Loose Grip

A great many worries can be diminished by realising the unimportance of the matter which is causing the anxiety.

I have done in my time a considerable amount of public speaking; at first every audience terrified me, and nervousness made me speak very badly; I dreaded the ordeal so much that I always hoped I might break my leg before I had to make a speech, and when it was over I was exhausted from the nervous strain.

Gradually I taught myself to feel that it did not matter whether I spoke well or ill, the universe would remain much the same in either case. I found the less I cared whether I spoke well or badly, the less badly I spoke, and gradually the nervous strain diminished almost to vanishing point. A great deal of nervous fatigue can be dealt with in this way.

Our doings are not so important as we naturally suppose; our successes and failures do not after all matter very much. Even great sorrows can be survived; troubles which seem as if they must put an end to happiness for life fade with the lapse of time until it becomes almost impossible to remember their poignancy.

[Bertrand Russell]
The Conquest of Happiness, p.47, 48

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