by Robyn Jones – B.Sc. (Psych), Goonellabah, Australia
I have come from a life of severe anxiety and intense panic attacks with periods of agoraphobia (not being able to leave the house), and feeling like I had to grit my teeth and push myself to get through every day… to now, feeling like a calm and steady woman who is mostly guided through the day by a deep loveliness that comes from within.
To describe this loveliness is to describe ME. It feels like a deep tenderness, an allowing myself to just BE, a stillness within – even when everything around me is busy – a beauty that is not about how I look but how I feel, a delicateness that encompasses both fragility and strength in one, and so much more.
What is super lovely about Loveliness is we all have it equally within us, every single one of us!
I have come to realise that this loveliness is who I really am and the anxiety is not who I am – although for so long I really thought it was. I have learnt that the more I respect and honour this loveliness and allow it to guide me through the day, the less anxiety I experience. Having reacquainted myself with that inner quality, it is a good gauge for me to realise when I am not connected to it, especially when I have times of anxiety. The beauty of this is that I know the loveliness never leaves me – I have merely disconnected from it and that disconnection causes the anxiety. I then have a simple choice; to allow the anxiety to continue, or to take a moment to re-connect to myself and therefore the loveliness (remember, the Loveliness is ME).
However, in order to find this loveliness within I have had to change the way I am with myself. There have been too many changes to share them all, but here are two very everyday examples;
- I have introduced gentleness into my everyday tasks, one such is how I wash myself in the shower. Do I quickly and roughly rub soap all over me just to be clean? Or do I gently caress my skin with the soap, actually feeling my body underneath my soapy hand? The beauty of it is that either way I end up clean, but doing it gently feels so much more respectful and loving towards myself.
- I have introduced a deeper level of caring for myself, e.g; in the morning I am getting up earlier to allow myself the time I feel I need to get ready for the day, whilst doing it all with a level of care rather than an air of rushing. This way I go at a pace that ensures I stay connected and focused on the job at hand and don’t go at a speed that is not natural for me. I’m not talking about going at a snail’s pace, I mean simply listening for the rhythm my body naturally has within (it can be different for every person), and it can be very clear on what pace feels right or not. I also find some days I need to go slower than other days because my body’s rhythm is slower – especially if I have overdone it, or if my period is due.
Making these changes to be this way with myself and taking the time to honour how I feel within, confirms my loveliness to me.
I am bringing what I naturally am to everything that I do and say, rather than looking outside of me – to everyone else, to tell me how to be. This was challenging in the beginning because I had to become aware of how much I was dependent on what others wanted me to be – and how much this dominated everything I said and did. I have found great freedom in speaking and acting from the feelings within me, rather than trying to please and not upset others by being what they expect or want me to be. It feels so much more respectful to myself, and in turn others, to be this way, as giving myself permission to just be ME allows others the opportunity to be themselves also. How cool is that! Far less pressure for all concerned!
These days my focus is to take that inner connection with me everywhere I go… and my life feels so different. I am now working in a job that allows me to be ME, while contributing to the health and wellbeing of others. In addition, within my relationships with my husband and daughters there is more connection; and I have quality friendships and a truly supportive extended family that I only ever dreamt about as a child.
I have realised that the more connected I am with myself the more I can connect with others. The same applies in that the degree to which I care for myself is equivalent to how much I can truly care for others.
I look forward to many more years of unfoldment through the continued guidance of my Loveliness and living what I now know to be the true qualities of ME – tenderness, gentleness, stillness, delicateness, steadfastness, dedication, wisdom, embracing, steadiness… and much more.
Feel free to share below your experiences of anxiety or any questions you may have surrounding anxiety or anything else shared in this blog.
Original article published on the Women in Livingness website on February 13, 2013.