Anxiety, Control and Choice…

Our-anxiety-does-not-come-from-thinking-about-the-future-but-from-wanting-to-control-it.-768x768Do you fear that if you don’t manage to control the outcome of future events, something terrible will happen?  Maybe you are continuously in a heightened state of stress with only brief, unsatisfying periods of relief.

Maybe you are searching for certainty in a world that is tentative and uncertain.  It is precisely this unrealistic demand that creates anxiety.  You think that you must accurately predict and manage the future.

So, the key to controlling your anxiety is letting go of your demand for certainty- giving up your unrealistic perfectionism about reality.  Facing the inherent and unavoidable uncertainty of the future can indeed seem formidable if you demand certainty.  But letting go of this demand is the key to letting go of your fear.  If you don’t have to control the outcome; if you do not expect to predict with certainty what is by its nature uncertain; if you do not expect to solve a contradiction; then you are free to relax.
It is about accepting responsibility, not for the future but for the choices you freely make about the future.  What is in your power?  You have the power to say “I won’t fear the future.”  You have the power to say “I won’t resign myself to living a life of fear.”  You always have the power to say no more to such a life.  What you don’t have the power to do is to know what the future holds with any certainty.

Is Shame the same as guilt?

20190501_110436Shame and guilt may at first seem similar but are in fact very different. Guilt is something we feel if we have DONE something wrong. Shame is a feeling that we ARE wrong. In childhood we may have been teased or bullied at school or have been the last one chosen to be on a team, or not known the answers when called upon in the classroom, or have been rejected by the girl or boy we had a crush on.

Shame is a powerful emotion. When you think back to the shaming experiences of your childhood it is likely that you are catapulted right back to those painful moments—almost as if you were experiencing them today. Shame is a feeling deep within us of being exposed and unworthy. When we feel shamed we want to hide. We hang our heads, stoop our shoulders and curve inward as if trying to make ourselves invisible

The sinking feeling in your stomach, the experience of suddenly feeling very small, inadequate or “less than” other people. The feeling of wanting to hide out of embarrassment.

“Shame is the sense that we dont belong. It’s a conviction that we are intrinsically defective, even in a way that we cannot identify. We believe there is something wrong with us, and so we are excluded and unwanted. We are outside the group. We don’t belong.” Carolyn Spring

Working with shame involves developing self compassion alongside the compassion of others who can validate every ounce of pain you are feeling giving you hope that it can be soothed.

Your needs are not wrong, they are the essence of you.

Anxiety

“We can’t stop the waves but we can learn to surf” John Kabat-Zinn.

Anxiety is a state of being…an alarming physical/chemical response to the neglect of the emotional body. The physical body tells us, “Something is not right.”     For example, I am sad. I don’t want to be sad. I try all day to feel happy, and by the end of the day, I am anxious. However if I acknowledge anxiety and I might ask myself what emotion is hiding beneath the anxiety? Ah, sadness. My old friend. I acknowledge sadness, invite her in, maybe I cry for a while, and the anxiety lessens. To sit with uncomfortable emotions such as fear, sadness, resentment, insecurity, or any of their relatives as they surge in like a tide, we must acknowledge their arrival and spend time listening to where they came from. When you refuse to greet them, they transform into anxiety…impatiently waiting in a dark corner of the mind. It takes courage and self compassion to invite these feelings in but know that they will pass and the anxiety lessen. Also remember that you aren’t alone and although at times it can seem as though nobody understands, yourself included, there will be somebody or something that can help. Ultimately, though, only you can make the biggest difference by taking that first step towards accepting anxiety and what is hiding underneath.

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Dragonflies and their symbolism…

The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.

As we move into Autumn, the leaves on the trees begin to turn, the hedgerows are full of crabapples, blackberries, rosehips and sloes – a bounty to be found  before everything dies back and lays dormant. As nature sheds itself in the most predictable way, so might we also let go of what we no longer need. What is holding you back? It might feel good to let go of  feelings, thoughts and behaviours that are not serving you anymore. The dragonfly symbolises change and nature reminds us each year that change is necessary in order that we can grow.

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