So one of Auntie Anxiety's "things" is how important it is for you to learn how to talk back to your anxiety. Over the years I have come to realize that "talking back" can mean different things to different people so I thought I would take a moment to explain Auntie Anxiety's version of "Talking Back".
We are not referring to "back talk" here. While you may end up being sarcastic or firm with Anxiety, talking back is not about getting into a pissing contest! Arguing with Anxiety from a place of resistance is not going to work. Anxiety eats resistance for breakfast and that it just gives it fuel for a good fight 😬
The kind of talking back that Auntie Anxiety teaches has more to do with recognizing that Anxiety is not in charge and then being direct and firm or silly and sarcastic. Whatever fits your style, the point is to "talk back" to Anxiety as you would to your bossy and socially awkward cousin or neighbor! Anxiety only pretends to be an authority figure, it is really just a trickster that messes with you when it gets bored!
Let's use an example from The Wizard of Oz. Remember how Oz was perceived as this authority figure? There was an air of mystery around him. He rarely gave anyone an audience, and if you did get in to see him there was smoke and fire and a loud booming voice (No matter how many times I have seen that movie, I still jump when he yells 😬).
All the folks in Oz and the surrounding areas obeyed his commands. They seemed happy enough, but were clear that he was in charge. Dorothy is the one who decides to question him, and, initially, gets yelled at, told what to do (you know, get the Wicked Witches broomstick) and dismissed for her trouble. It is only when Toto pulls back the curtain and exposes The Great Oz for the Conman that he is that Dorothy finds out that she actually had the power within her the whole time.
See we have this tendency to want someone else to be in charge, to make the decisions, to be responsible. It’s not our fault, we are conditioned to listen to and follow directions from authority figures from the time we are born! What’s important, though, is to recognize that Anxiety is not that authority figure, we are our own authority figure. We get to choose and be responsible. Anxiety’s real job is to let us know when there is an issue of true safety, not just all of the situations where we might be uncomfortable, the ones that Anxiety enjoys scaring us with 🙄
So let's review: you already have the power within you to make decisions for yourself and to deal with whatever comes your way. You do not have to listen to Anxiety because it is using some fancy smoke and mirrors to convince you that it is in charge and all the while it is really just conning you 😳
So this week I want to you to think about how you are going to pull back the curtain on your Anxiety and really begin the process of getting to know exactly who you are dealing with AND how you are going to choose to Talk Back to your Anxiety!
Have you ever wanted something? You know, like really, really wanted something? And then you got it. And then you freaked out 😳😬
Yeah I had been wanting feedback from you. And then I got it. And then I freaked out a little 🙄😂
So since I started blogging and sending out newsletters and ramping up my presence on social media I have been so focused on how to do it that I was able to distract myself for a bit. Then I started asking for feedback and I got *crickets* so I decided that no one was really tuning in anyway, so I went back to distracting myself with the back end and technical stuff.
Believe it or not, even though I have been showing up in your inbox on a regular basis and rambling away in Facebook Lives, I actually like hanging out in the background. It’s safe and comfortable in the background.
When I am distracted and hanging out in the background then my Imposter (one of Anxiety’s many faces) does not have much to say. Yeah, and what I know is that none of the work that I know I am here to do is going to get accomplished if I stay comfortable and quiet in the background 🙄
So that means that I have to deal with my Anxiety, in the form of the Imposter. That’s the one that tells you that you don’t know what you are talking about and that no one wants to hear what you have to say anyway. The one that asks “Who do you think you are?” with a snarky and sarcastic tone. The voice that spreads the seeds of self-doubt and convinces you that you are not competent.
What does any of this have to do with me freaking out about getting the feedback that I have been asking for? Well, now that a few of you have actually given me feedback (and I do truly thank you for sharing with me 😍😘) I can no longer just hang out in the background! I have to show up and write something or say something (in videos and FB Lives) that actually is of value and helpful for those of you who are watching and reading my ramblings! No pressure there 😳 Yeah, shit just got real!
So here I am, dealing with my Imposter and with my little freak outs along the way and committing to continue to show up regularly on my website, and in your inbox, and on social media to share as much valuable information as I possibly can to support you and your loved ones on this wild ride that we call Life 😍😘
One of the pieces of feedback that I received was that the questions that I ask make great journal topics. So for those of you so inclined to journal (and have I mentioned that I highly recommend journaling?) here’s this weeks question: How does Anxiety show up for you? Does it ever wear the Imposter mask? Is it critical and does it bring self-doubt to your stage? Have you ever been successful in banishing the Imposter to the back of the theater and continued on with your important work?
