Worrier to Warrior


I am a worrier and have been all my life. I pick up worry and stir in some cheek chewing too because it gives me something to do as my thoughts are swirling around and there’s nothing to hold on to.

Worry is an old friend who steps onto the carousel of uncertainty. Sometimes it brings its old pal, the finger picker, and then we have a ball, laughing into the night about past close calls and near misses. We talk of how we got through it all because we have each other.

When a new friend joins in labeled warrior, there’s a pause in the commotion as worrier, cheek chewer and finger picker eye each other wondering all the same thing. Why is she changing the dynamics of our group? We’re doing just fine as we are without sending in a shining new star.

I have been the absentee boss of this production until recently as I’ve come home from my travels. I landed and still unpacking. It’s always an open cast call as I discover there’s room for more. There’s the speaker-upper who likes to voice an opinion. She’s learned to fit in. And recently I came upon the protector who has been there all along looming like a general. I discovered he has been guarding me all along. His presence is a bit threatening to all the others so we’re working on his role.

I like to sit on the sidelines and watch from afar. There’s more of an understanding we are not a closed group any longer as we welcome new arrivals.

It was rocky at first adopting this open policy, but if one looks closer, the gatekeeper is a tough one. She stands with a staff of conviction, holds policies of honesty, cooperation, good boundaries and above all, love.

Worrier doesn’t have to hide in the corner any more wringing her hands and feeling shame. She is welcomed, brought into the circle and appreciated for her insight and forethought. We’re still working on the cheek chewer as habits are hard to break. And finally finger picker is not visiting as often, seems to reappear under deep stress, and knows there’s always a seat next to the worrier where there’s safety and love.

Our house of acceptance is no longer conditional. All are welcome once they are past the gatekeeper. My home holds safety, respect, honesty and love.


Participants' Reflections:

  • That was a wonderful reading. Thank you so much. It reminded me of the Disney movie “Inside Out” where all the characters in the brain were controlling different aspects of the personality. You aren’t the only person that feels that way. I love the idea of the gatekeeper letting people in. I’ve been studying hypnosis and they talk about parts therapy, where all the different parts of a person can speak from the subconscious. It’s a powerful thing to give voice to those different parts of yourself.

  • I remember my mother always saying, “I’m so worried. I’m worried about this, about that.” I grew up thinking it was my job to worry. If I worried, I could control things. I’ve come to see that that’s not true; it’s an illusion. I’ve done parts work in Internal Family Systems. In the past, I would become enmeshed with a part. I still can be captured by the Worrier, or the General trying to control things. My therapist has said just see if you can step back from a part. It was a closed room, no one else was welcome. It’s so wonderful to be able to step back and recognize the part. They also say we all have a Self with a capital S, and to speak to that part, the Self, instead of self. I’ve found it so helpful to think about the parts. And I’ve learned to separate them.

  • I loved the play of worrier and warrior. That’s fantastic. Why not transform one into the other? During the meditation, I had a poem come to me and I checked in. My first thought was that I should write this down. My head said no, you’re not supposed to be doing that. But then I checked in with my core and it said yes. That was lovely and I still got to meditate. I’m working with a coach who says, “when you are aligned, you don’t need rules.”

  • I loved that reading. I loved the various cast members that you include. You smiled every time you said ‘finger-picker’. I think we all have a habit that we resort to in those moments. I’m reminded of a biblical saying, “Hold fast to that which is good.”

  • During the meditation, I could have laughed hysterically and cried at the same time. I am embracing it. It is a funny juxtaposition.

  • I brought myself to a quiet place. I loved what you wrote, it’s so honest. Taking a moment to ingather, reset. There was a big medical consult yesterday. It’s once a yesterday. I’m still getting to that relaxed place of knowing that it’s over. You talked about being a nail picker, I know it’s your honesty that helps us. It’s real. The way you teach us is through your being so honest and vulnerable. It definitely helps me. You’ve been doing this a long time. You are good at it, but you still have these times and moments of doubt. It makes me look at myself and wish I had been exposed to this years ago. It gives me hope and encouragement that I can do this. Growing and getting better. Thank you.

  • Thank you. I thought of multiple personalities and how the accepted treatment was to combine the personalities into one. And how so many of us aren’t aware or deny the different parts of ourselves. If we aren’t conscious of those alternates, we can’t work with them. I also love the protector, not just anybody was going to get in. I love that new way of looking at and accepting our different parts.

  • It’s good to be here. Thank you for your lovely sharing. I was a finger picker. I’m watching my granddaughter become one. When you got into the parts part, that always touches me deeply. For anyone who does parts work, the only thing that has ever worked for me and the only way I am able to explain it is by using the metaphor of a pallet. I started out as a blob of red or a blob of yellow, but now I’m a well-worn pallet with many hues. The pallet changes as we grow. I have the ability to rise up in whatever combination I need to, to meet whatever challenge is in front of me.

  • It’s bringing to mind a form of counseling I was trained in called Psychosynthesis using sub-personalities. Identifying the parts and using a placeholder like a pillow in a chair and that pillow represents the part. We can talk to the part and see what it has to say

  • I loved the pallet image and being aligned = no need for rules.

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