When you look for clues about how to resolve anxiety, have you noticed how many sites talk about fighting it? Beating anxiety. Winning the battle with anxiety. Tips to fight anxiety. Revealing battle with anxiety. How I beat anxiety. The anxiety was winning. Battling with anxiety. Defeating it, winning the battle with anxiety…
If you suffer from anxiety, you must have tried to fight it too. You were wrestling with the problem that is a struggle to overcome. Fighting with yourself, for being weak, inadequate, insufficient and not fighting enough. Battling with fear that seems to have all the power. Then attacking yourself for not having enough strength to win. Fighting with the mind, for being pathetic. Berating, reprimanding, gathering ammunition, primarily against the only person you are trying to save.
On the whole, pretty aggressive vocabulary, isn’t it? And it is not just anxiety, but every emotional condition (addictions, depression) is supposed to be fought, battled, resisted and combated until it goes away.
Those aggressive words are not just words. They are a lie. They create combative attitudes even though such attitudes make things worse. The words are a call for action that leaves people defeated and exhausted.
The words are not just words. There are much more than that. They have the ability to penetrate your subconscious and convince it that this is ‘the only way’. They have programmed you, and everybody else who suffers from anxiety, for aggressive, combative action. Action that can’t possibly work.
Those words fire up fight/flight reactions in your body. They stir up the chemistry in your body that was meant to be used in fights. They made your subconscious believe that if you stop fighting, you would die. Because it is a war after all. Your body can’t keep up with this. Fighting with external enemy was never meant to last that long. Fighting with internal enemy goes on for ever.
This is why you feel so exhausted before you even get out of bed, this is why you have no energy left to do things, to remember things, to engage with things. Your body resources are being used up to fight.
But what is it specifically that you are fighting against? So relentlessly? There is no enemy outside of you that threatens to kill you. There is no real enemy to fight. You are fighting you, you mind, your body, your fears.
This is what truly lies behind your anxiety; a war against yourself. At the end of the day, your enemy is you. You fighting you. And the only way to stop anxiety is to stop this fight. The internal conflict feeds and fuels the anxiety. But as Wayne Dyer said, the conflict can’t survive without your participation. Your subconscious, programmed to upkeep the battle will protests at the beginning. But when you see the results, it will eventually stop.
The solution is not to be more of anything or less of anything, because when goal is to change who you are, you are still fighting. Instead, the best place to start is with some gentle acceptance. Acceptance of everything. This is the first step, but the most important one too; accepting anxiety, your sensitivity, your habits, your fears, your weaknesses.
This is you and this is it, and this is who you are. And you judge yourself harshly. Make that okay too. You are not trying to change things, but make peace with them. Accepting your exhausted, depleted body and the mind that tried so hard. And that’s fine. The acceptance means complete okay-ness with everything. Everything that is now and has been in the past.
It may take a while to find this acceptance easily but you can. Accepting a little bit at a time, the imperfect you, the tendency to battle, to over-think, to worry, to expect the worst. The sensitivity you don’t like about yourself. Accept, accept accept. But there are also other things, remember? Things that are not that bad after all. Your kindness, your willingness to do better, your curious mind, your still-working-so-well-body…
Can you feel some relief already?