Anxiety, overwhelm and worry are feelings that I’m all too familiar with. For most of my life I grew up worrying about the smallest of things and always panicking that something will go wrong – in fact, it almost seemed like I had this self-destruct button that could go off at any moment. I found that I couldn’t enjoy things as much, was always looking for a way out of doing something new and terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone. Fear just seemed to be coursing through my body on a constant basis. It felt normal.
I would look at others around me and be envious of positive and upbeat they all were – everyone seemed to take everything in their stride whereas I’d be on the side-lines terrified to even give something a go. I guess you could call me Zenny the Perfectionist! I loathed myself, was fuelled by self-doubt and even self-judgement that I was the most negative person in the world. All I wanted was to be ‘positive’ like everyone else and would put myself down for not being so. All of which added to the anxiety!
The thing is, nothing in life is that black and white – nothing is that clear cut and there’s no such thing as a positive person or a negative one. There’s no such thing as a happy person or a sad person. We are all just people – human beings – with a wonderful ability to feel and experience a whole range of different emotions. It was a life changer when I realised that – the day I realised that we have the power to control our minds and our mind-set was the day that everything changed.
Does it mean you’ll feel that way forever? No.
Does that mean you won’t feel the opposite emotion ever again? No.
Our emotions are alive and they will come and go just like our breath falls in and out of our bodies. Not only that, but the way we experience our emotions will also change day by day. For example, anxiety may cripple you one day but you may be able to accept it and move past it the next. Just because you’re having a down day, week, month or year doesn’t mean you’re a sad, negative or pessimistic person – if just means you’re having a bad time!
Looking back I wish I’d known about being a Highly Sensitive Person and what that might have meant or how that would have played apart during school and my studies. I was so full of self-made pressure and judgement for being ‘negative’ that I never even took the time to consider how that was making me feel. I started to believe that every negative emotion I felt, meant that I embodied negative traits and therefore I was a 'bad' person. That is not true at all!
It doesn't mean we aren't valuable of worthy of what we desire.
Now - rather than associating anxiety with negativity, I look for all the positives traits that my emotions bring to the table. Yes, I may have worried more than the average person but I also know that my heart is big, that I’m kind, generous, giving, accepting and (ironically) not judgemental of others. Yes, I may have been anxious but I was also careful, thorough and knowledgeable.
The thing about black or white thinking when it comes to emotions, is that it’s so easy to trap ourselves into one box thinking that we are either one way or another without ever giving ourselves the chance to look at all the positive traits that may also come with that feeling or emotion. There are not only two sides to this story, but hundreds!
It’s time to switch our mind-set and stop looking at everything as one-sided. We all have the ability to be positive thinkers. We all are able to be optimistic if we really want to be. But it’s wrong to think that one emotion is superior or inferior to another. It’s wrong to think that we are better people for feeling one or another. We are all amazing humans and worthy of anything we desire – we don’t need to focus on only the ‘positive’ emotions to get us there or expect that we will be worthy once we are more positive.
Rather than beating yourself up for not being, feeling or acting a certain way, flip that switch and think of everything that is right in your life. Focus on all the wonderful things about yourself – think about how even the negative traits you believe you have, may in fact be positive and how they benefit you.
So you might be a bit sad right now – why is that benefiting you?
Ok, so you might have more anxiety than others – why is that a good thing?
There are so many ways to look at a situation and I strongly urge you to start looking at all those negative traits you believe you have about yourself through a different lens. What about those traits makes you even more wonderful?
Think about how many times you may have potentially stopped yourself from doing something because you believed you weren’t good enough, you weren’t worthy enough or you were worried things wouldn’t turn out the way you wanted them to.
Can you see how your mind has all the power – how it has the power to control not only how you feel and experience your emotions but what you ultimately end up doing and achieving as well.
Next time you start a new project or step outside of your comfort zone, I want you to focus on what could go right – don’t entertain what could go wrong for too long. Yes, it helps to have all the information but it doesn’t always help when it’s the only thing you choose to focus your energy on. Rather than focussing all your energy on the negative, accept that those thoughts are there, give them the space they need but then choose to focus more of your attention and energy on everything that could go right and everything that IS right in your life right now.
That doesn’t mean we should ignore or fear any sort of negativity – that’s the whole point. We are designed to feel all emotions so we should honour that and feel anything that comes up at any given point. To not do so would be doing ourselves a disservice. However, there’s a fine line between acknowledging a draining energy and letting that energy take its toll on our body. When something comes up that makes you feel uncomfortable, see where it’s coming from, acknowledge it, work through it and move past it. Once you have done that, look for all the positives, practice gratitude and choose to focus your energy on what is right and what could go right.
Don’t let social conditioning of what is seen as right or wrong dictate your worth or your ability to make your life happen for you the way you want it. If you want something then go for it – you have the power and the capabilities to do so, all you need to do is believe in yourself and focus your energy on the areas that you know will serve you best.