Over the past couple of months, it has become more and more clear to me that I have a fairly constant level of anxiety….pretty much most of the time I am awake. It’s often at a low level, or maybe just low for me. If others could get inside my head, they might think different. Sometimes, it rears its head as frustration, exhaustion, anger, overwhelm.
I realized it in my resistance to feel, or to do things until I felt just right, in my inability to feel comfortable in certain situations. When I bring it up, friends say they don’t see it, but having felt total EASE in my life, I am aware of the resistance inside.
Lately, I am in limbo in life. I want to make some big changes, but it’s not quite time, and I am in a holding pattern, which is cRaZy anxiety-provoking for me! I want a plan I can execute, but I just spin and spin and spin. And when I stop, it feels unnerving (and that’s a sign I need to dig in)…so I stopped. I stopped planning, stopped figuring out what to DO, stopped feeling I had to be doing more, and I journaled. And I want to share what came out, because somehow I had let my inner critic run amok in my brain, and it’s cost me so much joy.
Anxiety, it’s driving me to obsession
I don’t know what life is without anxiety
-over what I look like (according to my inner critic)
-over what I “need” to do
-not having a plan
-Not knowing enough
-not eating healthy enough
-not exercising enough
-not pretty enough
-not skinny enough
-not muscular enough
-not flexible enough
-not focused enough
Do you see a pattern here? NOT ENOUGH
Not only am I hearing that inside my head, but it clearly doesn’t matter the subject, because the message is that it’s NOT ENOUGH.
So, I took it further into things that I feel more ok about, and then I had a thought…anything I have received praise for, or that has gotten me in a position of praise is subject to this critic. There are some things in my life that don’t bother me as much. And those things I didn’t get praise for doing so well. Like how I brush my teeth, or shower, or fold my laundry. I gave up on my hair a while ago, although I still get on myself for being “lazy” for not wanting to do anything with it, but only occasionally, and only very briefly.
And because it’s uncomfortable hearing this all day in my head, I (and everyone in society) do things to alleviate the anxiety caused by hearing and feeling that we are Not Enough.
Not enough for what?!?
Not enough to manage the anxiety.
Let me repeat/rephrase that.
What we are doing in those situations is only trying to manage the anxiety we are feeling, and it’s never enough to manage the anxiety, because at some point, we have to stop. We have to slow down and feel.
We feel like when we “fix” these things, the critic will stop, so we go about dieting and exercising, and working harder, and having goals, and perfecting things, all to try and quell the anxiety, to quiet the critic and hear, if not from ourselves, then from others, that we are doing enough.
And it never ends. This cycle will not stop until we do.
What’s it like to BE ENOUGH?
Not that you will never excel, but that at each moment, you are enough. I think that is when we excel the most, actually. The critic only serves to stall us and keep us small.
So, when the critic starts, and when the anxiety presents, I can STOP. FEEL. and KNOW.
I AM ENOUGH.