How to accept your anxiety – a wolf with kind eyes?
The answer to this question, viewed from two levels, is very simple, yet often complex and demanding in practice.
On the level of everyday life and our personal health, anxiety persists as long as we fear it. From a broader perspective of the human consciousness, however, anxiety keeps knocking at our door until we become aware of why it has entered our lives in the first place..
The agony and suffering of someone who has experienced a panic attack prevents them from understanding this apparently straightforward notion. It is therefore difficult for a person afflicted by this condition to accept anxiety as a teacher and redefine his or her life in order to move to a higher level of consciousness without a long period of having to work on themselves. Maintaining a heathy work-life balance is an art. As is changing our internal structure, which is mainly connected to our subconscious.
How to accept the fact that anxiety hampers our daily lives? How do we admit to ourselves and our surroundings that we are losing touch with ourselves? How do we cleanse ourselves of the shame, guilt and feeling of failure, all frequently linked to external factors? How do we speak honestly about our fears, recognize their sources, and accept them to the extent that still allows us to lead normal lives?
And so, we arrive to the first stigma: What is normal? Why is there still a prevailing opinion in society that physical illness is normal while mental conditions are abnormal? Why is such a horrendous disorder like anxiety viewed as defeat, failure? Why is it a condition reserved for those who are weak, soft, incompetent, who don’t know how to face their day-to-day challenges? Why do some see their cup of life as half full and others half empty?
As I am no expert in the field of psychology, I can only answer these questions with my personal perception and experience. I’m just a person prone to anxiety who tried to find a way out. I searched for a meaning, a strong enough tool to help me persevere and overcome the most terrible ordeal of my life, as well as to dare to speak publicly by disclosing my intimate confession regarding the matter. Not because I regard myself as something special, not because I am in any way smarter – a smart person would have acted soonerand heeded advice to banish such an affliction from their life before the first drop had split over the edge, pushing them into the abyss of anxiety. That in itself is the purpose of my confession: To tell the wider public my personal struggle with anxiety, the reasons why it took so long to overcome and how one can avoid falling victim to it by taking action promptly. Furthermore, my aim was to encourage those who have missed that train and thus lost the ability to stand proudly in front of the mirror and recognise themselves as wonderful, strong and worthy individuals, despite their panic attacks, and present themselves to the world free of guilt and shame. I still often look in the mirror and wonder if I will be able to handle all the challenges that wait in store, and if I’m indeed worthy of such public exposure and the responsibility that comes with it
The following is where the most rigorous, deeply rooted patterns of our anxiety dwell:
Why do we think we are not good enough?
Why are we convinced that others are better than us?
Why do we think we have to meet all the expectations of others?
Why do we demand from ourselves to be perfect all the time?
Why is it so hard to admit that what we have already achieved something of sufficient worth?
The main reason for the onset of mental distress is often our attitude, which has instilled in us from early childhood or even earlier, that we are wrong, flawed, not good enough to deserve something. Why are we plagued by so many doubts? Have we truly done something to the best of our abilities, met the criteria of others, done everything others expected of us? Why do we find it so difficult to be content with ourselves? Why can’t we be more forgiving of ourselves? Why can’t we simply love ourselves more?
Our lack of self-love stems from somewhere and has appeared at some point in time. We can only be happy with ourselves if everyone around us is happy with us, if we fit into society’s framework as is expected of us and perceived normal.
What if we just have to learn to be what we truly are, not what we think we ought to be?
What if only when we accept ourselves in all our imperfect beauty can we attain inner peace?
What if we have to keep asking ourselves questions from a different perspective than we were taught to?
From fear to love, gratitude and trust?
Let us slowly, persistently, step by step, change our mindset,from day to day, from fall to rise, rise to fall, and on this path offer a helping hand to one another, because we are all so very similar, even though our fears come with different labels. Listen to your fears, they are trying to tell you something. Break your patterns of emotions, pains and doubts, alone or with the help of others, only then can you establish a more genuine connection with yourself.
May the eyes of our inner wolves turn kinder and kinder. The closer we look at these beasts, the tamer they become. When they begin to grow in size and ferocity again, simply move on, for it does not matter how heigh we climb, but how many times we rise above. It is then that the weights are truly lifted off our shoulders.
Perhaps my honesty alone is a precious enough gift to the world. Many readers may relate to my story and feel like they are looking in their own life’s mirror, and perhaps they’ll recommend my book to their loved ones, so that they can understand their plight better. Perhaps it is my contribution to making it easier and more frequent to talk about mental distress and prevent the worst from happening to those who are still wandering about like lost souls.
Fear is the most widespread disease in this world.