When I had gotten to the point in my life where I allowed my anxiety to paralyze me, I decided I had to turn that around to serve me instead of punish me. I wrote a letter to it. I spoke to it. I verbalized it and I meditated on it until I felt a shift in my personal power. Practice this for yourself and transform your pain to purpose.
Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book: Spaghetti Scars
Dear Anxiety, Dear Younger Me:
I understand your fears about the future. Your life has not been entirely pleasant for you up until now. I know you have been let down by those you had hoped you could trust and depend on. I understand that your holding me back from living and experiencing things is your way of telling me that if I take a chance, especially in love, I may be heartbroken, disappointed, and sad again. You believe that by creating fear in me, you will stop me from making more bad choices. So you have convinced me not to take a chance in love.
You don’t yet realize that choosing not to choose is yet another choice. Sometimes, you speak in a whisper, subtly reminding me that the chances and choices I have made in the past have led me to heartache. Sometimes you speak as an earthquake rumbling inside of me, shaking me at the very core of my being, making me afraid of another eruption in my life. Your relentless takeover of my mind has given rise to my fears about the future, fears about the present.
I know you are only trying to protect from pain: pain that you believe has come to predict our future. I constantly hear the many ruminating questions that you replay over and over again. Questions about being alone forever, my not having a family of my own, not being able to pay bills or keep up the rent or pay everyone back. Questions, questions, questions! Questions that cannot be answered right now, but that you keep asking. And in so doing, you have paralyzed me from growing, learning, and thriving. What if I am alone forever? What if I can’t pay off my debt right away? What if this is all there is? If my life is only about giving, giving, giving, working, working, working, then what’s the point of it all? There’s no moving forward without looking back, and in looking back you refuse to move forward.
So where is my balance? You are stuck inside my body circulating like the blood that runs through my veins. I understand the depth of worry, fear, and lack of confidence you have in your ability to open your heart to love and life and to be supported when you are imperfect. Fear feels like your friend, your protector, and your savior from pain. Your language only speaks to me in doubt and uncertainty, so I believe it’s imperative that I challenge you with some of my own questions about that.
Does love really equate pain in all situations? You’ve witnessed your brother’s loving and supportive marriage, and yet don’t you see his happiness? Does getting your heart broken mean it can’t be repaired or healed? After all the healing that you see in your clients, how is not obtainable by you? Are we really happy living like this, not taking risks or chances? Did your dad give up and allow himself to live in fear of dying, or did he choose to live in every moment and make it the best moment he could? Did you learn anything from watching your mom choose to be bitter at how her life turned out, or do you believe she had the power to shift that? After all, haven’t you made it a life mission to convince her that there can be peace and happiness after trauma?
I thank you for doing everything in your power to protect me from the pain you are so afraid of. That tells me how much you care about me. But please understand that pain has purpose. Just as a wound tells you that it needs tending, so does your heart’s pain. The choices that you made have made you who you are. You have been able to teach others from your past, your pain, and your heartache.
Thank you, Anxiety, you have done your job. I will use you when I need a warning that something is not healthy, and I will tame your energy when you are preventing me from a new experience in life. Just as a wave needs the wind to propel it forward, I will transform the energy of fear into purpose and use that energy in a productive way. I will adapt to you when are present, as I am sure you will not leave me forever. I now know when you show up, it’s time to listen to what you are trying to tell me. I will transform your energy into a loving and calm voice that reminds me that I can choose to allow you to silence my soul into a sleepwalking state of being, or I can choose to hear your loving warning in order to bring me back to life. When I feel you, I will proceed with caution, but I will live in awareness and openness, for I have learned that without feeling my heart, even when it hurts, I cannot nurture my growth towards happiness.
My inner child does not want to be scared of life anymore, living frozen in time. She wants to hold my hand and live. She wants to feel joy in the moment, and she wants to have a future to look forward to. We will stay connected from here on. We will listen to the water, we will embrace the wind, and we will ride the wave in anticipation of what’s next.
Action Affirmation: Dear Anxiety, I manage you, not the other way around. In this moment, I own my power. I own my anxiety, I own me.