Anxiety Equals Not Feeling Safe

From an evolutionary point of view, we are born into this world vulnerable and completely dependent upon others to keep us safe and to provide for all of our survival needs. As we grow up, we begin to learn how to do these things for ourselves. And as adults, we may or may not have acquired the tools we need to keep ourselves feeling safe and to care for ourselves.

Most of us have not been given all the tools we need or the right tools for us. This is not because anyone withheld these tools from us. It is because they did not have them to give. Whatever the situation we find ourselves in, if we are experiencing anxiety, it is a “red flag” showing us that we do not have the tools in this area to create our own feeling of emotional safety. Anxiety is a normal human emotion to be accepted without judgment or criticism, like all emotions.

If we would like to be able to create our own feeling of emotional safety inside of ourselves, we need to acquire new tools. That is because whatever we are doing now is not bringing us the feeling we desire, which is usually something like calmness or peace of mind.

So, how might we acquire these new tools if we want them? There are many wonderful books written (or audiobook versions) regarding personal development, there are podcasts, YouTube videos, and there are people like me who teach them and more…

There is also a private and personal way for you to begin to do this on your own. That of course would entail something I talk about in almost every blog I write, making a new choice. The idea is to experiment with making a new choice in an area of your life that is causing you anxiety and see how you feel about the outcome of that new choice. If you like the new outcome resulting from your new choice, you may want to repeat it. If you don’t like the outcome, because it increases or doesn’t help with the anxiety you are experiencing, it is not the right choice for you. This moment may be looked at as your opportunity to rehearse in your mind what new choice you might want to make before the situation presents itself again. I can guarantee your “next time” is coming in some way.

This “trial and error” method will spark your personal development and get you moving in your own “best” direction. Once you set an intention to learn YOUR healthiest way to deal with any anxiety that comes your way, (and as you continue to take steps toward changing it) life will support you in new and unexpected ways.

In the meantime, just being aware of and changing your choice when you are feeling anxious will give you information that will help you make your next decision. It can be a new choice in how you perceive the situation or the things you tell yourself once the situation has presented itself. With your underlying intention to do something different this time, you take your first tiny step into a new, more loving place for your mind and soul to rest. Don’t we all deserve that?
I know we do.

With love, Jackie

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Run Around In Circles Or Make A Different Choice? 🤷🏻‍♀️ 🤷🏻‍♂️

If there is an area of your life where you are not feeling comfortable or that is not going well, here are just a few questions for your own gentle consideration.

What do I want? (My friend Lynne’s powerful question)
Am I willing to see this differently?
Am I willing to consider the possibility that there could be another possibility, even if I don’t know what it is right now?
What is the smallest, kindest thing I can do to take loving care of myself right now?

“Until we make a choice to do “it” differently, we will continue to go around in circles.”
-Marianne Williamson

My translation of the above quote is: Unless and until we make a new choice, in an area of our lives that is causing us pain or discomfort, we will continue to create the same outcome, an outcome we don’t want.

I did this. For decades I created the same painful outcomes I didn’t like in many areas of my life. Why did I do this? It happened because I didn’t make the connection between my choices and their results or consequences. At the time, I didn’t have the awareness or tools to do it differently. I do now and instead of my choices causing me more emotional pain, they now bring me more peace. This doesn’t mean I don’t experience emotional pain in my life, I do. The difference is I have learned how to recognize and respond to the pain so that I can get back to feeling peaceful. You can too if you want to. Begin to look at the things that are causing you pain or discomfort and make a new choice (preferably chosen in kindness toward yourself). It doesn’t need to be the “right” choice, or the “perfect” choice, any new choice will do.

With love, Jackie

        Thoughts Worth Thinking (About) 🤔

 

When you believe in yourself, you will not care if anyone else does or not.

When you forgive yourself, it won’t matter if other people do or not.

When you are comfortable with yourself, it won’t matter what other people say. You will treat yourself and others with kindness and respect whether they love you, blame you, forgive you or not.

When you value yourself and believe in your own self-worth, you will stop looking for other people’s approval.

It is an inside job. No one has the power to make you feel guilty, embarrassed, defensive or angry unless you give it to them. The reason we feel that other people can make us feel a certain way is because they are just confirming what we are already feeling inside about ourselves. We have given our power (of choice) away. We have allowed someone else to determine how we feel. If we want to feel better we can take our power back and make a new choice. Thinking a new thought that is more in line with what we desire is a first step. 👣

With love, Jackie

A Dose of Kindness 🌷

NEWS FLASH!!! You are enough, you are good enough just as you are, regardless of what other people, or your own mind, keeps telling you! The truth is that you are a human being who is always good enough! And yes, I am talking to YOU without even knowing you.

