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anx-i-e-ty, noun, a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease. A nervous disorder characterised by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks.
Synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, unease, fearfulness, agitation, angst, tenseness
It isn’t pretty. It isn’t cool. It is real. It is misunderstood. It is crippling.
Three things to remember:
YOU CAN’T CONTROL ANOTHER PERSON’S ANXIETY
Trying to control someone’s anxiety is like trying to get a hungry buffalo to walk through a china shop without breaking anything. No one likes to be cornered and when a person is in the middle of anxiety attack, cornering them and trying to tell them what to do or how to do it is never going to end well for either of you. That being said, you and your anxious soul need to understand anxiety is NOT a license to be a jerk.
THEY CAN’T CONTROL THEIR ANXIETY
Please realise your anxious soul isn’t doing this on purpose – no one chooses anxiety. Watching someone have an anxiety attack is heart-breaking – I imagine it is like being stretched apart and crushed at the same time – physically and emotionally.
Their anxiety isn’t about you.
Your anxious soul doesn’t wake up in the morning trying to think of ways to ruin your day. In fact, it is quite the opposite – they wake up scared to death they are going to ruin your day. The what ifs and the worries consume them. They are brave – they try to put on a smile and fight their way through another few seconds which turn into minutes into hours and then finally, they made it through another day – but sadly, relief doesn’t come. The end of one day is just an opportunity to worry about the next day.
Three things to forget:
FORGET BEING HURT BY THE ANXIOUS SOUL YOU LOVE
Their intention isn’t to hurt you – their intention is to survive. Give them the gift of space while making sure they know you are right there. Think about that, it is a bit confusing but the beauty of that gift is something your anxious soul will treasure.
FORGET BEING ANGRY AT THE ANXIOUS SOUL YOU LOVE
If you are wasting your time and energy being angry at your anxious soul, it is time to do some self-evaluating. Your peace and happiness shouldn’t be affected by their anxiety anymore than it would be if they had the flu! They can’t help it.
FORGET TRYING TO CHANGE/CURE THE ANXIOUS SOUL YOU LOVE
If you love unconditionally, there is no need to pressure them to change. Give them love, give them space. Don’t pressure them to do what you think they should do – it’s counter-productive. Build trust. Don’t judge. Don’t pressure. Nurture, don’t smother. Promote an atmosphere of peace and relaxation and freedom. Enjoy the better days and let go of the not so good days. It’s not personal – it’s anxiety.
THREE THINGS TO FOCUS ON
1. Be clear about your boundaries.
As previously stated, anxiety is NOT a license or excuse to be a jerk! If that’s what is going on, take a good hard look at the relationship. Abuse should never be allowed or accepted. Boundaries are a two-way street – you have your boundaries and your anxious soul has boundaries also. Be aware of both. Make time to talk about this together – know what’s expected and respect it.
2. Live and breathe compassion.
Compassion for self and compassion for your anxious soul. Learn what true compassion is – it isn’t pity. Pity is a different creature and won’t take you where you want to be. Compassion is the deep awareness of another person’s suffering and the desire to relieve it. Understand that relieving symptoms of anxiety isn’t the same as curing anxiety. Asking or telling a person with anxiety to stop having anxiety puts unnecessary pressure on them and won’t deliver any relief! Deep awareness is a gift that you can give yourself and them.
3. Love – unconditional, non-judgmental, pure, giving, healing love.
Love is the key. If love is there, anxiety never wins. His anxiety is his and his alone but I am here and we are together. In the beginning of the relationship, I thought anxiety would win. Today I rarely give anxiety a thought. I’m aware and I am carefully supportive. As time passed, he became aware as well. We have a beautiful, healthy, happy relationship! Don’t give up. Educate yourself. Make changes in your own approach. Develop that deep awareness and most importantly – LOVE – unconditional, non-judgmental, pure, giving, healing love.
This is a glimpse into my journey of loving an anxious soul and it is my hope that what I’ve shared with you will inspire you in your journey! I learned these lessons because I wanted to and he is worth it! We live a beautiful, happy life in Washington state.
Author Bio – Kim loves life, loves writing and loves to encourage people.