A Get Out of Jail Free Card

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Two days ago I was listening to Bobby McFerrin’s song ‘Don’t worry and I couldn’t help but think to myself “this guy must be kidding!,that’s some horrible advice right there.” Happiness is pleasant and all but it surely doesn’t help us achieve much. Worry on the other hand is unpleasant but it can definitely motivate us too.
It has all to do with the pleasure principle I think. We basically seek pleasure and avoid pain. Worry, I think is a conscious recognition of possible unpleasantness be it homelessness, loneliness or moneylessness. We are often quick to encourage others to embrace positivity when they express worry. Embracing this advice however is a difficult if not impossible…I speak for myself on this. Most of the time, the closest I come to embracing positivity is feigning it; Pretending all is fine and dandy while inwardly worrying about the buts and whatifs.
Being positive or not worrying undoubtedly has its potential benefits. Worry seems logical but it has a crippling effect. It makes us fall off the bridge before we even cross it. Potential failures are based on realities we are uncomfortable with. We become hyper-aware about dangers we have absolutely no control over.
Thanks to freewill, we do play a role in our destiny, but we don’t play all the roles. The degree to which our actions and abilities play a significant part in our future is questionable. We can only do our best and hope that everything else aligns.
Letting go of worry has a liberating effect, leading some to draw parallels between this action and the existence of birds. Bob Marley, who is often mistakenly credited for Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t worry, sung ‘three little birds.’ The line “Every little thing is gonna be alright” gets repeated severally this song.
Birds have been symbolizing liberated worylessness for centuries. In the Bible, Solomon and Jesus bring up our feathered friends in their arguments against worry.Luke 12:24-32 and Matthew 6:26 make reference to the carefree existence of birds and how they all get taken care of somehow.
Birds amaze me mainly because they can fly. Also,they make it look incredibly easy.They probably don’t think much about it or how amazing what they do is, they just do. Flight breaks the one rule that holds everything to the ground.
We call it the law of gravity, because that’s what it is, a law, one everyone has to follow, whether they want to or not.Perhaps the association of birds with the decision to overcome worry has to do with their liberated existence.
Worries confine us to a prison, a psychological one, whose walls and bars are just as effective as those of a maximum security penitentiary. Speaking of prisons, I was once visiting a Soviet-era prison and couldn’t help but notice that birds flew in and out as they pleased. When we worry however, we carry this personalized prison wherever we go.
Humans are the best at giving advice and the worst at taking it. Preaching water comes easy of most of us, keeping off wine however is another story. There’s a high possibility I’ll urge you to stay positive the next time you are down. My one hope is that I’ll pay lots of attention to the same platitudes I’m dishing out. I too wish to fly like the birds, like them, I could really ‘go places’ like those of more than a ‘little faith’.


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