Listen to your internal critic disagree with that statement when you read it. It’s probably taking your inventory, listing all your self criticisms, to tell you why that statement is so not true. Please acknowledge and disregard this voice in your head. It usually comes from a part of our past experience or “past programming” from our youth, and it prevents us from blossoming into the lovely human being we truly are. How do I know that’s true? Just ask yourself this question: “If I didn’t believe that negative thought, what new choice(s) would I make?”

So today, as an act of kindness to yourself, why not experiment with taking one new tiny step, a new thought, a new choice of words, or a new action, that is distinctly in opposition to any one of your self criticisms? What do you have to lose, how about an old belief that you have held for a long time that was never true to begin with? 🤔

With love, Jackie

A “Game Changing” Quote

” When you make the connection between your choices and your experiences, you don’t have to create the same experience again.” – Gary Zukav

 
I love this quote. It has empowered me. Using it guides my personal growth. Through my experience I have learned that knowing something, like the above quote, is not the same as incorporating it into my life. Sometimes I can feel the moment a concept becomes a part of me. It feels like a tiny, little “download” which then leads to a small feeling of excitement, for which I am thankful.

For me this quote meant I no longer had to create pain for myself by telling myself I was a big fat failure at weight-loss, or that life wasn’t worth living because I had a severely autistic son. I was the one who (unconsciously) created those thoughts that caused me great pain. For most of my life I didn’t know I could change my thoughts. When I learned I could change them, I started to experiment with improving my thoughts. It took time, kindness and gentleness directed at myself, but eventually my life flipped. It became full of love.

I offer my experience only to say, that if you are experiencing emotional pain in any part of your life, you can change it. Put words to any thoughts that are causing you pain and ask yourself, “what other choices do I have?” Give one of those choices a try and see how you like it. If it still doesn’t feel quite right, try again. Keep going until one of your choices makes you feel better. Then, when the old thought comes, and it will, replace it with your new thought/choice, the one that feels better. You do deserve to feel good. Did you know that your feelings matter? I didn’t, but I do now, and that little thought changed everything.

With love, Jackie

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Stepping Into Fear

I recently watched an interview with Shonda Rimes, a writer for some popular TV shows. Last year she wrote a book titled “A Year of Yes”. One of the things she talked about was how she had previously declined invitations for unique and meaningful experiences, large and small, because of her fears. So after a lightbulb moment talking with her sister, she decided to say YES for one year to the things that scared her and it changed her life!

Well, this sounded very scary to me, but I could feel the truth in this. I also felt IT was speaking to me. Not being one to just jump right in, I decided I would start with small things that I was afraid to do. So I’m tuning my radar to be sensitive to my fears so I can identify them. For me this is usually felt inside my body.

My first tiny challenge came a few days ago. I was so grateful that it was small. It was my day off and instead of exercising indoors, which is what I usually do, I felt called to take a long walk outside in my neighborhood. It was midday and I had not showered yet. I thought “what if I run into my neighbors? What if they see me in this ungroomed state? Will they judge me? Will I judge myself?” I felt the power of a small fear keeping me from something that I wanted to do and so I decided I had to do it. I wondered what kind of lesson could come from such a small step.

I took my walk around my neighborhood, said hello to a few neighbors, waved to a few of them in their cars and I was done. Well what had I thought was so scary about that, enough so that I was willing to let it stop me from something I wanted to do on my day off? It seemed silly when I was finished. Aside from realizing the pleasure of a walk outside on a beautiful day, I didn’t see any lesson that I learned. However, the rest of the day unfolded in ways that were wonderfully unusual and meaningful to me. I couldn’t help but wonder if that was the outcome, payoff or consequence of challenging my small fear or just chance.

There’s only one way to find out, and that is to repeat the experiment and see what happens. The current fear that is tapping me on my shoulder, says to open up my blog space for discussion. Ask people what is on their minds, what would they like to talk about, share, or ask? The fearful voice inside says “who do you think you are doing this?” And the kind and loving voice inside says “why not put it out there and see what happens? It could end up being a place for people to support each other.”

