I hope that you all had a calm and loving Christmas and I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and everyone of my clients and followers a very happy and healthy new year.
My first blog of 2017 is an important one, it is all about what I believe after having a very long journey with Anxiety myself in the past, to be one of the most important tools in overcoming any issue that you face.
This Blog is all about SELF ACCEPTANCE.
It sounds easy doesn't it, to accept yourself just as you are, be the real you all the time and not be scared to show this real you to the world?
It is actually surprisingly difficult to really be who you are without caring what anyone else thinks of you and to accept your faults, traits, feelings and behaviours as just part of you.
This is achieved by developing a healthy self concept and learning to have your own self worth. So thinking well of you despite the negative opinions of yourself that you may have had or any negative opinions about you from others that you may have taken on. It is about learning that nobody is perfect and that it is ok to be you. You are what you are and are perfect just how you are, whatever your good or bad points.
You can learn to be happy and accepting of yourself with or without anxiety and you can be accepted by the right others for exactly who you are, if only you drop the act and become the real you.
You can stop feeling that you are odd or different or caring what others think of you. You can also make a choice to believe that bad things happen to everyone in life at some point, nothing can be changed or forgotten once it has happened and so it is up to the individual to make a choice of how they deal with things and move forwards.
Most importantly with true self acceptance you can stop hiding the parts of you that you only hide from fear of judgement from others, in other words what others may think of you. This is really key in anxiety as when we have these symptoms we hide them, through fear of shaming ourselves, looking different to others or standing out, but actually that then makes the anxiety a painful secret and increases the fear of letting out the feelings, so we keep them in, suppress and fear them or avoid situations all together and this makes our anxiety/panic situation much worse.
Anxiety is the result of suppressed feelings and avoidance, so that won't work.
Having Self acceptance becomes about trusting the process of anxiety whether you like it or not, being open to what it can teach you and trusting in yourself and your own ability to deal with it.
It is about beginning to take responsibility for you and your anxiety, because ultimately it will be you that learns to cope with the feeling and sensations of fear until it becomes insignificant, and you and you alone that will move you towards remission. No one can take this away for you, it is up to you to stand up and be counted and to take this on and win.
This process starts with just accepting you, just exactly how you are.
When we suffer the scary and weird thoughts and feelings that are associated with anxiety or when we think that what we are worrying about for the future may come true, but if we are honest, what we are really saying is:
" I am so scared that, what I am thinking about is going to happen, and if it does I WONT COPE WITH THAT"
All the time we doubt our own ability to handle anything that life may actually throw at us or that we imagine in our heads it will.
A lot of the time this self doubt comes from not liking, accepting or trusting ourselves already as we have a negative self worth and self concept all ready in place.
This is because on some level there are aspect of ourselves that we don't like, whether that has come from us or from the influence and opinions of key people around us, there is a bottom line usually saying. I don't like myself or aspects of myself and I doubt my own abilities.
We can dislike traits of personality we have, parts of our body, or things that happen to us that compound those beliefs even more such as anxiety. Anxiety can be a part of us that we see as a massive weakness, a sign we are bad or weird or may have to suffer shame or rejection as a result of it. Anxiety could make self worth or self concept worse as we feel we must suppress those feelings and never show anyone, but suppression of feelings is anxiety and avoidance of self is still avoiding, one of the behaviours linked to anxiety that makes things much worse.
Underneath we tend to have some kind of belief that says we are weird, wrong in some way, bad, not deserving, not accepted or not respected for who we are. We probably felt this long before we got anxiety. These can be our own beliefs about ourselves (self worth) or thoughts that we have about ourselves usually based on the responses to us from others (Self Concept)
Anxiety is like a comfort blanket that we wrap ourselves in, often when we feel unhappy about something inside. I know that this sounds like a huge statement, but in my experience there is some truth in it. Quickly it becomes a habit and that habit quickly feels more familiar than not having anxiety, so each time we hit stressful times in the future, out comes the blanket. It doesn't matter that having anxiety is a horrible place to be, fearful, dark and frightening because even though we find it hard to believe, this becomes our safety, what we know and how we know how to be. It becomes our normal so living without anxiety becomes the harder thing to do. Think about it.
Ultimately, there has to come a moment where we have to find a way to move forward with all the bits about yourself that you don't like, after all you will be taking them with you even if you don't accept them, so it can feel bad or good. There is an element of choice and an element of changing thinking patterns that no longer work for you.
The secret is not to try and change yourself, or your anxiety or anything else about you, rather to learn to see you through new lenses because you are perfect just as you are. Anxiety or no anxiety and if you find a way, you will also find that you have taken a very powerful step in reaching remission of symptoms.
Until my next blog,
Wishing you all good health and happiness,