Letting Go Of Anxiety and Fear

Sometimes we carry a sense of anxiety and fear around with us. You know that sense, that feeling, in the back of your mind that you can't quite let go of, that feeling of unease that simply won't go away. You are holding onto it just in case. Just in case a moment arises where it might be needed, where you can call upon it quickly. However, it is basically saying to yourself that you are ready to become overwhelmed and highly agitated in any moment of duress. No one really wants to live like that, nor is it necessary or beneficial. So how do we overcome that feeling, that irrational reaction, and let it go?

We need to shift how we see life, and then the feelings of anxiety and fear will fade away. Let's say you experience something that is stressful and overwhelming, an anxiety-ridden moment. It is with you and then it passes. The moment goes and so we let it go. Because the moment changes, we must adapt. We do this without thinking; we wipe the slate clean. But sometimes we believe we will experience the same thing again. And so like packing an overstuffed suitcase, we are ready with our expectations; we are ready for life. We can look at our expectations as a way to protect ourselves, similar to the way we sometimes over-pack for a short trip. We prepare for the worst, almost expecting it. Because we once experienced being cold in the past, we do everything we can to protect ourselves from that happening again, even though it is not likely. We start to see life as something we need to protect ourselves from. This viewpoint drags us down to a place where we feel like we are living in a constant state of anxiety and fear. We are weighed down by our expectations, that we could be cold again, that things will not be good in the future because of an experience we had in the past.

Do we really want to carry so much stuff just because it was cold once? It doesn't mean we are going to freeze again. Just because something we did not like happened in the past does not mean it will happen again. So why would we live like it will, almost as if we are certain it will happen again, even though we know deep down that it is unlikely? We know that the anxiety and fear we are feeling is at some level irrational and even illogical. That it really makes no sense. So what do we do? We either choose to see life with these irrational expectations, that what was will be again, or we can see life as it is, something that is constantly changing, something that is always new, bringing us different experiences and supporting us through all of them. Life is not repetitious. We may live like it is. We may see repetition constantly, but how much of this repetition is caused by how we are choosing see it? How we have lived our life and how we have chosen to look at life often does not really correlate with how life really is.

Anxiety and fear are nothing more than a memory of what was and what we are holding onto and placing it in our current life and what we imagine the future to be. However, by looking at life and our future with filters like anxiety and fear, we are moving from reality, from how life really is. We are distorting what we see it by looking at life in a state of anxiety. We are seeing life from a place of fear. Fear is a funny thing. It makes us believe in the worst; it gives us the tendency to see the worst outcomes in life, in our future. This outlook doesn't develop overnight. It is just an accumulation of our experiences that we haven't let go of. We hold onto certain moments, even though they were temporary, really just fleeting experiences that we have chosen to assign great meaning and strong emotions to.

To free ourselves up from this heavy load of anxiety and fear, we must determine how realistic we are. Are we seeing life through a filter, are we placing past experiences into the present and into the future? Are our memories changing how we live right now? What are we holding onto that is causing the feelings of anxiety and fear? Even though you may have experienced things that have caused you great pain, you know that right now is different than it was. You are different; everything around you is different. Also know that you made it through it before. You saw your strength. You know you could make it through it again. So use that strength you know you have to see past the fear and anxiety. You can see past the swirling emotions that almost feel separate from you. All the fear, anxiety, and the pain of those past experiences are not meant for you to carry anymore. They don't belong to you. They belong to a different person. You have changed. You are not the same person you once were. And you don't need to feel the same way or to look at life as you once did. You can see that life and the strength you have within yourself have helped you change. You can see that life has helped you in unexpected ways and will continue to do so. The past is gone and you are free of it. All there is is right now. You are part of life and it embraces you.

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