We know what anxiety looks like. The constant worry, the tightening of the chest, upset stomach, restlessness, and poor sleep. Sometimes a general unease plagues us and we can’t quite name where it’s coming from. We have a desire to control external circumstances so as to ensure a beneficial outcome but this is not possible. These are just some of the common symptoms people with anxiety experience.
A deeper issue
If you suffer from anxiety, you may have a surprisingly difficult time in answering this question.
The reason is for some people, anxiety is a symptom of a deeper issue. The anxiety; be it social anxiety or generalized anxiety has become a by-product of a maladaptive attempt to fit into a familiar milieu or macro culture. In which the attitudes, cultural beliefs and values, are contradictory to the person’s personality and overall character.
A former client of mine had described himself initially as a pretzel, in which he felt he had to repeatedly mold and adjust himself to fit into other peoples ever-changing desires and expectations in order to achieve his primary goal of love and acceptance. He experienced this with his family, his friends and acquittances. He was often on edge, cautiously watching how others would perceive or react to his words and actions.
So, what does life without anxiety look like?
A life without anxiety is liberation from actively pursuing acceptance and belonging from anyone. It is coming to a place of peace with who you are and what you are about. It’s about abandoning prescribed roles that have never worked for you. Ultimately, a life without anxiety is a consistent feeling of peace within you and having a true sense of confidence in yourself.
So how does a person get to this place? The process is straightforward. We begin by identifying all your known triggers for anxiety. If your anxiety is of a social nature, your triggers are typically going to be situations where you are interacting with people. More specifically, you likely feel anxious regarding your expected roles.
Let us look at an example
Be it in a personal, professional or causal relationship, people who experience chronic anxiety regarding their interactions with others are suffering from social anxiety. All social anxiety boils down to is a person’s fear of an inability to successfully meet socially assigned tasks and duties.
While most people who struggle with social anxiety are often not able to identify the specific consequences they fear, they often do relate their anxiety to a fear of not being approved of or accepted.
The answer to overcoming social anxiety begins in starting the practice of engaging with others from a genuine place. This means that if there is an identified role which no longer suits you, or you feel dishonest about engaging in it, abandon that role. Now you have forced yourself into a position where you are honest about whom you are and what you want. Will you likely experience some rejection or push back? Yes. However, this now opens the door towards you establishing relationships with others who are like minded. The more like-minded people you attract, the more confidence you have in being your authentic self and this is where your consistency in being peaceful comes from.
The absence of anxiety is not arrogance or recklessness, it’s accepting life on life’s terms thereby achieving a genuine peace of mind within one’s own mind and heart.
If you would like to learn more
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach. He is trained in techniques and processes that will help you overcome anxiety and allow you to move toward a more authentic and satisfying life. You are welcome to call or fill out our contact form.