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Martin is a Broken Clock: Sometimes Our Fears Come True

·309 words·2 mins
Mental Health

“I’m so scared, Page,” he says to me.


“I feel like she’s avoiding me. She says everything’s okay. And I want to believe her, but…”


He sighs. “It’s not like her at all. And she just started dating another guy.”

“Don’t listen to Martin!” I say.

“Martin is a filthy liar,” he agrees.

“He is,” I say.

He sighs again. And somehow this one is heavier and more final than the last. “But the real trouble with Martin is that he sometimes tells the truth.”


By and large, Martin, like all brain weasels, is an alarmist without cause. A brain weasel is that little voice in your head with the nagging self-doubt. The one that tells you that you can’t do the thing. The one that is trying to solve problems with infinite unknowns 1000 steps in advance.

Brain weasels advocate for anxiety with unparalleled ferocity.

The vast majority of the time? That voice is dead wrong.

And yet. Every now and then, well… the thing we fear actually happens. Like the broken clock that tells the right time twice a day.

And when that happens, it’s tempting to say, “I knew it.” To forget all the times that we feared something would happen and nothing did. And instead remember the one time the broken clock of our fear and anxiety actually told the correct time.

But don’t fall prey to this temptation.

Because if we take our lead from brain weasels, we undermine our ability to build healthy relationships.

As the Dutch watchmaker Corrie ten Boom once said: “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength — carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Personally, I’d rather keep time with a watchmaker than a broken clock.


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