I woke up this morning with these words in my head. It may be the fact that the previous day I had been having a conversation with a friend around this topic or perhaps it’s an appropriate discussion point in today’s uncertain world. We have always had uncertainty in our lives but recently it feels like things have ramped up a level.
I know in my own life that I hold fears and anxiety about the future – where will I be in 5 years? Will I be earning enough money to live a fully sustainable life doing the things that I love? Will my family and friends be ok? The list of questions and thoughts goes on. The point is that we really have little control over what is happening in the outside world but we have a lot of influence over what is happening within us and the actions that we decide to take as a result of this. In my own case I could spend a lot of my time thinking about all the things that could go wrong however I’ve become aware of how unproductive this is. I think it’s important to acknowledge how you feel and what you’re thinking in the present moment but then something needs to shift in order for you to move forward.
During one of these periods of angst and fear I asked myself what was at the core of this fear or anxiety. And the answer that came up was that I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to handle whatever happened to me. And this led me to understand that I inherently had a lack of trust in myself to deal with the things that occurred in my life outside of what I wanted or expected. It was a huge moment as I realised that the issue wasn’t out there (leading to my planning and rigidity in certain situations) but rather it was my thinking and beliefs which were inside of me. I have found that there are several ways to deal with this but what worked for me was really hearing this fear and feeling it in my body and then comforting myself with kind and supportive words. It was treating myself like a good friend would treat me which left me with a lovely feeling in my heart as well as feeling the tension leave my body. I think in this technology filled world we have lost touch with ourselves and seek distraction from how we’re thinking and feeling. But this can only provide momentary relief and will not address the underlying anxiety or fear. In fact it can be the fear of feeling our emotions that keep us locked in that cycle of fear and anxiety but I learnt from a great breath works therapist that your feelings only want to be acknowledged and felt; they’re not there to torture you. Learning to acknowledge and accept my feelings has been one of the best gifts in my life and allows me to be more present in my life rather than being caught up in my head with pointless recurring thoughts.
So if you’re willing to try an exercise, I suggest setting aside 10-15 minutes to sit in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. I like to put my hand on my heart with my eyes closed as it keeps me in the present moment and then become aware of the thoughts and feelings that are there. Allow them to surface in the mind and be felt in the body without any other purpose than simply being there with whatever is happening. There is nothing better than being with someone who just accepts you completely and doing this exercise is the start of being this loving and accepting person for yourself. The first few sessions may feel awkward and uncomfortable but this is perfectly normal and just observing this can be an interesting process. Once you have allowed yourself to feel (give yourself as long as you need) think of what a really good friend or wise person would say to you to comfort you and start reassuring yourself in this way. It may be quietly in your mind that you’re talking to yourself or speaking aloud if that feels right for you. If you’re unsure what to say to yourself I would find some quotes from Louise Hay (the queen of affirmations) and start with these.
I hope this exercise gives you feelings of peace and love like it did for me.