I was shocked and surprised the day I noticed I no longer habitually lived with Anxiety. As I wondered when things had changed and why I hadn’t noticed the changes, it shocked me to think I didn’t actually realise I was living with anxiety in the first place. In that profound moment I was a deeper and more intuitive learner. Fast forward to now and I can share that I carried a lot of blame. At the basis of this blame was anxiety. The emotional cost of blame weighed heavy and took a front seat in my life. I gave it more authority to roam freely. It held me back. Until I finally tuned in and thank goodness I did, because if I didn’t I’d still be where I was 2 years ago.
I replayed a video of the past few years picking up on major events trying to pinpoint how and when this had happened. I wondered how I was interacting with my environment and what part of the interaction had me believing blame was going to protect me. What I discovered was astounding to me. Not only had I lived with anxiety but it had profoundly affected every decision I had made, every action I took, and all the actions I wish I took but didn’t. Until that moment I had obviously been living in a world where intuitive learning was completely unavailable – transparent most of the time.
What was I pushing aside that I should have been listening to?
I’ve always valued and sought out personal development. Here’s the thing though. Personal development requires that you are emotionally present and is really only possible when you are present to those emotions and moods that are blocking your learning. The things that get in the way of you being able to observe and broaden your perspective.
Personal Development is only possible when you are present to those emotions and moods that are blocking your learning.
I’ve always been an ambitious visionary but how much was anxiety was contributing to being stuck and not allowing my vision and ambition come together as one to create the life I wanted? I started to make a shift and let my confidence catch up to my vision. But it took some work and I had to make a declaration to release blame.
In our society when things don’t go as planned we’ve learnt to look for a cause. We live in a cause and effect world. We’ve been taught to look for the relationship between actions or events. While this way of observing can help us find answers to logical problems it doesn’t position us as learners who take personal responsibility. Oh my gosh! I’m not suggesting for one moment that you blame yourself and nor am I suggesting you don’t take responsibility for your actions. Read on…
Before your thoughts draw you toward “other people are often the cause” thinking, I ask you to pause and reflect on this right now as a learner not a blamer.
Blaming happens because we are in a world of high standards, where we are taught that if we make mistakes we should feel guilty, and if the mistake is big enough we should feel ashamed.
Is there any wonder we try so hard to blame something external to ourselves? If we don’t meet up to these standards we feel unrealistically responsible for not ‘getting it right’ because we’re taught that making a mistake is wrong and getting it wrong is not okay. Blame becomes our comfort. It’s safe there. But it’s not where the learning happens. At the other extreme anxiety feels like overwhelm in your body. It feels like you can’t cope with this situation. So overwhelm is as much of a ‘felt’ bodily experience as it is a mood of anxiety.
Moods That Perpetuate Blame
How you interact with the world determines the moods you experience and conversely your mood determines how you interact in the world. This is the process of life and it is not separate from every experience, every interpretation and every interaction and relationship with people and the world.
Anxiety as a mood is a habitual way of living. It is sometimes experienced as butterflies and at other times so overwhelming that you struggle to cope. Anxiety can quickly elevate to panic. This blog is not about ways to cope or manage panic attacks or anxiety disorders (if you suffer from or expect you suffer from an anxiety disorder please see your doctor so you can get dedicated help).
What I’m talking about is anxiety as a habitual mood. A feeling in the pit of your gut that won’t go away. The tensing of muscles and facial expressions. The experience of drawing yourself away from taking an action because to take action requires courage and right now while you’re experiencing anxiety in this way you can’t possibly think about being courageous. This is the mood that tells you you’re not good enough or that you’ll fail if you give something a try. This is how I experienced anxiety. I remember feeling ambitious and even optimistic. I was getting on with life. That’s why I didn’t notice the experience had been there for a very long time. I’d taught myself how to cope in spite of anxiety but the emotional cost was high.
I experienced resignation as a holding back. I found myself being dismissive of other people’s ideas. I constantly diverted attention away from the source of my pain so much so that my ability to learn from myself was limited.
Resignation is very sneaky. It hides itself in stories. My stories were full of excuses. I continually talked myself out of things. You see it doesn’t matter how much vision you have, when you are resigned that something isn’t possible, you won’t do it. You might feel a deep sense of ‘why bother’ in the pit of your stomach. Coupled with blame the mood of resignation blends to bake a cake of self defeat.
Punishment is at the basis of resentment. Someone is going to pay no matter what the cost. I resented my father for doing all these things to me and I was still living in that story so much so that the resentment was eating away at my soul. What I wasn’t doing was learning about what was holding me there and what was at stake if I let go.
Instead of letting go I turned resentment inwards and sabotaged my own efforts. I didn’t get back at my father. I got back at myself. All the while my vision was put on the back burner.
Standards and Expectations: The Perfect Soup For A Night In
As I experienced each and every one of these moods I continually felt guilty and ashamed that in my opinion I hadn’t done anything with my life. If you asked friends and family they would tell you a different story but my vision had certain expectations and standards. I wasn’t upholding my own standards and because of that, I lived in guilt and shame, and resignation, and anxiety and resentment and fear and doubt. It was a perfect soup for a night in.
Being a Learner
I love learning. To me life is a continual process of learning and learning from my internal struggles, my inner experiences, has served me well.
As painful as it sometimes is, it seems that inner learning is worth it. The benefits far outweigh the emotional costs. The key to learning from the “inside out” as I call it, is to allow and accept all your emotional experiences, and be curious about your perceptions and interpretations.
As odd as it might sound, to push away your experiences causes overload. To sit with them, and learn from them brings big ah ha moments.
It is so so worth it.
Barriers To Personal Learning
Certain emotional states are barriers to personal learning. The great news is that when you observe your moods you can be really honest about how you are interacting with the world. Being emotionally aware means you will begin to look inside yourself for the answers and be okay with your imperfect self. Life is not a destination, life is not a journey, and learning is a process.
When you click the image below you’ll get instant access to your very own Emotions and Moods States Guide. This guide will help you learn what emotional states you operate from, so you can begin to choose more resourceful moods and emotions.
I invite you to acknowledge what you can appreciate about yourself. We can get caught up in the heaviness of criticising and seriosity. My mentor Alan Seiler says “Always remember rule number 6…don’t take yourself so seriously.” So while we want to learn from our emotional states, we also want to acknowledge that we’re doing okay in spite of our emotional states. What can you appreciate about you today?
I wish the best of care for you this day and every day.
Do you have any questions? Comments? Insights? I’m here to listen! Let’s chat below.
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