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Archive for April, 2011

Anxiety

Anxiety has been a long term companion in my life. I’ve spent many hours professionally helping people who struggle with their anxiety, some of whom, at points, have been so crippled by it that it seems to define their life. I have also spent many years managing my own tendency to be anxious, learning to understand it, accept it, talk about it, know what works.

Anxiety, like depression, or other things that we struggle with mentally, is something that intuitively we avoid talking about. For nearly everyone who suffers with anxiety there is always an element of personal insecurity- telling ourselves we should be better. So talking about one of our flaws doesn’t seem like a good pathway to feeling better about ourselves.

However, accepting our anxiety, realising it is just a part of us, which will often show up alongside other things that we are doing, and committing ourselves to making decisions about a richer, fuller life, is one of the cornerstones to getting it under control. I’ve noticed this week how anxiety shows up in parents. One parent I heard of who was paying their ten year old child for every goal they score personally in a football game, clearly has lots of anxiety about wanting their children to be successful, motivated winners.

Lots of parents, while driven to try and construct their children’s lives for them, to make sure they are visibly successful, and never dissapointed, angry or upset, probably wouldn’t understand that this was their own anxiety showing up. For me as a parent, I have realised, with the help of my children, that because I value human relationships and the joy of feeling connected to people, my anxiety has shown up over the years in providing them with unnecessary coaching about how to deal with relationships. Nicki helped me realise that being on the other end of this doesnt feel like someone is giving you pearls of wisdom which may prevent you making mistakes, instead it feels like someone doesn’t have confidence that you will make good decisions for yourself.

I suppose like a lot of things, it comes down to self awareness and listening carefully to the important people in our lives about how our behaviour affects them. It’s also about accepting who we are, imperfect, with all our quirks and flaws.

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