries something is wrong. I don’t want him to end up like me. Constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Feeling that it’s inevitable.

Cause you know what? It’s been almost forty years and the other shoe hasn’t dropped.


This is not to say that it might not. This is not to say something terrible might not still happen. In fact, I am sure some bad things will indeed happen. But I look back upon the millions of times I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. The hours of worry and stress.

What a waste.

So tonight, I will make a sign. In my bedroom, so I can see it every single night last thing before I go to sleep and first thing when I wake up.

It will say: Give up that there’s something wrong.

How about you? Will you make a sign with me too? What will your sign say?

8 comments to Give Up that there’s Something Wrong

  • Kate Burroughs

    My sign says “Be grateful every day.”
    Aloha, Kate

  • Goog

    This is so much a part of me, too, that I was in my 20s before I realized that not everyone thinks this way. Not everyone is worried when their boss calls a meeting. Not everyone is paralyzed with fear when their son’s school calls that he’s been hurt or is sick when it’s just a call to remind them about parents’ day. I want to get there, too, but I just have no idea how.

  • Sue S

    I so identify with this right now. I am eaten up with worry that I will not be able to find a job (I am graduating law school next week) before our meager money stash runs out. My sign would say “everything will work out exactly the way it should.”

    Great post 🙂

  • I am SO there right now. Reading into things. Feeling that I am the cause, or the scapegoat, of the current situation(s). I hate being in that situation. I have found that it really affects me negatively — sleeping badly, the nerves and upset stomach, headaches…all of that.

    “Give up that there’s something wrong.” I like that.

  • Susan Anderson

    My sign would say “You don’t need to worry, it’s all been taken care of”. I just opened a new business. I have moments of self doubt and worry. What will happen if it fails? Where will I end up? Having gone through some serious rough patches I know how scary things can get. It dawned on me the other day that no matter how rough the patch everything always worked out and in a way that put me in a better place. Each patch was really a piece in the puzzle of my life and even though I can’t see the finished puzzle, the pieces are all there waiting to be put in. Everything is already taken care of I just need to breathe and trust in God/universe.

  • Mel

    Oh Karen, you make me laugh and cry all at once. How I adore your honesty. I wish I could be so honest and open.

  • Veronica

    What a beautiful thought – to just give up on thinking negatively, being sad and worrying all the time. It’s hard. I worry all the time – and when I actually think about it, I worry about nothing in particular. You inspire me to also “Give up that there’s something wrong.” Thank you.

  • This is a great mantra. If I make a sign too it will be something similar.

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