One powerful way to view anxiety is through the lens of connection|disconnection. We know that the pain associated with Protracted, Involuntary Isolation and Loneliness can easily exceed the pain associated with dental surgery (the pain from dental surgery eventually subsides, yet the pain resulting from isolation and loneliness could persist forever).
Many forms of ANXIETY are a result of AMBIVALENT CONNECTION. In other words, the fear (or terror) that Connection, or LOVE, will be instantly withdrawn unless the person ostensibly ‘providing’ the love feels satisfied with how the love’s recipient is Being or Behaving.
The implied ‘threat’ of alienation has a chilling effect on how SAFE it is for a person to BE themselves, express their own thoughts, express their own beliefs or express their needs.
I’ll take things one step further by stating that: The ANXIETY response is premised on a belief that love is something ‘material’. Like a SUBSTANCE or OBJECT that one person can give to another or withdraw from that person. Even though this perception is entirely fallacious it feels as if it’s true. Our cultures invest time, money and energy promoting a belief that this is the only correct way to relate to LOVE!
But I would argue, based on my research into LOVE (I’m the author of Learning to Love – Your Guide to Personal Empowerment), despite appearances, love is not at all transferable.
LOVE IS AN EMOTION WHOSE SOURCE LIES WITHIN EACH OF US
However, three conditions need to exist in order for us to FEEL Loved:
- The Love needs to be 100% Unconditional
- It needs to be secure and dependable
- It needs to acknowledge the existence and legitimacy of our experience and our feelings and our right to subjectively interpret our experiences and our feelings.
By teaching and training my students and clients to PROVIDE THEMSELVES WITH THE THREE PRE-CONDITIONS necessary for FEELING LOVED, I’ve been helping them to recover, effortlessly, from even the most crippling ANXIETY. Many have reduced their reliance on Meds over relatively short intervals of time (a few months or years, rather than decades).
When we hold someone to comfort them, lovingly stroke their hair or their back, we’re NOT GIVING our love to them, instead,
We are creating the conditions that are necessary for them to tap-into the LOVE that’s already inside them
by suspending judgement, (pre-condition #1), communicating our intention to reliably and dependably maintain unconditional acceptance of them (pre-condition #2), and we’re acknowledging the legitimacy of their needs and the validity of their subjective reality.
The next time that you feel ANXIOUS, see if you can identify your deeper concern about rejection or isolation, and do your best to accept yourself you’ll experience less frequent and lower anxiety, that will last a shorter amount of time.
Wishing you success and freedom from anxiety and anxiety medications.