I have suffered with anxiety for most of my life, which has been both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because anxiety motivates me and gets me going. It’s a curse because it can be debilitating, and provides me with a skewed perspective as my defenses are down.

The ultimate negative is when I buy into the message and tell myself that I don’t belong in whatever group I seek to be part of; I label myself an outsider, when all I want to do is be part of the group.

A teacher of mine taught me that our feelings, emotions, and actions are all attempts to protect us and make us feel safe, when most times they do the exact opposite.

A perfect example happened this week. I’m part of a men’s group that meets quarterly and I always find a way to leave early. I’ve never been conscious of this until it was pointed out to me this week.

I adore these men and all I want is to be part of, yet unknowingly, I leave early so they won’t abandon me. In truth, by leaving early, I’m abandoning them and myself.

My men’s group brought this up to me and I’m so grateful that I had the courage to walk through my discomfort and fear instead of running away.

I was able to face my anxiety and take the unconscious and make it conscious, thereby understanding for myself what I was actually doing and how I was moving away from my goal of belonging.

It’s really hard to face our negative messaging and dig deeper to get a better understanding of ourselves. Yet as Rumi states in his poem The Guest House, “even the negative are a gift and we must welcome them in.” If we face the message, get vulnerable and share our fears, and understand our actions, we can achieve our true goal, which in my case was belonging.

This week, let’s dig beneath the surface and get a better understanding of what our actions are trying to protect us from.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love



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