I love the accuracy of anxiety being described as a toddler. If I would have thought about this description last night at 3 AM, I would not have let my “toddler brain” take charge of my life. It would have made sense to quietly ignore the relentless insistence that I was wrong about everything and everything about life was wrong.
(Click on above quote for more powerful info about fighting off “The Frightened Toddler”)
Although, I ignored my “Control Center Alert” instructions for years, due to time spent in deep, dark pits, I now pay attention.
IN CASE OF:
“…think about these things…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy…”
Dwelling on what is scary, dreary, horrid, painful, wrong, and depressing never worked.
Even though it seemed counter-intuitive and too simple, soaking my brain in beauty did. I now use books and the internet to refuel on success stories, overcoming obstacles, recovery-after-tragedy, unexpected-redemption-in-dark-places, love, loyalty, art, nature, animals, and role-models. The change I feel inside is immediate.
Pain to progress. Darkness to light.
Often the thing that makes us crazy is the fear of losing (or never being able to regain) something we think is essential to our happiness.
We often fight, claw, scheme, plot, gamble, bargain with God, fret, worry, and despair in order to hold on to:
- someone we love
- our health
- a job we think we’ve got to have
- our youth
- the money we have or want
- prized possessions
- our status or illusion of status
Ironically, the only path that will keep this pursuit from turning ugly is to let it go gracefully…whatever or whomever it is.
I love this quote by Harold Kushner (author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People).
When I think of my life this way, I can trace threads of connection with situations or people through a pattern that is no less interesting than an intricate work of art, or the complicated plot of a great book.
The challenge is in the stopping to notice part.
In order to do so, I must adamantly deny fear, anxiety, and frustration access to my story. Since I am actually a co-author of “this book,” I can intentionally choose to write myself as the character that overcomes the most difficult challenges, arriving at a breath-taking climax: a climax that will tie all the intricacies and mysteries together with one great big sigh of relief.