This is one book author’s opinion, and I am leaning toward believing he’s right:
“Anxiety symptoms (as well as depression) can be the psyche’s way of pushing you to explore and actualize an unrealized potential in your life…” – Edmund J. Bourne
This sentence, the one I am now typing and you are reading, has already been a handful of other sentences that I have deleted. I’ve meant the words and ideas, but read them over and they seem so phony and is it even fair to dish out advice or opinions when you have trouble accepting them for yourself?
It has been a good year for me. A year of working hard, making scary changes (edit: they weren’t that scary at all, I came to find), facing fears and sometimes really good dumb luck. But my focus on all the changes shifted me away from my desire to constantly be proactive in self-development and self-improvement. I know, I know. If you rolled your eyes, I can’t blame you. Though I can testify in my own experience, surrounding myself with books, dvd’s, audio books or podcasts, blogs and (when I’m fortunate enough) people that all focus on uplifting and inspiring me to work through my messes and get better, I can’t help but start to absorb it a little.
If we are products of our environments, why shouldn’t we surround ourselves with the things that will help us grow? (That includes the challenging stuff, the stuff where we are forced to accept Gasp! Maybe I need to take some responsibility for this even though blaming others is so much eeeeeasier.)
Growing up, for many years of my life, my FAVORITE experience was going to summer camp for one week every July. At the campfire, we’d gather around to listen to the spooky stories of camp history, and participate in sing-along-songs. One of my favorites was “Going on a Bear Hunt”.
In the song, full of hand motions and funny noises made with your mouth, a group of people go on a bear hunt (*Note: by “hunt” I’m sure they mean just observe the bear in it’s natural habitat and then leave it alone peacefully… right?) and come across obstacles on their path. When they come across mud for example, “Can’t go over it… can’t go under it… can’t go around it… GOTTA GO THROUGH IT!”
Thhhfffpt. Thhhfffpt. Thhhfffptt…. Back on the road.
Last night I was working through a book about anxiety and panic. I picked it up at a used book sale for a few dollars. Tucked into the middle of pages 74 and 75, I found this note from the former owner:
I felt a bit like I may have violated someone, though with no idea who wrote the note, it’s more like my very own Post Secret discovery. These are someones thoughts, beliefs, “real life” as they see it, and it’s full of pain. It’s a physical manifestation of the perceived truths of a hurt person.
I found myself re-reading it over and over, and feeling compassion and wishing that whoever made the list has found peace in his or her heart. Now I wonder why it is so hard for us to do that for ourselves.
Please remember to extend the kindness and love you have for others to your own self. Challenge negative self-talk with the words of encouragement you give to others. And I will try and do the same.