This is a message to you, for those times when you feel like you are failing.
This is a little bit of a verbal manifesto for you, if you feel like you are not winning the fight against anxiety and you are lost on where to go next.
Maybe you feel like you can’t seem to get relief from your anxiety. Or you are unable to do something that is super scary for you. Possibly you have mastered one struggle and then you have found that a new anxiety or struggle has risen. In this moment, you may feel like you cannot seem to get “control” over whatever it is that you are dealing with. Because of this, your emotions might be raging, despite your attempts to calm them.
Below are my favorite FIVE points to remember when you think that you are failing, or not winning. I hope they find you some peace and give you some ideas to help you keep moving forward.
FIVE things for you to remeber when you think you are “failing”
You cannot “fail” if you are trying.
If you are trying, you are being willing Failing is if you stop trying. There will be times when you have to slow down and stop your work for a moment. You may need some time to reflect (see Thing # 3 for more information on this). That being said, try to remember that slowing down is not failing either.
This struggle is real and IMPORTANT. You are not making this struggle up. If it is hard for you, it IS hard. Just because it isn’t hard for others, does NOT discount that it IS hard for you. Be gentle with yourself. You are not dumb, or stupid, or messed up because this struggle is so hard for you. There is no rhyme or reason why this struggle chose you. All I can say is that it is yours and you are correct. IT IS HARD.
Thing # 3
Make the “fail” or the struggle count. There is knowledge in each struggle. I can be helpful to ask yourself, “What message is there that we could learn from?” Possible obstacles that might be getting in the way could include concepts such as-
- I cannot let go of control.
- I am struggling with concept of uncertainty
- I am struggling with accepting my physical discomfort
Once you have identified the obstacle, you might review (by yourself or with your therapist) if it would be helpful to go back to identifying and correcting your irrational thoughts about your fear. You might also want to revisit your willingness tools. An important tool that we often forget is to apply TONS of compassion. Or maybe just a little bit, if compassion is a hard tool for you to access. You could use this “fail” to dispel the misconception that you should be ashamed of having this struggle. Can you share it with someone your trust? We all, even those who seem happy and lucky, have struggles. You are not alone. Don’t hide it all to yourself. Reach out and ask for a hug. Allow yourself to be comforted. Brene Brown’s research on trust has shown that others trust us more when we share our own struggles with others.
Beating yourself solves NOTHING. Do you look back on past events and say, “I am so glad I beat myself up over that!” I am sure you do not. J Could you allow this struggle to be hard just for the present moment? Sometime when we allow things to be hard, miraculously, they become jus a little easier, or the heaviness of them becomes less.
Some Yoga Instructors say that there are some advanced moves that require you to fall 1000 times before you can master a pose. If you didn’t know that it took 1000 falls to master the pose, you would probably give up pretty fast. I like to use this as a metaphor for dealing with anxiety. Remind yourself that you will have to fall a few times at least (more likely 1000) when dealing with anxiety. If you find that infuriating, try not to judge the process. Allow yourself to fall, knowing that the falls are accruing towards a great outcome.
“Failing” is a point of view. Remember, you cannot fail if you are trying. If someone tells you your trying is not enough, that’s ok. They can have that opinion. However, no one knows your struggle. No one gets to tell you how your recovery should look. Just keep looking at the steps you are taking.
Be SUPER careful of looking too far ahead. If you are climbing a mountain (which I am sure this is how it feels to you right now if you are listening this far into the podcast), just focus on the steps you are taking. If you look too far up the mountain, you WILL trip and then you will feel like you are “failing”. Sound familiar. Try to just stay here, on this one step. Master this one step and give yourself time and compassion for how hard this step is.
Consider “failing” as proof of bravery. If you are listening to this, in my mind,
YOU are a winner. You are brave, just for trying to conquer something hard. It takes courage to admit to having struggles. It would be so easy to go and hide and let whatever it is that you are dealing with just keep happening. It takes a lot of courage to fight through something instead of run away or fight it with anger or self-criticism. Open yourself to allowing the struggle to be a part of your story, instead of fighting it all the way. Every good story or movie needs a struggle. I see your strength. I see your possibilities. Keep your fire alive.
I believe you can do this. I have seen some pretty amazing stuff in my career. I’ve seen people tell me they “will never beat this” and they did. Keep trying!