A few years ago I went through a tough time. It either kicked in, or kicked up, my anxiety. I don’t know if it matters which. I do know that by the time I ended up in a professional’s office asking for help, she asked me about my anxiety and when I questioned that label, she looked at me and said, “really? Can’t you see that you’re anxious?”
“I’m not anxious,” I answered. “Not usually. It’s just what’s going on now…”
Again, it doesn’t matter if I was before my tough time, or if I just was then. If what I was going through kicked in, or kicked up, my anxiety. Either way, at that moment I was a bundle of nerves.
I’m thrilled to say I’ve moved through that tough time. Maybe even truly all the way through. But, you know what, I’m stuck with some remnants of anxiety.
And fear. I know that one of the manifestations of my childhood can be a fair amount of fear. Often irrational fear. My husband, daughter, loved one of any sort is thirty minutes late, and I’m sure they’re dead. Even as I’m certain they’re not and know I’m being irrational, I’m certain they are. There are times and situations that can kick up old feelings of abandonment and loss, whether or not it’s actual and true.
What am I learning to do about this anxiety? I’m learning to wear it lightly. To breathe through it, and call it out for what it is. To acknowledge its presence, even thank it for coming, and then lovingly smile and let it leave.
Even if it doesn’t leave. Not all at once or all the way.
I then breathe again. I allow that I’m anxious, even irrationally so. I allow myself to be anxious. I offer a “thank you” in advance for the moment when this anxiety and fear are gone. I recognize that my anxiety and fear make sense. The tough time I went through was scary – the “don’t even want to look back at it and remember it” kind of scary. And then I recognize that that scary isn’t true for me any more. As I said, I’ve moved through at least the worst of it, if not all of it.
I offer myself compassion and comfort. I look around me for things to bring a smile to my face and ease to my heart. I accept my anxiety and let it flow through me.
I wear it lightly, with as much joy and ease and peace in my heart as I can find.
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