Just like with plain old regular Anxiety, the way to deal with the Imposter is to answer it’s “What if…?” questions with “So what?” and to keep doing what you are doing! Show up every day and keep moving forward toward your goals. Anxiety, in whatever form it shows up, does not get to run the show or sit in the front row and criticize you. Banish it to the back of the theater and keep going, even if the heckling continues from the balcony 😉
Another piece of feedback was that at least one of you has been actually holding back from sharing how these ramblings of mine have assisted you and that you are not sharing any questions or topics that you would like me to address because your own Anxiety has held you back. That fear of “what if everyone can see what I share?” or “What if Auntie Anxiety thinks my question is stupid?” 😬. Fucking Anxiety and it’s Fucking “What if….?” Game 🙄
Folks, if you email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), anything you share or ask is kept confidential! I may write about it at some point in the future, but I sure as hell am not going to attach your name or any identifying information without your permission! I truly do want to hear from you with questions, concerns, and any other information that will allow me to assist you in your journey to recognizing and embracing your Anxiety as your super power!
I have actually made it even simpler for you. Here is a link to a survey that I created: http://www.auntieanxiety.com/fall-2017-survey.html It is a whopping 5 questions long 😉 and the information you share is also only coming directly to me and will be kept confidential.
What do you want me to talk about next week? Complete the survey or shoot me an e-mail and I’ll do my best to assist!
P.S. - Groups start this week so get off the fence and get your Teen or Tween registered here: http://www.auntieanxiety.com/teen-group-application-survey.html
Another week that finds those of us who are not in Mother Nature’s path of destruction being grateful while at the same time feeling a variety of emotions including anxiety and fear as we watch family, friends, and total strangers preparing for and then dealing with actual real life danger (the life and death kind, not the kind our Anxiety jerks us around with on a daily basis). Being able to witness this speaks to the power of the internet, social media AND our deep desire to be connected.
Watching some of the posts over the last few days has been quite interesting to me from both personal and professional perspectives. Personally I am dealing with my own anxiety around feeling helpless to do anything much beyond watching, waiting, and offering supportive connection to family and friends who are in the path of this bitch Irma. Professionally I am in awe of the ways that folks have done a version of what I say almost everyday “Prepare for the worst AND expect the best”!
I have watched people take the steps to secure their homes as best as they could and then evacuate (when possible) or secure their homes and then settle in and make batches of food for nourishment and comfort. I have also watched people use one of the best tools that they can when Anxiety is biting at your heals, and that is Humor! The jokes, memes, and videos on social media bear witness to the importance of using humor to assist us in dealing with even the most challenging of situations.
I have also been witness to a few folks who, despite the warnings and the danger, have chosen to act as if nothing is happening. To ignore the warnings to either evacuate or prepare for the worst. We may be able to sit here in our comfort zone and say “What an idiot” AND here’s the thing: how many of us have let Anxiety talk us into freezing? We procrastinate, we put important tasks off (like making a doctor’s appointment, dealing with an issue at work, or talking to a friend who has said or done something that upset us), and we act as if ignoring something will make it go away.
One of the ways that Anxiety gets us stuck in a loop like this is to use distraction. The very tools that I have mentioned previously that allow us to bear witness and to be connected (the internet and social media) can be used by Anxiety to suck us into distraction AND to make it even more of a vicious cycle of fear, these same distractions can lead to even more Anxiety!
How often have you had a moment where you have a list of goals for the day (I don’t do a To Do List anymore, I make a Goal List with Priorities…more on this another day…) and then you jump on social media or a news site like Reddit? What happens? First you have achieved Anxiety’s goal of distracting yourself from your own goals for the day AND you have now opened yourself to adding even more pieces of information for Anxiety to use to get your panties in a wad (and you know how much Anxiety enjoys itself when your panties are in a wad, right?)!
So how do we take back control of our days and face that bitch Anxiety head on without disconnecting from technology completely? First we Accept that Anxiety is a part of our lives and that we do have to deal with it. Someone who lives in the path of a storm can wish that the storm would not come, but a much more effective way of dealing with it is to accept that it is there and to Prepare for the Worst and Expect the Best.
Next would be to Lean In and Learn more about how Anxiety works and how to get it to work with you rather than against you. Shit happens and it can sometimes be devastating AND I want you to notice how much positive comes out of these crappy situations like the aftermath of a storm. Watching video and hearing stories about the helpers and how people of all walks of life laid down hate and helped each other survive was the one thing that Harvey accomplished just recently. When we take the time to understand the role that Anxiety plays in our lives and to work towards working with it rather than fighting against it (which only feeds that Lying Bitch anyway) then it becomes an Ally rather than an Enemy.