So, if you have something on your mind you’d like to talk about, whether it’s a fear, a concern or anything else, if it feels right to you, you are welcome to write it in the “Leave a comment” section after my blog. You can be anonymous or use your name, whatever feels comfortable. We all share the same (human) feelings at one time or another. Isn’t that one of the things that connects us to each other?

Do you feel fears arising just thinking about acknowledging your fears? What are they saying? What is their message? Would it be possible to take one tiny step into your fear and see what happens? If not today, maybe tomorrow or another day. Remember, there’s nothing more important than being kind and gentle with yourself. You will know when the time is right for YOU.

With love, Jackie

The Gift of “Negative” Emotions” 😳☹️😤

Every situation that elicits or brings forth what I might think of as a negative emotion, is an opening to change my thinking to something that feels better, that is more agreeable to me.” – J. Bowden

Uncertainty and unpredictability are a constant and undeniable part of life. Not being able to control others, or the world around us, can often lead to feelings of fear, anxiety or hopelessness. What can we control? We have the power to control OUR thoughts, words, actions and reactions. Since it is a fact that life is fundamentally uncertain, why not choose a way of feeling better as we live our daily lives?

Whether it is in the realm of weight loss, relationships, finances, etc., making a change in our thinking is an act of kindness, a gift to ourselves. When we do this, our current feeling of negativity changes to something positive. The better feeling that results from this change is the gift.

Here’s one example. When my mom passed away, many decades ago, my initial thought was, that with her died any potential for a better relationship. Over time I changed my thoughts to:
1. Our relationship was what it was
2. We both did the best we could at the time
3. It was never meant to be other than it was

With that small improvement in how I viewed things, I let go of my ongoing resistance of wanting things to be other than they were. Holding on to my old thought just kept me feeling stuck and crummy.

What is the alternative to changing our thoughts to be more supportive and kind to ourselves? We can stay stuck and feel resentful or continue to be angry or sad that things aren’t working out the way we want them to. How is that helpful? How does that serve us? What does that get us?

Why not take a moment, close your eyes and search “inside” for any painful or uncomfortable feelings. When you find one, ask yourself how else you might think about it that is also true, and, that might bring you a slightly better feeling. (Note; I have found it helpful to start with something small, like telephone solicitations or my inability to find something).

You can feel good regardless of what is going on with the people and situations in your life. And you can create that for yourself in a way that doesn’t depend on outside circumstances. It is YOUR choice. It all begins with giving yourself the GIFT of a new thought. Who, more than you, deserves that?

With love, Jackie

Just Words? No Such Thing

I have a little daily meditation book that a wonderful friend of mine told me about. When I take my quiet time, I look forward to reading the thought for the day and turning my focus to it. It is called “A Cherokee Feast Of Days”. The other day, one of the meditations felt especially meaningful. I thought you might like it too. What follows is just a piece of it.

“There is power in a word whether we read it, speak it, or hear it. Words are tools, weapons, both good and bad medicine – but very beautiful when used lovingly. Words have the power to help heal or to make sick people sicker by negative talk around them. The word gives confidence when it builds rather than destroys. Until we listen to our own voices and how we talk, we would never guess how we use our own words.”  

After reading that I decided to set a gentle intention to become more aware of the words coming out of my mouth. This led me to wonder about where the words we use originate. They originate in our thoughts. Our words are a reflection of the thoughts and beliefs we hold. So, in order to choose my words more lovingly and kindly, I decided I needed to choose more loving and kind thoughts.

Think back for a moment and feel the power a kind or unkind word has had on you in the past. Would it be possible to give yourself, and perhaps someone else, a kind word today?

With love, Jackie

Kind Words When a Pet Dies

Many of us choose to share our lives with beloved pets. Because their life spans can be much shorter than ours, we inevitably get to a time when they are no longer with us. This was my experience last week. My sweet cat left this earth.

I was contemplating what made the experience so painful. This is the answer I came up with for myself. When she died, our shared experience of giving and receiving love from each other every day ends too. The physical connection is broken. Of course, we never stop loving them, it just changes form overtime from daily interactions to happy and loving memories of time shared.

A kind and supportive friend wrote a beautiful and heartfelt article, a blog post, about the experience. I offer it as comfort to all of you who have been in, or are faced with this or a similar situation.

