Courage is not the absence of fear or anxiety. Courage is about showing up fully in our lives – taking action – even while feeling afraid and anxious.
I imagine that you were drawn to this post due to your own history with anxiety.
Indeed, it was my experience with anxiety that initially motivated me to seek therapy. Anxiety presented itself by way of sweaty armpits and sticky palms. A shaky voice and a red face. An experience of embarrassment and vulnerability. A panic-stricken brain void of the usefulness of my prefrontal cortex.
I had had enough. I was ready for an anxiety-free life.
That was then.
And now… things are different.
Anxiety is no longer the formidable enemy that it once was. And it isn’t because I conquered anxiety, abolishing it from my psyche once and for all. Instead, I shifted my perspective. I came to see, understand and experience anxiety in a new light.
The choice we all have – the place where we can exercise our personal power – is in how we relate to the truth of our experience. We can deny it, fight it and try to push it away. This may sound like courage but it is, I would argue, the opposite.
On the other hand, we can open up our hearts to anxiety. Welcome it, commit to it and be kind to it. In my life, this approach, paradoxical and challenging though it is, has been transformative.
This approach demands the courage to face oneself.
I have learned that the experience of unconditional freedom and confidence is not dependent on the presence or lack-of-presence of anxiety. Accordingly, anxiety no longer has the power over me that it once did. I may not be able to escape it, but I certainly can live with it in a way where it does not hinder me.
In short, I no longer have to wait for my anxiety to disappear to show up fully in my life.
All of us, even the most anxiety-stricken amongst us, have the potential to experience a similar freedom and confidence. I work with anxiety frequently in both my clinical work and in my general life.
If you are would like to overcome the anxiety that has held you back, I would be happy to help.