For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling angst– the fancy word for anxiety and fear. I “didn’t” know where it was coming from, or at least that’s what I told myself. I asked one of my spiritual teachers, “Why do I feel this way? How do I let it go?” She responded, “Sit with it.” My silent reply was, “Yeah right…How?” I stay so busy that sometimes I don’t even know how to sit; when to sit, especially with myself. Life comes with so many distractions that “keep” me busy. It keeps me from going within and digging for the real answers. I’ve realized that distractions and busy-ness are a way of running from my myself, my fears, and from asking “What haven’t I accomplished? What am I angry/anxious/sad about? What unsolved pain still needs my attention? What dreams am I not pursuing?”
Can you relate?
Adult life happens and unexpected situations or events always arise facilitating that sense of “busyness.” We stop sitting and talking to our self because sitting with our self is sometimes anxiety provoking. To avoid or suppress this anxiety, we project. We project unto others our own fears/insecurities/worries. We also blame; blame others for what we have not been “able” to accomplish. We blame for having “all this on my plate.” What we really are saying is, “I focus on you because focusing on me takes too much work and that can be painful.” It would require silent introspection without the infamous blame tool.
If we catch ourselves in a moment of anxiety, questions we can ask to spark our inner exploration are:
- What am I avoiding about myself?
- Could it be that I’ve become disconnected from my true self due to becoming used to my routine self?
- Could it be that I want more but I have become afraid of its pursuit?
- Am I limiting myself due to my daily routine? If so, how?
- Have I normalized monotony in exchange of some of my own desires, dreams, and plans? If so, why? What am I running from?
- What am I really worried about?
For instance, I thought my anxiety had to do with fear of failure, fear of not being “good” at “that;” fear of making the “wrong decision.” After seeking clarity through meditation, it hit me! My problem was not fear of failure. I had to be honest and ask, who would I fail? Me? Others? I reflected, and asked, “Am I really worried about failing me or about failing others and their reactions, their opinions, their judgments? Can I really fail me? And if I do, isn’t it my life anyway? Can I fix MY mistake?”
I realized I didn’t fear failure; I feared others’ reactions. As a human, I am here to learn. I cannot fail myself when I’m in this life to learn. Learning can also come through wonderful experiences called “mistakes.” The problem should not be about failing me since I should keep in mind that I am bound, as a human, to commit errors.
We, as social beings, have the need to belong. Truth is that we care. When making a decision for our own growth if we focus on the external and/or others we might become scared of rejection and not belonging. Then, we tend to limit our response or choices due to fear of judgment. If instead we focused internally and applied the same concept of caring about others to how we care about ourselves, then we replace fear with a growth opportunity. Our fear of rejection would dissipate, maybe even disappear.
It dawned upon me that due to emotional conditioning from past traumas, I developed a fear of rejection, so I, at some point, became this person that applied strict restrictions to avoid feeling some type of way…a.k.a. “rejected.” In reality, I was masking my vulnerability. I had chosen to “hide” myself, limit myself, run from my pain/fear/concerns but by doing so I fostered anger and frustration. Who am I kidding? How could I avoid fear or pain if it’s inside me? The answer to my dilemma was I can only confront my negative emotion by sitting with “it” and talking to ME about it.
As I sat, I asked, “Am I really afraid of failing others? Am I rejecting me in some way?” The answer is yes to both questions. It’s okay. We all have fears. At least, I do. But I also want to grow. Do you?
I then invite you to give this a try. Sit with yourself for ten minutes. Time yourself. You might realize that within three minutes you’ll feel anxious and as if five minutes have gone by. Practice patience. Listen to what comes up for you. You are valuable. You are strong. You’re a badass! Just remember, YOU decide what YOU do with YOUR time, YOUR fears and Yourself.
With much appreciation and thankful for your following,