Listen y’all. I tried to write an article about being an entrepreneur with anxiety a month and half ago and had to stop. Full force. Because it gave me too much anxiety… Ugggghhhhh! The truth of being human.
So in order to get through writing this, I needed another way in. As I sat and meditated, the message I heard was to
“Pair it with self-love.”
The balance is helpful and sometimes it’s a real task to love yourself. So whether you deal with situational anxiety, have issues with brain chemistry, or struggle with social anxiety, this is a message about loving yourself in the midst of the experience, rather than trying to push it away or punish yourself.
Self-love is simply code for “be nice to you!”
One tactic that helps me get out of a downward spiral, is to imagine talking to my best friend. (This is not a new concept, but one that I’ve found incredibly helpful).
If my bff came to me said, “Wow, I’m having a really hard time today. I’m feeling a lot of pressure to get stuff done, but I can’t seem to make it happen. I can’t focus. I’m worried about xyz in my life and it’s clouding my ability to take action.”
I would not yell at her, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?????”
On the contrary, that compassionate spark in the pit of my stomach would have me slow down, connect with my deep love for this person, and say, “Do you want to talk about what’s going on? That sounds rough.” Even typing that I feel my insides relax. Now I envision this beautiful person sitting across from me, encouraging me to be real. Not belittling or “fixing” the problem, but simply giving space to listen.
Imagine doing that with yourself.
Imagine inviting yourself to sit and have tea… just as you are.
“Hey, let’s be with what’s going on for you right now. It’s ok to be messy or not have the answer.” Reach out a hand to yourself and say, “I’m ready to listen, you’re doing a good job.”
Sometimes I do this in a meditative space, other times I write it out like a dialogue. I’m also an out-loud processor, so have called a friend in the midst of anxiety and had them be with me. Sometimes getting outside of ourselves is actually the way in. “Will you just be with me? I don’t need you to fix it. I just need you to stop me if I’m spiraling.” One time a wise friend interjected as I berated myself, “Hey, you can’t say that to my friend!” That can be helpful because it stops me in my tracks. There’s no way in hell I’d say to someone I care about, “Why are you here again?”
So just as this compassionate pull from within guides us with people we love, we can learn to listen to ourselves in that way too. It sounds simple, and may even be a little corny, but I can’t tell you the difference this has made for me in stopping the cycle of anxiety.
A few years ago I took on a 90 day meditation challenge to sit for 30 minutes a day. It wasn’t easy…. I hated sitting still and needed to give my body a break… so instead of following the “rules” I allowed myself to lean against something to support my back… ultimately supporting myself in the process.
Every day at the end of my meditation I would give myself a treat by writing down insights and feelings, calling them “Love Notes from the Universe.” I would sign them, Love Meg and the Universe because I believed we were working together. One day, I had a huge shift when I heard myself say inside, “I’m becoming my own best friend.” Almost like a whisper of truth.
It blew me away. I’d never really had those thoughts before.
So now, when I’m at the end of my rope and I haven’t slept, called a friend, did some writing, listened to a guided meditation… I make myself sit and look lovingly at myself for 10 minutes. As I would a best friend.
I let the thoughts come and go and swim around in there, noticing that I am holding the thoughts, and they are a part of me. But not all of me.
For anyone who is an out-loud processor, finding answers on your own can be a challenge. I certainly don’t want to sit still and listen! Waiting for the answers to come… but when I think of meditation as a dialogue between me and Spirit, it opens up new words, kinder thoughts and safer experiences within.
If you’re spiraling and scared and want to come back to center… try setting a timer for 5-10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a long time, just enough to slow down.
Let your body do what it needs to do.
Come home to you. Imagine calling to say, I’m a few minutes away, coming to pick you up. Let’s go somewhere so you can tell me what’s going on. And listen like you would to someone you care about.
You are a beautiful person.
You are more than your anxiety.
You can befriend even the wildest darkest parts of you. You’ve got this. You can be there for yourself. Try it and let me know how it goes!