I am the last person to deny anxiety. I am a queen of anxiety. I have an app in which I record my moods daily (of which there are many) and I frequently check the anxious face, along with the worried face, and the stressed one, and the tense one...
Keep in mind this is when I am meditating and doing physical activity of some kind...which makes me think I could probably stand a few anxiety hypnosis sessions, if not mood altering substances.
I feel anxious every day. Literally - every day - at least once a day, if not sixty-three times daily I am anxious. I don't mean just a little uncomfortable - I mean gut-twisting, nausea-wrangling, lip-biting, nail-drumming anxious.
I carry it in my shoulders. This means they are super tight, up to my ears, and often hunched when I'm going through a particular spell of high stress.
You may have surmised my life is a little stressful these days. Truthfully I am probably more anxious now than I have been since junior high (another story for another time). Then it was a daily battle with the self - a struggle to decide status, acceptance, and place. It's been almost twenty years and while certain elements were released and resolved, new ones grew to take their place. That's crazy.
This anxiety I carry around is crazy. It has been a personal obstacle in more than one situation. It has stopped me from so many things, which seems strange because if you know my history, you know I've done a lot. I mean, I lived in India for six months and it didn't stop me then!
Now you're wondering what it did stop me from doing.
Maybe pursing a doctorate earlier? Trying a crazy entrepreneurial idea to the fullest extent? Calling a long-lost and well-loved friend on the phone to confess life moments? I don't know if it was just the anxiety. I know that was a part of it. I know there was a part of me when I was younger that just couldn't handle the idea of settling down into any kind of set structure. I know there was a part of me that couldn't handle the idea of failing at anything because I've lived under the crippling shadow of perfectionism from more than one quarter. There were expectations and there was always the thought in the back of my mind that I would be imposing - that I couldn't afford it - that I wasn't good enough - that they had other friends in person who were closer or more important - that I wasn't worth the time. These were the words that repeated over and over again.
It doesn't matter how successful or brilliant or amazing a person is - they are still vulnerable. There are still pieces deep in the bowels of a person's soul that are hidden, protected by layer upon layer of acquired emotional armor. But I heard someone say, it isn't the protected who have power. Those with mech-warrior battlements are more brittle than shale, weaker than mica. The armored cannot expose themselves. They cannot become close. They cannot grow outside their protective shell.
The world belongs to the vulnerable - the weak - those willing to expose their soft underbellies to the light of day. Those who hand their hearts and minds to others - despite the risk of betrayal, ridicule, and destruction - own all social power. They are the ones who risk everything, and like a good stock broker, they could lose it all. But they could also win the day. Their rewards could be richer than their wildest dreams, all because they risk everything.
Shed your anxiety. Be vulnerable. It pays better.