I wrote a fancy piece about acceptance of anxiety here, suggesting that maybe you reconcile with this “snake”. Unfortunately, wise as this advice sounds, it doesn’t really help working out the really difficult bit – how do you go about “accepting” anxiety?
I guess what’s really important is not to try and disguise it. In most cases, no horrible outcome will occur if people see your anxiety – and trying to disguise it rarely works, so why bother?
Why not accept that anxiety is part of your personality? Once you “let it all hang out” and don’t bother about disguising it, you can concentrate on important stuff – what people are saying, what is going on, your task in hand.
More sound advice but the TRULY important part of accepting anxiety is accepting the depersonalisation that comes with it. Depersonalisation is the emptiness of the mind that comes from fear. You don’t know what to say, think or do. This is a quite frightening situation to be in because interaction with people requires a sense of self – but your self has all but disappeared. How do answer questions or give opinions without meaningful thoughts?
I think depersonalisation is the crux of the anxiety problem. It is in this place that most languish. Myself included.
The way out is to refind yourself and your thinking. I think acceptance is key. You have to accept depersonalisation, recognising that it is caused by fear. Acceptance means not hiding. If your mind is slow, forgetful, careless, disorientated because of depersonalisation, you just have to accept that this, for now, is part of your personality. You can’t hide it. Think of it as a disability if need be. It is who you are and you – and other people – have to work with it. If they don’t like it, you try to improve – but you cannot deny this truth. You, as guardian of your self, have to accept it is who you are and what other people must see.
This is the key: symptoms of anxiety feel like abhorrent warts that must be covered over desperately. This must change. Whether they are warts or not, they are part of you and it is counter-productive to try to hide them. Let people see your warts – you did not choose them and nor are they, in the grand schemes, harmful to anyone.
Let people see your warts and judge you. Let them think you’re weak, pathetic, pitiable, sweet etc. etc. Their judgment feels vitally important. You want to feel accepted, appreciated and liked. But, MORE important is that you accept, appreciate and like yourself, including the anxious/supposedly weak part of you.
People will appreciate you, no matter how feeble you think you come across as, if you appreciate yourself. Some won’t but that’s beyond your control. Appreciate yourself. This is what it comes down to.
Dissatisfaction with yourself is natural. However, it should always be rational rather than vindictive. Anxiety holds us back so badly and it leads us to make wrong decisions. We can choose to hate ourselves or to look at situations and investigate how we could have tried to do things differently – in order to reach a better outcome next time.
1. Appreciate oneself, no matter how, seemingly, weak or fearful.
2. Reflect upon yourself rationally to seek to untie knots rather than flogging yourself.
There will be so many failures and regrets. Yet, we have to keep accepting our weakness and reflecting rationally in order to improve. Stand in the light; think, this is me, this is how I am. Judgments might come down saying, you’re not good enough and so on. But, as you interact with these judgments, you have to keep believing, this is me, this is how I am.
In a way, it is like ugliness or a disfigurement. It makes you stand out and questioned but does this mean you hide it? This is, I feel, the ultimate anxiety question.