This post is for all my worriers out there. My anxious minded friends. Heck this post is probably for everyone, I think we all have days when we feel like throwing our hands up and saying, "how is this supposed to go, cause I'm tired of trying so hard and getting nowhere". I am no spiritual guru, just a girl with my own story. But maybe if we can open up about the things that cause us fear and shame, we can all navigate this life together.
I was tired. I had a rough week, the anxiety had worn me down. It had me fixated on something that may or may not have been serious, but my anxious mind has lost it’s ability to decipher what is a rational thought and what is not. Is it cancer or is it just the flu…that's the kind of stuff that breaks me. I am in chronic fight or flight, there is no middle ground.
I have shared before how anxiety can start running my show, and on this particular night I was over it. I could continue to live in constant fear, believing the world was out to get me, and spend my days with my cup only half full, or I could throw caution to the wind and let go of all my self-depleting thoughts and be free. You might be thinking, heck ya, throw those garbage thoughts out the window, let it go, life is too short to be living like that! But to me, that would be too risky. I carry around my shield of anxiety like I carry around hand sanitizer. I refuse to be naive enough to believe that I am so special that bad things will pass me by. This world doesn’t owe me any favours. If I let the walls down someone could get hurt. You have to understand, I have been repeating the same fearful thought patterns for a very long time, trying something new would be as risky as eating at a late night hot dog stand. It could be the best hot dog I ever did eat, or I could have some serious regrets and repercussions, if you know what I mean. (I could have used a better analogy, I agree...)
In this moment of exhaustion I decided I would just sit quietly and try to breath into the black abyss of my mind so that I didn’t have to deal with what was my messed up version of consciousness, aka meditation. And this is what inner Anna had to say.
- I deserve to be happy.
Me? Deserve happy? There are others out there that need it more. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine, I’ll carry on. You see I know I have a really nice life. If I didn’t live in suburbia you would see a white picket fence wrapping around my house. I have been blessed since I was a little girl, from my loving parents, a very normal happy childhood, to finding my best friend in my husband. I have two beautiful daughters, the best friends a girl could ask for, and am blessed to live in a great community with ample opportunity. How dare I ask for more. And this is why... I believe I deserve a few more bumps. I suspect suffering must come to me in some form, I can't get away that easy. Therefore the shield stays up. Strong & high! Ahh, your thinking it... she cray-cray!
But that evening when I calmed my mind down and pushed all the fearful thoughts out, I was able to take a peak to the other side of my “safety wall”, and I was left with this vision of happy Anna. I wasn’t on the beaches of Hawaii or anything, I was just sitting, smiling, breathing easy. There weren’t 50lb weights on either shoulder. I was light as air. The world didn't seem so threatening. My cup was half full, and it felt good. I could have happiness. I can have happiness. And dare I say I deserve to be happy. We all do. Which leads to epiphany #2.
2. I need to be friends with myself.
It’s time to start loving me instead of hating on me. When is the last time I thought to myself “hey, you are ok you know, I kinda like you”, or “you are doing a really great job of being a Mom”. Ya, I don't think I've ever thought that. If I treated other humans the way I treated myself I would be very lonely. I am never enough, I could never ever reach the standards I have created for myself. And even if I did check off a goal or two, I doubt it would be done as well as someone else could have done it.
But what if I said “Hey Anna, I like you, let’s be on the same team now”. What if I had enough compassion to let myself fail and enough love to let myself succeed, wouldn’t that be nice? I made an intention then and there to be friends with myself. To treat me kinder.
3. This is a beautiful world.
And then there was number three, and something I am going to practice and work at daily because old me has a habit of seeing the world as a bowl of toilet water. On the daily, I see nothing but disease, political unrest, global warming, people doing bad things, and bad things happening to good people. (and that's just 5 minutes on Facebook).
So what if changed my negative view and focused on all the good around me? Yes, sad things happen, unfair things happen, and they just might. But I can choose to see this world as beautiful. I believe in a God that really loves us, and put us here to be happy and live full lives. That love I feel for my daughters, the joy I feel when I hear them laugh or see them happy, I truly believe that love inside me is coming from a higher power.
So although I am aware that sad things can and will happen, I am choosing to believe in something bigger and better, I am choosing happy.
Now the kicker is that I have been addicted to my fears for so long I think I have literally trained my neural pathways to in a bad circuit. So I imagine it will probably take more than a couple meditation sessions to change my ways. It will take courage to overcome fearful thoughts, practice to remind myself that I am worthy of happiness in this beautiful world, and compassion to remember that I can be my own best friend.
So in reading this I hope ya’ll don’t call the authorities to save me or feel like you have to drop off soup or anything. I’m ok, I really am! I have been blessed with a pretty happy resting state, and I've got lots of love around me. I share so that hopefully others won't feel alone. Maybe I'm not the only one out there feeling all cray-cray in this big world. I would wager there are a lot of people that appear to have it all together but deep down inside they are a little unsteady too. And if we are willing to be a tad bit vulnerable maybe our expectations of this life won't be so unattainably perfect and we can roll with the punches with a bit more grace.
All I’m saying is that when the bad days come, take a deep breath and remember… you are loved, and this is a beautiful world. xo