A few times in the last couple of months, my wife and I have reflected that it’s hard to get people to commit to a workshop or event on anxiety. People avoid it. Showing up seems to say something about us. And in general there’s something about it that makes us uncomfortable. Talking about anxiety makes us think about anxiety, just like attending a funeral makes us think about death. And life. And what’s important. And maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe that’s what we should be doing.
Listening to a song the other day I was reflecting on a voice over that preceded the first lyrics. The song was talking about violence, racism and oppression. It was: We need to say something, and when we don’t say something, we are saying something. I agree. Not only in reference to taking a stand against racism and oppression, but also in terms of anxiety. We need to say something about anxiety and when we don’t say something we are saying something.
There is a cost to silence. When we pretend to not have what we have, we are perpetuating a lie. We are cheating ourselves and we are cheating others. When we are silent about our life, our history and what we have been through, we rob ourselves of our very essence; the things that made us, us. Being human is hard. Life is hard. Pretending that its’ different, doesn’t change who we are or where we have been. Pretending doesn’t change how I feel; it just increases my shame and the silence.
So I won’t. I won’t not say something. I have anxiety. I feel sadness, loneliness, worry, and grief. I dread things. And this – this elaborate concoction of my feelings that show up in moments because of my life and where I have been aren’t what’s wrong with me. They are what’s human about me. They are tied to what’s important to me. What’s wrong with me is when I pretend that I’ve had something other than a human experience. When I don’t say something I perpetuate a lie. I make my shame and yours worse by hiding who I am. So I won’t.
So why bother? Because you’re worth it. I am worth it. Your history is worth it. Mine to. I won’t hide it, lie about it or press it inwards. Instead I will walk forward saying something; One “how are you?” at a time. Instead I will walk forward sharing my voice; my “I have anxiety and that’s not what’s wrong with me.”
Standing in the middle of who you are, where you have been and where you want to go with curiosity, honesty and awareness rather than silence and resentment opens up your future in a manner that can honour your past and bring healing. That’s a place where you can Thrive one choice at a time. So how are you? Will you say something? Will you Bother? I will. Join me.