Do you ever feel like you are minding your own business, raising your kids, striving for peace and friendships and harmony when BAM! In the middle of the clear blue something happens to completely knock you down to the ground? You feel a sense of embarrassment or shame because here you were walking tall and thinking everything was just fine.
Anxiety is something that I struggle with every single day. I usually look around and try to predict the things that may make me fall or trip me. I try to save myself ahead of time. Are you like this too? Seems pretty reasonable since we all know what it’s like to get hurt. It sucks.
Then there are moments when we can’t schedule our pain. The pain is real and bigger than us and even breathing through it, taking a bath, and resting are just not enough. If you struggle with anxiety you know that it is as large as an ocean that can just cover you, sweep you out to the deep and somehow you have to find your way back to the shore.
I have no real advice for you, but I have learned a few things about anxiety. We can’t stop the sea from coming. We can’t stop the critical comment from our mothers or friends or the person in the grocery store. Wish we could. But, we can acknowledge why it hurts so much. We can say to ourselves, “Ouch. That hurt because it was associated with a really, really painful memory. I am now going to comfort that part of myself that got so upset by it.”
Maybe you’ve felt something like this…
“Ouch. You just walked by my pieces.”
“Ouch. You didn’t invite me to be a vendor in your shop.”
“Ouch. Someone else can do this way better than I can.”
“Ouch. My mother just walked right by that dresser in the middle of that living room without saying a darn word.”
We don’t have to respond directly to the offender to make ourselves feel better. We have the ability to respond to ourselves; the part of ourselves that is smaller and was triggered. We can talk kindly to this part saying something like this,
“I am so sorry, Self, that those things made you want to crawl under your bed and quit. I’m so sorry that you had some really bad memories that made dealing with your business difficult today. I’m so sorry that you made yourself crazy trying to protect yourself from this pain and it still happened. You are right. It is hard.”
The hope is that if we do this enough we will not be so affected by these triggers. The hope is that we see these people and comments from our peripheral and they won’t be a speed bump in our lives.
We can’t stop the sea from coming, but we can build stronger muscles and learn how to swim.