The other day I came across an acquaintance’s post talking about how anxious she was feeling. Reading this, I wanted to reach through the screen and help her, though for many reasons, including the fact that she wasn’t asking for help, I stayed silent.
What I did feel called to do, though, was to write about it.
My own personal journey with anxiety started when I was a child. While my first conscious memory of it (and my depression) was at fourteen or fifteen, when I was battling anorexia mixed with my mom suffering from terminal cancer, I imagine it started much earlier. And, while I suffered from it through most of my teens and for a good decade plus after, I did find a way, and really, several ways out of it, ways that I am fortunate enough to now be able to share with my clients for long-term relief.
Today, though, I wanted to share just one of the most important awarenesses I received that has the ability to shift this state immediately, in case you’re needing it right now.
What you need to know:
Much of our anxiety actually isn’t ours. If, like me, you grew up in an anxious environment, because in those moments we don’t have a strong boundary system, we tend to subconsciously take on our parents dominant emotions. (In addition to my teenage challenges, my parents separated before I was two years old. This meant that, for much of my childhood, I was subconsciously saturating in the understandable stress and anxiety my mom had from raising twins that were so young by herself.)
Then, because a lot of times we’re walking around with feelings that aren’t even ours, we tend to feel crazy.
So, guess what’s happening now with the combination of a pandemic, the racial injustices being brought to light and an upcoming election?
If you guessed that you’re picking up others’ stress and anxiety, you’d be right. This is because, deep down, we’re all connected. Then, combine this with unhealed emotions from our childhoods, including anxiety, that are coming to the surface right now to be healed along with our current-day anxieties, and you’ve got a recipe for anxiety-overload.
That being said, where do you begin for an immediate shift?
Identify if the anxiety (and anything else you’re feeling or experiencing) is yours. So much of the time it can be easy, especially if you’re a helper by nature, to subconsciously take on someone else’s anxiety to help them to heal. In the process, though, we end up feeling bad. This is why identifying if this emotion is yours or not is so important.
To do this, simply ask out loud, “Is this mine?” and notice what the answer is. Does it feel like a yes or no? (If this is unclear, look at if you just read or listened to something and all of a sudden, you’re feeling anxious. Alternatively, did something happen in your life, whether it was at work, in your relationship or with your children, that is creating your current anxiety? Then, as you check-in, notice what’s true for you.)
If this isn’t yours, simply say out loud, setting a strong intention that you’re not going to continue to “carry” it, “What’s mine is mine, what’s not is not.” Then, make the decision that you don’t need to help that person (or the world) with their anxiety. I go into this in more detail in my Healing Through Abandonment Kit, but this is a great starting point and this awareness combined with this practice alone, can make a huge shift.
Either way, know you’re not alone with your anxiety and, yours or not, it is possible to heal this so you don’t have to suffer long-term.