Fear and Anxiety – A Self Compassionate Approach To Change

Do you find yourself in a continuous state of overwhelm and overload? Needing to achieve, have status, gain material possessions. Yet even once those things are acquired still not feeling truly happy.

Constantly Striving

This constant striving and fear of missing out creates both depression and anxiety. Fear from feelings of not having enough, not being enough, that we will never be enough, are often a result of old programs and conditioning. We seem to think the answer is to continue pushing our self harder, striving for even more, accumulating and achieving. At some point we will have enough and then we will feel better about our self.

“If only I had a better car, or a new house, I would be happy.”

“If only I had more money in the bank, I would feel secure”.

We dwell on the “If only” and the “When I get there” thoughts, projecting into the future and rarely living in the now. Losing sight of the fact that those things won’t create true happiness. Those things won’t truly make us feel safe and secure. What we do think is that it will give us a sense of control in our life. The truth is that we don’t have true control over much in our life.

None of us has a crystal ball, well most of us don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t know what will happen next. We don’t know how the future will unfold. Nothing is truly under our control and this is a terrifying thought for most of us.

Filling The Void

Trying to be more in control or avoid the feelings of fear around not having it can lead to chasing after more stuff, or being busy, overstimulating , engaging in addictive behaviors. These distractions may give us momentary relief, we may feel some delight, anticipation, a moment of thrill or excitement, but these do not bring true happiness or the sense of connection which is usually underneath a feeling of not enough.

The other thing we do is try to fill the void with relationships. The hope that another person will make us happy, make us feel complete. That is a lot of pressure to put on another person and an unrealistic expectation. No one else can meet all your needs and if that is the expectation you will be disappointed at some point.

It is time to stop trying to fill the void with external things. There is nothing outside of you that will ever help you feel as though you are enough. That must come from within. Running from the feelings of lack, of not enough only perpetuates the feelings and exacerbates them over time.

Part of the answer is to face your fears, honor the emotions, identify them and think about what might feel better.
By facing our fears we can make friends with them and overcome them with loving kindness and compassion. What happens when we face our fears is that we become able to be present to what we are feeling, and that brings us closer to a peaceful state of acceptance.

When we can let go of our fears we can experience the beauty of the world all around us and the miracle of life in each moment.This is sometimes easier said than done, but once the trick is learned, it becomes much simpler with practice.

So How Do We Make Friends With Our Fears?

The first step is to become aware of what we are fearful of. Sometimes our fears manifest as anxiety, and sometimes as anger. Underneath anger is a fearful clinging as we try to control an outcome to our liking. When we experience anger, we need to remind ourselves that we are not in control, of anything! We need to do the same when we experience fear or anxiety.

So, the next time we find ourselves feeling fear, anxiety or anger, it is necessary to stop, and notice the emotion. Experience it. Then, become aware that we are holding on to the emotion.

Holding on to the emotion can become a habitual way of being, it feels comfortable because it is there so frequently, the truth is feeling better may feel foreign. However, the reality is, it is not necessary for us to continue to feel this way. When we can accept our self the way we are, we can learn to live more and more in a state of open-hearted loving kindness towards ourselves and others.

The Practice

Once we have identified, acknowledged, and experienced what it is we are feeling, we have become conscious of the emotion. Then we are in an ideal position to send the emotion waves of love and compassion. It will be a process, getting comfortable with feeling a new way, being open to the possibility that I can be happy and feel at peace no matter what is going on in my life and in the world around me. I am not saying it is easy, just that it is possible and asking you to be open to that possibility for your own well being.

Imagine you are surrounded by and engulfed with the emotion in loving kindness. You might imagine it as just a feeling or you can imagine it as a cocoon of white golden light surrounding you. Stay with the feeling, allow a sense of calm to come in, focus on the breath, the sensations in your body, be present in the moment. Do not judge yourself in this moment, just be present with whatever you notice. Just notice it, feel it, and send it lots of love and compassion. The negative feelings will dissolve and you will feel much better. You will start to experience more peace and contentment.

Make this a daily practice. Throughout the day, bring yourself into the present moment as much as possible. Remind yourself that in the here and now you are enough, you have enough, there is nothing to fear in this moment.

Namaste, Maryjane

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