With love, Jackie

 
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by sdruesel
“Those whom we have loved never really leave us. They live on forever in our hearts, and cast their radiant light onto our every shadow.” – Sylvana Rossetti

A small life passes …

Today I mourn the passing of a small life. A small life that carried a very large and loving heart.

A close friend’s pet, a cat and family member of 15+ years, has completed her journey in this life. Recently this wonderful, loving creature took a turn for the worst as she dealt with a foreign growth diagnosed as terminal. By mid-week she continued the downward decline, seeming stoic yet offering signals from her natural, inner senses that her time for the next phase of life was almost here. And as loving care and comfort was given, my friend heard the message, searched deep inside her soul, and together with her son made the loving and difficult decision to offer peace once more to her friend, companion, and playmate of so many years.

So yesterday was my friend’s time to begin grieving, and remembering the wonderful life shared between a cat and their guardian. It signaled her time to navigate through loss and the painful process of beginning to let go. It became her time to begin re-framing love expressed when alive into an even richer love built upon memories and the reliving of the feelings spawned by those memories.

And for me, I gave comfort where and when possible … and gave space for healing to begin. And throughout it all I was reminded that the human species thrives on connection … a connection that at times can be surprisingly powerful, deep, and richly sweetened by life’s shared events accumulated each hour of each day of each year … a connection that when lost, creates pain like no other. A connection that becomes a rich tapestry that is woven through life when lived, then folded and stored once life ends. A connection that is love.

But the tapestry remains, ready to be pulled down from the shelf and used to wrap around you when times arrive to recall a life well lived. Yes … such loss is terribly sad. But as was described by this friend as she navigated the painful feelings … death is the price paid for living. And a life well lived … a life offering deep and ever meaningful connection is worth the payment.

Be at peace as you … as your kitty spirit flows back into the universe my dear Pepper. You are loved because you gave love, and the sting of loss shows the depth of the love you gave.
sdruesel | August 6, 2016 at 8:29 am | Categories: Uncategorized |
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Small Steps 👣

When I think back on why I was overweight for so many decades, one of the things I clearly remember was that for me, weight-loss seemed like a mountain to climb. I had tried to climb this mountain many times only to find myself in the same spot once again, feeling defeated.

It was clear from my past experience that I was getting nowhere with my desire to be fit and healthy. Looking back now, I believe one of the reasons I was never successful was because I was trying to take too big of a step too many times. I was only focused on weight-loss to the exclusion of my sense of well-being and the rest of my life. I ignored my sense of well-being by thinking I had to eat food I didn’t enjoy, depriving myself of enough food, forcing myself to do exercises I didn’t like, not making time for myself and more. I never took the time to figure out what might make me happy, whether it was losing weight or anything else.

I was reminded of all of this, this morning. I realized that over time, taking one small step at a time, I have come up with a menu of exercises that I enjoy doing. Since every day is different, I developed different exercise options that can accommodate any amount of time from one exercise to one hour. If I only have time for just one exercise, I don’t judge myself. I do what I have time for and get on with my day.

The following is probably more than you wanted to know, but I thought I’d share it with you in case it might be helpful. I have divided my exercises into sweaty and non-sweaty categories. For me, sweaty exercise must be done before I shower. This includes my elliptical machine or an aerobic DVD. Non-sweaty exercises can be done after I shower and sprinkled throughout my day. These include light weights, stretches and yoga. If I need to get going first thing in the morning, I will choose non-sweaty exercises later in the day. If I can take a little extra time in the morning, I spend time working up a sweat.

I smile when I think about how much I hated exercise, and vegetables too for that matter. How did all of this change in my experience when it seemed so unlikely, so impossible at the time? My answer to myself; I started taking small steps that felt good instead of any step that didn’t feel good. For the first time in my life, I began to be gentle with myself.

Instead of forcing myself to eat vegetables I didn’t like, I started with more of the ones I already liked. Instead of telling myself I couldn’t have something, I added food that was healthier, like fruit, more protein or a beverage I enjoyed that didn’t add to my weight. I chose to go out and buy myself one or two inexpensive outfits that I felt good wearing NOW, instead of waiting until I had lost weight to buy new clothes. The most helpful thing I did was, I STOPPED JUDGING MYSELF.

What about you? Is there anything in your life that you’ve wanted to change but feel like you’ve never been able to? What about considering one tiny change or step that actually feels good to you or that feels doable?

We can all find things in our lives that seemed impossible at one time….and then they weren’t.

It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

With love, Jackie