Amazing Possibilities!

Understanding Anxiety, Stress, Regrets, Worry, and Violated Boundaries


A psychology professor walked around his classroom full of students holding a glass of water with his arm straightened out to the side. He asked his students, “How heavy is this glass of water?”



The students started to shout out guesses–ranging anywhere from four ounces to one pound.

The professor replied, “The absolute weight of this glass isn’t what matters while I’m holding it. Rather, it’s the amount of time that I hold onto it that makes an impact.

“If I hold it for, say, two minutes, it doesn’t feel like much of a burden. If I hold it for an hour, its weight may become more apparent as my muscles begin to tire. If I hold it for an entire day–or week–my muscles will cramp and I’ll likely feel numb or paralyzed with pain, making me feel miserable and unable to think about anything aside from the pain that I’m in.

In all of these cases, the actual weight of the glass will remain the same, but the longer I clench onto it, the heavier it feels to me and the more burdensome it is to hold.”

The class understood and shook their heads in agreement.

The professor continued to say, “This glass of water can represent a lot of things. It can represent the worries and stresses that you carry around with you every day. It can represent regret that you feel over things that you wish you did or didn’t do. And it can be the burden you carry of boundaries violated again and again and again. If you think about them for a few minutes and then put them aside, it’s not a heavy burden to bear. If you think about them a little longer, you will start to feel the impacts of the stress. If you carry these things with you all day, you will become incapacitated, prohibiting you from doing anything else until you let them go.”

It’s time to return to a right relationship with your worries, your stresses, your past, the people in your life. Don’t give them your entire attention while your life is passing you by.


Matthew Kelly


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