How I Used My Anxiety as a Foundation for Self-Love
I’ve always been the kind of person who excelled:performing well in school, at work, and in life. Being able to achieve goals and make a name for myself based on what I have accomplished was just something inherent from birth. It’s always felt good to receive accolades and recognition and responsibility built from my reliability. When it was just me, I was on top. And then I started letting people in. My friendships grew deeper as I grew older. I fell in love and married someone whose hands were open and ready to hold my heart and soul. And the world I had built for myself started to crumble.
Not in the dramatic, all at once way that you would think. It was slow, and it grew over time, which allowed me to stuff it down deep inside me every time trying to hide that piece of me away from those in my life. The deep seated fears I wasn’t a good enough wife, the idea that I wouldn’t be comfortable in different surroundings, the notion that going somewhere new was going to throw everything I knew out of whack, the mere thought of not being in control in some way. These things would bubble to the surface, causing my heart to race, my palms to sweat, my head to spin, my mind to go hazy, my stomach to churn, my breath to hasten towards hyperventilating, my eyes to leak profusely without hope, and a few times my vision to tunnel out. I would chalk it up to fatigue and being too busy.
Anxiety manifests so differently in each person, but as you peel away those onions layers there's always a common manifestation deep inside. Mine happened to be control. I wanted to feel/look like I had control over things in my life - my relationships, my environment, my desires, my expectations, my livelihood. The mantra of needing to have control took complete control of me, and usurped my ability to love myself when I needed it most.
Self-love is the most potent salve and weapon one can arm themselves with.
I didn’t realize this all on my own, it’s been years in the making, and each time I have to remind myself of this fact might feel harder than the last time. But that’s what makes the journey so worth it. To look back and see: I did that thing I was so scared to do because I thought my anxiety would control me! Letting people in on that was a major eye-opener as well. Friends I had talked to about this told similar stories about their struggle with anxiety, panic, or depression. What a world we live in, where the enemy keeps us silent for fear of being “different”, when in reality we need to hold hands together because we are one in the same!
Having someone in my life who so accurately reflects to love of our Father was another miracle in my life. My husband knows no bounds when it comes to loving someone the way they need it. Sometimes it’s been tough love, other times the most sensitive and gentle love, but it always has been a beautiful reflection of God’s love for me, his daughter.
I am thankful for my anxiety because it brought me clarity and strength. I might not always have that perspective, the light doesn’t always fall the same every day, but I am guided by the notion that everything has a chance to get better.
When things look hazy ahead, I know what it is that is clouding my vision and perspective - time to climb the mountain to see past the clouds.
I am thankful for my anxiety because it has given me knowledge. The books, blogs, medical articles, and therapists I’ve conversed with, have supplied tools to lead me towards a more whole self. A me that I know is worthy of loving and taking life head on. I have understood for years the actual science and neurological reasoning behind my anxiety and panic, and that knowledge is what I use in face of meeting those mental blocks.
I am thankful for my anxiety because it taught me self-love. It’s so much easier to accept someone else’s flaws and weaknesses. I’m not just my worst critic, I am downright feeding myself negative messages that have kept so much of me inside. When all the pressure seems like too much, you know what’s easier than negative thoughts, migraines from crying, sweaty palms, and shallow breathing? Love. Love is by far the easier choice. Because it heals, it binds up the broken, and it makes oneself whole.
Resources that truly helped me on my anxiety journey:
- The Worry Trap by Chad LeJuene
- How to Live in Fear by Lance Hahn
- Mely Brown’s Book + Blog
- Change your eating habits: The Woman Code by Alisa Vitti
- Essential Oils: Rocky Mountain Oils
Author: Sarah Blessinger | @sarahblessinger | Owner & Designer of Kindred Weddings & Events