I recently read that one of our mightiest enemy “anxiety”, which we try to avoid at any cost, needs to be (gradually) introduced in a child’s life in the first years of life. This is one of the cornerstones of a healthy development and preparation for one’s future life.
But why do parents bring in the anxiety in those little innocent babies’ lives if they can avoid it? Well, because first we cannot live an anxiety-free life and second it is a very innate feeling that we cannot cut off our selves from (unless we are on a pathological path of dealing with life), it will always be there. So the anxiety is there and will be there. What significantly contributes in one’s relaxed attitude and equanimity is the proper and wholehearted management of the feelings of anxiety. Hmmm… then how? Certainly there is no universal recipe that would fit everyone. It is meaningful and crucial to find our own way of dealing with it.
In my case, the first thing turned out to be to accept that anxiety instead of dismissing it. My upbringing was overly critical on anxiety feelings and emotional bursts. Thus, suppression of negative feelings was crucial to be a good child. If only my parents knew how this dismissive approach influenced my decisions in life and made me deeply unhappy with myself (not to mention the guilt feelings).
Once I let myself to live the anxiety, not chasing it away with alcohol, drugs, compulsive buying or compulsive reading; what I felt was pretty scary: all those feelings, like a boiling lava. It took me a while to find the next step which turned out to be quite interesting: conversing with those feelings. Imagine these two situations: you run into a person who desperately wants to talk to you but you ignore him; and you stop ignoring that person and conversing with him. In the first case, the ignored person will persistently increase the volume of his voice and the tools to attract your attention will get more and more sophisticated: it is a suffocating situation to be. But only because you ignore the person and do not let him tell you what the matter is. So, when you do let that person finally speak to you and give your attention to him, the volume comes down, the restlessness goes away. You listen to what that person (in our case our anxiety) is trying to tell you. Most probably, it is just a simple thing to realize such as “life does not always go according to plans”, and this is a mere fact! So, when I started to listen to the tips and thoughts of feelings of anxiety, things changed dramatically. I used to confront unbelievably strange people, find myself in labyrinths, get my things stolen, constantly have small accidents, it turned out that my divisiveness left no choice but to take some harmful measures for my feelings. A sabotage! But at the end it was a self sabotage…
So how did I end up at the anxiety topic this morning… It wasn’t too difficult: ” I woke up like this” ! I opened my eyes to the message of my boss and a missed call. It seems that I completely missed coordinating an information, and a client was waiting at the door and nobody at the studio. Two years ago this would destroy my day and push me in the turbulent sea of guilt. I felt anxious and sat down, started conversing with my anxiety. He (it has a masculine character) calmly joined me in finding out how I really feel about the situation, my boss’ lack of understanding in cases of failure (or my lack of understanding that I was projecting on her), and what was that all about. It is obvious for me that missing such an obvious thing and forgetting informing the client were a bit too stupid (especially with shared calendar and the alarm that reminds you of the meeting). There was a message in me in this situation, something that I had to ponder upon and question and if lucky: undo a node.
Voili voilà, it has been very therapeutic to write and funny enough to see that the topic knocked on my door without me seeking it.