Most have about as much interest in a relationship with anxiety as they’d have dangling their jewels near a crocodiles jaw.
However, the consequences of the former (wanting anxiety out of your life forever) could potentially be more catastrophic than the latter (having a croc bite your bollox off!)
Thankfully, few want to play with crocs. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for anxiety.
This mindset of wanting to eliminate anxiety completely is one of the very reasons it persists.
Therefore, by changing your relationship with anxiety — or all emotions for that matter — you can change your life.
And I think that’s worth talking about…
Don’t get me wrong, anxiety is the greatest bastard I’ve ever known. And don’t get me started on the rest of the crew. If they had a pulse, I’d beat them to death using the same ferociousness and brutality they use to destroy the minds of so many.
The paradox of anxiety is the more you grow to hate and resist it, the more it will grow to love and destroy you.
Maybe this is a love story — a deadly one where the victim becomes trapped in an abusive relationship, desperate to escape and scared shitless to do what it takes.
A mind-fuck is a riddle that doesn’t come close to capturing the complexity of what one might be up against when trying to solve their anxious riddle alone. Which, unfortunately, is what most try to do.
If you declare war on your mind, the mind will always win. Unless, of course, you switch up your fighting style.
The phrase, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” springs to mind.
Is ego a contributing factor to the war in your mind? Damn right it is.
Does war ever bring peace? No. It does not.
So, what’s one to do?
Anything that eliminates it entirely from your life, right? That’s the goal. That’s what so many products and services promise — so why would you accept anything else? But, how often do they deliver? And yet these horrible sensations must be exterminated immediately. Forever.
The war strategy doesn’t work. At least not in my experience. You need to drop your ego and rage for an altogether different strategy. You need a ceasefire. And the sooner you wave the white flag — the better.
The cure comes from within, and, for most, it requires a little patience and effort, to say the least. I know that might taste a little like manure — because it’s not what you want to hear — but if you hang up now with that one takeaway, you’ll make your job of getting off that rickety piece of shit tuk-tuk you’re currently riding and hopping on the express train to the good life a hell of a lot easier.
When anxiety ruled my life, I’d go straight to the health section of every newspaper every day praying to learn of a miracle cure to what seemed incurable. I tried everything. All I wanted was a mind not out to destroy me. The claims came as I tirelessly searched for a cure. Bullshit was called again and again. There is no magical cure. The cure lies within you. I’m going to shout that now because it’s worth remembering: THE CURE LIES WITHIN YOU!!
I’m not trying to piss you off, but that’s the sort of reckless entitlement sold everywhere that will ensure you remain fucked.
Every single product, service or course sold on the market is not a cure. Including my own. It’s an aid, a tool, and a compassionate (one would hope) support system for you to open your eyes, create space, look inwards and do the necessary work so the next time you look outwards, your future will look a whole lot better.
In my humble opinion, looking for a definitive cure is ignoring the problem — and trying to ignore it will only enrage it. Does that sound like a relationship you want to be in? One where you allow your resentment to build and build over time?
My friend, you need to befriend it because you can never go back. When anxiety talks, you need to listen. Only after years of fighting and getting nowhere, did I slowly begin to accept that, “ok, if I can just manage this bastard a little then maybe it won’t be too bad.”
So I dropped my standards.
When I did this, I was able to take a step in the right direction, and then another step, and a bigger step, so on and so forth, and all of a sudden life got pretty good. And then I was able to raise my standards again. Yay!
Anxiety is absolutely a handicap and setback in life, but it’s not unique. We all have shit we have to deal with that we don’t want to deal with. You have to go through the process to make things better whether you like it or not. This should be celebrated because every step you take in the right direction will lead to greater confidence, resilience, and hallelujah — less anxiety.
Let’s say life is a game of emotions. The healthier your relationships with your emotions, the better your life will be. Period.
Good relationships are the essence of a good life. Friends, family, partners, your mind, your body, your career, your food, your finances, etc.
Most of us don’t have good relationships with our emotions because we lock them away, and in doing so, we create an environment for all sorts of crap to unfold.
