It’s a whale of a debate.
Is anxiety meant to be fought? Or is it meant to be accepted? If you would have asked me years ago, I would have hoot and hollered that it should be fought until it’s knocked out cold.
This Fighter Mindset was something my strength coach in college instilled in me:
You have to fight for everything in your life.
Fight for your workouts. Fight for your relationships.
Fight for your success. Fight for everything.
This resonated with me. This made me realize that those things were not simply going to fall into place. Don’t leave it up to chance. If you want great health, you must fight for it. If you want a great relationship, you must fight for it. And it seemed like fighting anxiety and fear was no different.
And while this Fighter Mindset has its place, the more I learned about anxiety, the more I realized maybe fighting ourselves isn’t always the best route. In her book The Fear Cure, Dr. Lissa Rankin states, “It’s not so much about curing fear; it’s more about letting fear cure you.”
What if we ran with this idea…
What if fear was showing us what needs to be healed in our life?
What if fear was showing us where our next area of growth is?
What if fear was showing us where our currently limitations are?
What if fear was showing us the edge of our current abilities?
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you have a fear of public speaking. Most of the population is scared stiff of this. This was something that plagued me for most of my life. I was fortunate though. By using this fear, it showed me how to help more people. By using this fear, it showed me how to express myself in a totally different way. By using this fear, it showed me how to grow as a person.
How can YOUR fear help you?
What if fear was simply handing us a sealed envelope? And we had to rip it open to discover the hidden message inside. And what if we accepted this message instead of fighting it? Instead of running from it. Or distracting from it. Maybe it’s telling us we need to heal some past hurts. Or find a better way to do something. Or change our beliefs about how the world should be.
And accepting does NOT mean giving up. It does NOT mean saying “This is just who I am” either. That’s nonsense. You are much more than your anxiety. It simply means accepting that currently [key word] fear/anxiety is present in certain situations.
It doesn’t always have to be there.
But right now it is.
And maybe… just maybe… by accepting it… and embracing it… it’ll open you up to understanding it more and ultimately how to end it. But it’s worth trying and seeing how it works for you.
You may be pleasantly surprised.