Some of this may sound familiar as I am referring to the steps from my Free Guide about getting ALIGNED with your Anxiety. If you haven’t read it, you can get it HERE. If you already have it, maybe today would be a great day to review it. Once we are ALIGNED with our Anxiety we can work to use technology as the tool it was intended to be rather than letting Anxiety use it to make us miserable!
So I have this idea…..would you be interested in being part of a small group to assist me in testing out a plan for taking back control of our Driver’s Seat from Anxiety? One part of this would include how to use our technology as the tool it is intended and to stop being caught up in Anxiety’s vicious cycle of distraction and adding more worries to your list. If you want to be part of my inner circle to work on this project, click HERE to send me an email!
Whether you are recovering from Harvey, are experiencing the wrath of Irma, or are fortunate to be storm free at the moment, know that connection and support are important human needs, and don’t let Anxiety convince you to “play it safe” and disconnect from others. If Anxiety or it’s buddy Depression are doing their best to be your best friends and convince you to only play with them, please reach out to someone locally or let me know and I will do my best to either support you or connect you with someone who can support you!
P.S. - Groups are filling for Fall, so it is time to claim your space before they are gone!
So I saw a post this week about making this month “Self Care September” and I thought that it was:
1) a wonderful idea (The fabulous folks over at Frederick Natural Health turned me on to this idea and I LOVE IT!) and
2) this would be an awesome opportunity to talk about how we can take better care of ourselves when it comes to Anxiety.
As this new season begins, remember that change does tend to set off our sensitive amygdalae, so remember that if your amygdala sends a signal of danger (heart racing, sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach) that the steps are to:
1) check in and remind yourself that whatever is triggering is not life or death, so not actual danger
2) see if you can take a deep breath because that will signal the amygdala that there is no actual danger (but don’t punch me in the face if you are not able to take that deep breath 😜)
3) “be not afraid” by telling your Anxiety to “bring it on” so that you can get this moment of panic over with and get on with your life and 4) remind yourself that “nervous” and “excited” feel the same in your body, so work on labeling what you are feeling as “excited” rather than “nervous”.
How many of you would be up for joining me in Self Care September?
What does Self Care look like for you? Does Anxiety tell you that it is not allowed? That you have not “earned” it? That you have to take a week away at a spa in order to call it self care? Yeah, that’s all bullshit (and Anxiety loves to feed you bullshit!), so let’s take this month to focus on the little things that are self-care. Listen to your favorite music while you do the dishes. Download a good book or podcast to listen to while you are driving (commenting, chauffeuring your kids around). Take 5 minutes to yourself somewhere quiet (even if this is in the bathroom or a quiet corner in a crowded room). Consider one small thing you can do for yourself today and each day this month.
How many of you feel guilt and/or shame even when your Inner Critic (I believe my Inner Critic and Anxiety are first cousins….maybe even “Kissing Cousins” 😳😜) starts in on how you wasted your time, set a bad example for someone else or just plain did not meet your goals or intentions for the day? We are a nation built on the notion of how hard work is imperative (hell, we even have a day that celebrates our nation’s commitment to Labor!) AND we suck a defining what hard work really is and how sometimes just showing up each day is actually hard work! Who among you is familiar with this scenario: You have a goal and it is time to begin, Anxiety shows up and convinces you that you need to think about this goal for a bit longer (“But what if….?”), then you start to feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable (and Anxiety jumps all over that and insists that you find a way to be comfortable), and then you distract yourself (yep we carry around these devices that make this step so incredibly easy these days 🙄) while at the same time doing your best to convince yourself that if you just get “this” done, you will be ready to start with the action steps to get your goal done.
We are bombarded with distractions these days (my email just dinged me as I was writing this….note to self: turn off email notifications while I am writing!) and Anxiety loves to use those distractions (and the devices we have at our fingertips) to:
1) false comfort ourselves (if I just do “this” I will feel better) and
2) to keep us from actually taking action and reaching our goals.
Why is Anxiety such a bitch about this? Because it is protecting us from success. Yeah, you read that correctly, Success! We all think that we are afraid of failing (and we are to some degree), but Anxiety is much more concerned that we will succeed and therefore be even more responsible for more “things” and then Anxiety’s job might get harder…..So…..it keeps us locked in a struggle of distraction to keep us close and therefore safe (at least by Anxiety’s definition).
OK, so who wants to join me in taking one step toward a goal of self-care that you
1) actually do and
2) that starts a process of dealing with anxiety and learning to tolerate being uncomfortable?
If you're with me pick something that you enjoy (listening to music, being quiet, reading, etc.) that you can do for at least 5 minutes. Now, the next time that Anxiety shows up, instead of distracting yourself with your phone (or other device), take 5 minutes and do your self care activity. BOOM! You just hit two birds with one stone! Not listening to Anxiety immediately AND some September Self Care 😍😘
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor