What is it that creates that feeling of ‘anxiety’ inside? Is it really fear’s watered-down cousin, or is there something else going on?

In my work, I often see anxiety ‘masking’ other emotions that the ego is working hard to protect us from experiencing. The ego believes that we can’t handle the repressed emotions, or face what was really going on for us. Our body, on the other hand, doesn’t lie and needs some way to express what is hidden. When we are willing to just sit and ‘be’ with the part of our body where the emotion of anxiety lives (heart, head, throat, belly, shoulders – it’s unique to each of us), we give it a chance to speak its core message. We can do this through meditation, writing in our journal, or in a conversation with a trusted friend or therapist.

Most of the time there is an inner battle going on. Something we are trying to avoid or two competing choices at war with each other. Recently, I realized that I was avoiding the feeling of disappointment and when something began to disappoint me, or I was afraid I was disappointing someone else, I would feel anxious. I personally experienced anxiety as ‘angry butterflies’ in the center of my body in my solar plexus (between ribs and belly).

One of my clients is dealing with the experience of wanting to move out of an emotionally abusive relationship, yet afraid of harming their child in the process. This creates two competing agenda’s which are both important, yet in total conflict with each other. It’s like a no-win situation inside and there doesn’t seem any way ‘out’. The anxiety arises any time my client thinks about this situation, which keeps them in a state of anxiety a great deal of the time.

It can be more subtle and simple like the desire for something and feeling that we just can’t have it. It may sound like ‘I would like to get an education, but we just can’t afford it’, or ‘it’s my greatest wish to move to another state, but who would take care of my sister?’. This kind energetic deadlock can drain our energy, increase our apathy and sense of powerlessness and disrupt our emotional stability. It can even lead to uncontrollable outbursts of emotional or mental pain aimed inwards or deflected out towards others.

Panic attacks can be caused by this inner battle going on for too long inside with the body having no way to resolve the incompatible energy. Self-mutilation and even suicide can result if it goes on for too long with no hope in sight. So what are we to do?

Instead of thinking we have to find the ‘right’ solution, or everything will fall apart, we start by acknowledging how it really is for us so we can feel seen heard and accepted by ourselves. When we recognize how we really feel, and then do what is most loving for us, the battle can end. Remember, when we do what is most loving for us, it will automatically be the most loving thing for others, as it is done from self-love and has nothing to do with anyone else. Instead of having to have a ‘way out’, we can find the most loving ‘way through’ without making ourselves or anyone else wrong. When we remember that WE are the ones who can best take care of our own needs, we remember that others have the same capability. We can release others to their own lessons, as we lovingly tend to our own.

What is your anxiety telling you today?