Life is like guns and roses, yin and yang, powerful, beautiful, painful and dangerous. It scars us, and it rewards us. Every gift contains a curse. Hot and cold, on and off, easy and hard. There is no escape from the double nature of seemingly all things. Anxiety, is one of those things. We must not forget, though, the bilateral life of everything. If you are plagued by anxiety as many are, have you thought about the other side of it? Are you familiar with the firm side, that balances the perceived weaker side?
Anxiety means awareness. It is the gift of super heightened awareness. Here is the secret. Most people are not aware, at all! They are not aware of themselves, and they damn sure are not aware of others. Hence the state of the world today. A population full of people with anxiety would probably be a utopia. Each person would be so aware of their own actions, and the effect on others; it would cause everyone to alter their behavior to better suit the group. Anxiety wants things to be calm, smooth, and welcoming. This is not the environment we live in. Thus our concern is always heightened. Even those without “anxiety problems” experience it because our environments, relationships, and extreme hierarchical society is anxiety producing, not soothing.
Anxiety remains a gift, however, because I believe it represents a compassionate heart. A person dealing with anxiety can feel that our world today is not connected. They can feel, in their heart, sometimes measured by the beat of their heart, that something is amiss. I am going to go out on a limb and say that many people dealing with anxiety, are some of the kindest people on this earth, the most vulnerable hearted people on this earth; and the most intuitive people you have ever met. Anxiety is a gift, our modern world is cursed.
“As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment and curiosity over fear.”Tracee Ellis Ross
Compassion is another similar gift that can feel like a curse. I tend to think many of the people dealing with anxiety are also dealing with related issues surrounding compassion. Compassion can feel like punishment. In modern times a compassionate heart looks around and weeps uncontrollably, and it does not cease, ever. It makes one feel as unsettled inside as the anxiety does. To be honest, it’s probably another source of anxiety and exacerbates the existing anxiety. But really, compassion, a curse? That is just an insane thought. Of course, empathy is a gift. I feel the wholesale pain being distributed throughout the world, and it pains me, it makes me anxious, it makes me crazy!
When you can feel the plight of others in your chest, that is a gift. When anything less than harmony upsets you, that is a gift. When reality seems like a bad dream, and impossibilities feel like a plan of action, that is a gift.
Anxiety and compassion are gifts. They are gifts from God that unsettle our soul. When our soul is disturbed, it is expected that we act by following our heart. Nature is never wrong, we just often believe we know better. God, nature, only know balance, and the road there can be brute. Harmony, or the lack thereof, which side of the coin are you residing? It is a futile battle trying to overpower nature. Submit to the forces that are desperately trying to balance our life. The pain is trying to tell us something. The pain wants to lead us harmony.
Pain is a gift that allows us to experience pleasure. Without one, the other does not exist. There is no light without darkness. Embrace anxiety, embrace compassion, embrace all of the pain because action will follow. Strength will follow.
Aaron L. Carroll
Photo by Tim Foster