You know you don’t need to necessarily kill off your anxiety, because it testifies the depth of your care! More importantly, you know that your anxiety is merely leading you to identify where your true passion is, for that is where your true power is hidden!
“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” – Søren Kierkegaard
3. How to transform it
When we feel anxious, we feel anxious. No amount of external reassurance or lecturing or counsel can make anxiety go away. The worst we could tell someone is don’t think about it, don’t feel, as though pretending anxiety is not there will make it disappear. Like a ball that you push hard downward, anxiety tends to bounce back up in double or triple the force. That’s when some of us end up getting a diagnosis like an “anxiety disorder”. What you do not deal with now will come back and haunt you at a later time.
In contrast, what psychotherapy offers people is a safe space to think about their anxiety and to allow people to feel their anxiety, until the point they can begin to think and feel something different emerge within themselves.
Sometimes it’s sadness… Sometimes it’s anger… Often there are unresolved grief experiences from the past that we would rather forget. In other words, our anxiety is always helping us to find deeper healing and growth from within. Hence, if we truly want a different response than anxiety, we must prepare to do the inner work.
Much of what triggers anxiety lies in the interpersonal process between people, and within a complex system consisting of multiple people who are sharing different degrees of anxiety. Hence, to transform anxiety, you need to think three levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal and system.
When you accept your own anxiety as a good messenger or helpful friend, you are dealing with it on the first level.
When you pay attention to how you are being affected by the different personalities and energies around you, you can then make better choices as to who you want to let in your life, and what kind of boundaries you want to set with different people, so you can still remain free and true to yourself.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” – Dan Millman
Finally, when you are fully alive to your own needs and the kind of relationship that gives you more health and safety (to be you), then you are probably more ready to discern and identify how you have inevitably BECOME part of a larger system that is anxious and stressed out.
You can choose to be in the system, yet not of the system. Simply put, if you know who you are, you don’t have to follow what everyone else does. The goal is not to be different than everybody else. The goal is to show more compassion towards yourself (for you can’t change yourself for others), and towards others (for they can’t change themselves for you either).
Anxiety is transformed where there is unconditional acceptance of yourself and of others. As the Apostle John says, perfect love cast out fears (1 John 4:18).
Here’s a clip from Disney’s animation “Frozen”. Watch Elsa, whose secret powers have just been revealed, flees her kingdom Arendelle and unleashes her magic… Enjoy unleashing your magic too!
“Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate.” – Søren Kierkegaard
All of us experience anxiety in one way or another. And for people with anxiety, it’s a part of their life. It makes us who we are. And it can often make life better for us.
When you learn how to own, use and transform anxiety into something positive, it can help to enhance your life by teaching you some valuable life lessons.