If good relationships are the essence of a good life, and life is a game of emotions, then you have to start looking at your emotions and creating better relationships with them all because the sooner you do that, the better your life will be.
Accept positive emotions won’t always be there and you’ll experience more of them. Accept negative emotions are part of the deal and you’ll experience less of them.
That which we resist persists…
Because everybody wants to be happy and nobody wants anything to do with negative emotions, there will be books and articles and videos and idiots telling you can be happy all the time or you can obliterate all negative emotions from your life. Forever.
You can act on negative emotions to bring back the positive ones. We spend so much time trying to force the positive we end up in the negative. I believe embracing the negative and getting pissed off from time to time is a positive. Otherwise, you’re just repressing what’s natural. And that’s unnatural.
The crippling anxiety I used to experience has been annihilated only because I accept anxiety to be part of my life. I know I can be anxious from time to time. That’s fine. And that attitude is the reason anxiety continues to show up less and less in my life. I still don’t know what the fuck I’m doing in life so of course doubt, worry, fear, anxiety, and sadness shows up from time to time. That’s fine also.
Why do personal development books — especially those on happiness hit the big time all the time? Because as a society, we have unhealthy relationships with our emotions — and happiness is the holy grail!
What happens when you have a healthier relationship with happiness? You experience more happiness in your life. And a healthier relationship with happiness can be as simple as accepting you can’t be happy all the time — and 99% of what you see on Instagram is bullshit!
Everybody is wearing a mask. Your mask might be contributing to someone else’s unhappiness the same way their mask might be contributing to yours.
Because there is such a pervasive fear to expose ourselves, these horrifying diseases continue to explode. All because we don’t have good relationships with our emotions and we’re scared to death of exposing the fact. And I do not think a status update is going to help your cause (read my other shit if you want to know my stance on that).
Life can be wonderful when we experience the full spectrum of emotions. And that means it’s going to suck from time to time. It sucks blue balls when everything is dictated by anxiety, fear or depression. And that cycle becomes impossible to break if your strategy is a fight to the death.
I’ve lived with the entire crew. Jesus, Fuck it was the worst. Today, life is good. And if it’s shit tomorrow, I know it will be great again soon.
What does that say?
Because it went on for 13 years, it says I can fight. That I’m a warrior. When my mind turned against me, I was able to stand up to the bastard. The fighting, however, did me no good. It was exhausting. It cost me years of life. It was ego driven. The same way every stupid war on this planet is. I may have been a warrior to fight the fight, but I had no choice, and my actions just led to inner turmoil when all I wanted was peace.
This is the part I really struggle to communicate, so perk the fuck up because I’m emotional now…
Hindsight is wonderful. It’s taught me everything I know. There is no way things would have gone differently if I went back in time without it.
Most of the help and support I got was worse than useless. Most. Not all. With hindsight, everything could have been different. When I write, I am trying to give you the gift of hindsight.
We’re told to fight, to work harder, to try harder, to suck it up, we’re snowflakes, there’s nothing wrong with us, and we should be grateful for all we have. Fuck you! We’re rarely told to be smarter, and we’re certainly not told how to be smarter. This is the message I believe is so important to drive home. I know you’ll be in deep shit if you’re sitting there hoping for a miracle. I know if you don’t create better relationships with your emotions, especially the negative ones, you’ll only exacerbate them.
Contrarily, I emphatically believe anyone suffering from anxiety can make massive strides in life by improving their relationship with it — regardless of how severe it is.
Individual circumstances and environment, of course, matter.
I get that it’s hard. The system promotes anxiety. I say fuck the system. You don’t have to keep fighting. Your anxiety is talking to you. It’s time to listen. Accept that it’s there and it requires attention.
You wouldn’t shoot for the summit of Everest without having a crack at Kilimanjaro, so drop your standards and stop shooting for the annihilation of your anxiety altogether. One step at a time. Start by changing your relationship with it, and in time, you’ll change your life because of it.
Thanks for reading.
Originally published on my Medium account.
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