Have you ever suffered from worry or anxiety?
In my early twenties, during an unhappy marriage, feeling depressed and pressured to get on with my life’s work, I began having severe panic attacks in which I was convinced I could not breathe. This was pre-internet – no googling ‘how to cure panic attacks’. Instead, I was referred to a local panic support group.
I spent the meeting in a state of outrage at what I heard. The basic premise of the group was, ‘there’s no cure for fear or anxiety, it’s a life-long issue, cope with the panic, take meds, deal with it’. None of that resonated with me.
That meeting was a life-changing experience. I became galvanized to prove differently. Every fiber of my being revolted at the idea of living with that level of fear for the rest of my life – or any level of fear, for that matter. After all, I’d already had a taste of heaven, and I’d felt fearless while I was connected with Source and one with All That Is. At the thought of never feeling that freedom again, I felt a resounding ‘NO WAY’ screaming throughout my entire Being.
Thus began my healing journey. In the self-help books of the eighties, I learned about the power of positive thinking – saying positive affirmations in place the fear-based self-talk. This sounded like it would be more effective than the constant stream of negative thoughts racing through my mind at the time, so soon I was practicing regular yoga, meditation, visualization and saying positive affirmations.
While all of that was beautiful, supportive and sometimes even produced short-term relief, the problem was that I still had all of the same fears and anxiety swirling thru my body when not meditating, affirming or hanging out in headstand. I was a young mother with two active children, and I didn’t have the calling to go join an ashram. Having spontaneous, unplanned panic attacks for the rest of my life was simply not an acceptable option.
Eventually, using ‘positive thinking’ caused me to feel incredibly frustrated because, while I felt better for brief moments, my outer results stayed the same. I was still having regular panic attacks, even while affirming ‘I am now at peace with my world… all is well’. Translation: my life was still filled with pain, fear and suffering. My frustration caused me to grow adamant about learning how to make lasting change; I got to a point where I was so sick of feeling anxious that I was literally willing to do whatever I needed to do in order to end my internal suffering.
As I observed myself more closely, I realized that while I was distracting myself by thinking positive thoughts, saying affirmations, visualizing a better reality and so forth, my subconscious mind was still quietly running the old, negative thoughts anyway, just at a level below my conscious attention. The truth was that all of me didn’t really believe my positive affirmations; the higher part of me believed, but there was definitely a part of me saying something under my breath like, ‘This is bullshit. You don’t really think this is going to work, do you? You are such a stupid idiot. I can’t believe you are even saying all of this crap…’ and so on. Once I clearly heard the part of myself that was negating all of my positive thinking, I realized that by running around saying affirmations all day, I was just trying to brush my issues under the rug rather than actually healing them. I knew, deep down, that there had to be a better way.
Yet there I was, having random attacks of panic that came on without warning and left me feeling sick, shaken and drained with despair. I went thru a phase where I was completely angry with myself and all of my fears. ‘How dare these fear thoughts keep running through my mind without my permission’, I thought. Eventually, I decided I was done with my fear, and that I would do whatever it took to make it go away. I said ‘no’ to my thoughts; they came back. I got mad at my fear-thoughts; they came back. I berated, screamed at and criticized my fear-thoughts; they came back. I begged and pleaded and bargained with my fear-thoughts; they came back. I did my best to avoid and distract myself from my fear-thoughts, and they simply kept coming back.
Finally, at my wits end, I surrendered trying to will my fears away and simply asked my inner guidance for assistance. I was shown that I needed to respond differently to my fear. In fact, I was guided to fully accept my fear in order to heal and resolve it for good. And I don’t mean accept it the way that panic support group meant accept it, as in ‘you’ll have anxiety forever, deal with it’; I mean accept as in the ‘Love, honor, and embrace’ kind of accept it. I was told to start listening to the fear, rather than trying to get rid of, stuff, hide, pacify, soothe, avoid, deny or distract.
Wow, accept my fear from a Loving perspective. What a new concept!
There is a universal law that states ‘what you resist persists’. By trying to avoid, deny, negate your fear – all forms of resistance – your fear will persist to exist. Loving and accepting your fear will produce an entirely different result; your fear will immediately begin to calm down, to melt, to dissolve into nothing in the presence of your compassion.
To heal worry, anxiety or even panic, simply begin to listen to yourself from a place of Love, acceptance and compassion. Say, “When I feel anxious, I can listen to my fears and apply Love and compassion to the part of me that feels scared.” You are so worth becoming free of the fear!
Many Blessings of Joy and Vibrant Freedom
Action Step ~ Stop resisting the fear and begin to listen to your fear-based thoughts with Love, acceptance and compassion. Declaration: “I accept every part of myself as worthy and Lovable. I now listen to my fear-thoughts with Loving acceptance and compassion. I hear myself fully.”