“Why me?” people often ask when they’re dragged into the underworld of anxiety in any form. “Why do they have it so easy? Why does it look like everyone else glides through life when I struggle?”
I’ve written many times on this site and in my courses about the gift of being highly sensitive and the gems that are gleaned from doing our healing work. And I’ve touched on the final stage of healing, which Gloria Steinem succinctly summarizes above, which is to take what you’ve learned and help others. The two are intimately linked, for it’s those who embrace the gifts of their sensitivity, which means attending to anxiety, who are more easily able to live life in alignment with their true selves. One of the most gratifying aspects of my work is watching my clients and course members synthesize what they’ve learned and fly into the world. This passage from a member of my 2015 round of Trust Yourself program comes to mind:
I have to tell you that my life changed because of your 30-day program. Not only did I quit my hospital job to go on my Buddhist Pilgrimage to India and Nepal, I have begun the work of becoming a Humitarian Relief worker – a lifelong dream. My work as a Hospice Nurse, which I returned to after quitting the hospital, is per diem status which gives me the freedom to be gone for chunks of time. I have let fear go and stepped into courage to follow my passion. My first mission is in September, when I will join a small group of committed clinicians to trek into the Upper Dolpo Region of Nepal for 30 days where we will offer 5 clinics along the way. We will be visiting some of the highest settlements on the planet (hiking between 10K and 18K ft) and moving through terrain on the Tibetan Plateau of the Himalaya that has only been open to foreigners since 1992. I cannot begin to imagine what I will learn. I pray (and trust) that I am of service to those we endeavor to help.
I read once if you follow your passion, you will find your purpose. I needed to Trust Myself to do this, and I often have to remind myself things you taught me, so I still listen to your MP3s – so wonderfully supportive – and I continue to trust and KNOW that I am on my path.
Many people find my work because they’re struggling with anxiety. They’re struggling in their relationship or in their work or with their health. But mostly this means they’re struggling with their own inner realms, for we know that anxiety, however it manifests, is a doorway or portal into Self. At the heart of anxiety is a call for healing. And at the heart of healing is an invitation to bring the runes of our suffering into the world. By “into the world” I don’t mean in a grand way, like the Glorias cited at the beginning and the end of this article. I mean in any way that calls you: bringing more compassion to your children (because you’ve learned to be compassionate with yourself first), bringing more kindness to the earth (because you’ve learned that you deserve kindness), following a lifelong dream, as the member shared above. When anxiety decreases, love and kindness increase. And any time we walk with more love and kindness we make the world a better place.
We heal not only for ourselves. It’s a starting point, yes, and a very important one, but ultimately this inner healing naturally ripples outward. The world needs you to do this work. Sometimes when resistance is high and the ego says insists on not budging, by which I mean a client is having trouble committing to the daily tools required to lead to change, I’ll say, “If you can’t do it for you, can you do it for your future children?” The same is true for joining a course like this. I often hear, “But what if I learn to trust myself and I realize I need to leave my relationship?” Like I said, at the heart of anxiety is a call for healing, and when we commit to healing we grow our capacity to love, not shrink it. Does growing our capacity to love lead to the end of loving, committed partnerships? Short answer: No. (For the longer answer, click on the link above.)
Healing is not navel-gazing. It’s not selfish, luxurious, or periphery. It’s what our world needs, and it needs it now. It needs each and every one of you to reach into the depths of your soul and find the strength, courage, and commitment to take full responsibility for your pain, learn to work with your thoughts and tend to your feelings, stop waiting for someone else to do it, for someone else to rescue you, and instead step into the power of your path. It’s not your mother’s job or your father’s job to fix your pain. It’s not your partner’s job to fan the fire of your soul and make you feel alive. It’s your job and yours alone. And the time is now.
The quote at the top of this article is from the documentary, Seeing Allred, about the powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred. I don’t know how Gloria Allred healed the trauma that she suffered in her twenties when she was raped at gunpoint by a doctor in Mexico, became pregnant, then endured a back-alley abortion, but I know that she took that trauma and spent the rest of her life advocating for women and the underserved in this country. She has single-handedly and with a conviction and unflappable self-trust I rarely see changed the face of our culture in countless ways. She doesn’t care what others think. She doesn’t try to win popularity contests. She moves forward with a vision and passion to help, and she sees this commitment to helping others as everyone’s responsibility. I wholeheartedly agree. And what I know in my bones is that the ability to help others must come from as whole of a place inside as possible, otherwise it’s just one more way that we distract and avoid our own pain.
“First we cry and then we march,” Gloria Allred says. I love this quote because it speaks to how important it is to feel our pain and turn inward before turning outward and taking action. But the action is equally as important. We march in different ways. Sometimes we march by telling our stories with vulnerability. Sometimes we march by raising our children. Sometimes we march by learning to love ourselves and another human with as open a heart as possible, softening our fears and moving toward intimate love every single day.
But we march so much more effectively when we turn inward first and learn to trust ourselves on the deepest possible level, when we’re not constantly second guessing our decisions and allowing others’ opinions and perceptions to guide our actions. If you struggle with caring about what others think, if you struggle with making decisions, if your perfectionist and inner critic is at the helm of your ship, and if you’re waiting for someone else to do the hard work for you but know that it’s time to develop enough of a Self that you can begin to take the reins, please join me for my next round of Trust Yourself: A 30-day program to to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Failure, Caring What Others Think, Perfectionism, Difficulty Making Decisions, and Self-Doubt. The program begins on Saturday, April 28, 2018 and I look forward to seeing you there.