Someone asked me about a “flaw” in myself I learned to love. It really got me thinking. The question had such an impact, I even asked other writers here at Change Your Mind-Change Your Life to share their stories. Here’s mine.
Far from it.
I remember first feeling that sick-in-the-gut wave of anxiety when I was only about 5 years old. I didn’t know what it was. I thought I was going to throw up, but I didn’t.
Playing with dolls, sitting on the couch, out with friends. It really didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing, that wave could come out of nowhere and shoot through my body with no warning.
Early on, it didn’t bother me or stop me from doing anything. Then one day I became aware of the thought, “What if it happens when…??”
With that ‘what if” thought, I gave life to the anxiety, and I gave it the power to tell me what I could and couldn’t do.
It stopped me from living in a dorm in college. It stopped me from traveling by airplane. It stopped me from eating out at restaurants comfortably. It got in the way of me developing close friendships
It stopped me from doing certain things, and at the same time, it pushed me into doing others.
It pushed me to get married at a much too young age. It drove me to create rituals and routines that brought an illusion of comfort. It drove me to be cautious and selective of what I’d eat.
Those are just a few of the examples of the shackles it placed on my life.
Migraine headaches, severe pain in my neck, and upset stomachs to name a few.
I was irritable and prone to angry outbursts. I kept my mind at ease by doing busy work nonstop.
Honestly, I wasn’t much fun to be around, and I wasn’t enjoying life.
I didn’t know what to name what I was feeling. I had no idea I was experiencing anxiety.
I put on a stiff upper lip. My symptoms embarrassed me, so I did whatever I could to hide them. I would grit my teeth and push through the best I could.
Looking back, I guess I was so detached from my emotions, that I couldn’t recognize them for what they were.
Instead of panic attacks, I thought I was having heart or stomach problems. Instead of recognizing fear, I just felt angry.
I was convinced I had an undiagnosed physical problem.
When I admitted it, it lost its destructive power.
It was like a door opened in a giant wall I built to hold in the anxiety. All that pressure could finally deflate.
It was a gentle process. I admitted (first to myself and then to others) some of my anxieties, and the false power they tried to exert began to fade.
“Be happy with being you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks. And know that you are just as perfect as anyone else, exactly as you are.” — Ariana Grande
I had coaching. I used techniques like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). I used metaphysical scientific prayer.
I cleaned up my diet, and I committed to exercise and outdoor time every day.
The freedom came one step at a time.
What was once something I saw as a “flaw”, and abnormal or broken, is now a superpower I share with the world.
I can vibe with people who experience anxiety.
Knowing I’ve had anxiety, and sometimes still do, makes people know they’re not alone. They’re not crazy. There’s hope. They too can live with a lot less anxiety.
I offer my clients the same tools I used in my healing because I know they work, and they work fast.
3. I help people feel safe, and I’m a nurturer. I create spaces that feel soothing. I love to take care of people’s most human needs. Feeling sick? I’ll make you homemade chicken soup. I never felt safe in my world, so I want to give that gift to you.
4. I’m a fighter. Anxiety doesn’t always show up looking like a person in fear. It’s just as likely to show up looking like a bold risk taker. People with anxiety can be “phobic” or “counter-phobic”. So while I’ve written here about my experience with anxiety, people who know me know how unlikely I am to back down. I stand tall in the face of fear. I’ll get between you and a bully any day. I’ll stand up and say something when no one else will. I’ll risk it all to do the right thing.
And at the same time, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Now I see it as the superpower that it is.
I still feel anxiety at times. It’s part of being human. But now I know what it is, and I’m no longer embarrassed to admit it.
It shaped me and gave me a purpose for the healing work I do with people.
And that’s true for you too. The thing you wish was different or trying to hide can be a gift you share with the world.
Grow to love every inch of your being. Yes, you can still work on growing and improving, but love yourself right now. Accept yourself right now. Forgive yourself right now.
Embrace it all, there really are no flaws.
I want to send you my free guide, “5 Days to More Peace, More Prosperity, and More Happiness”. Click here to get the guide for free!
Visit me at www.christinebradstreet.com