Anxiety started, for me, during elementary school. I must have been, eight, nine or ten, somewhere in there. Prior to this I was openly gregarious and not really a hesitant or reserved person when talking to other people. I continued to be pretty outgoing after this time, but it came with a lot of internal anxiety, second guessing and often holding back what I really wanted to say.
During my early growing up years, I had someone very close to me that would frequently make comments like “you’re stupid”, “no one wants to her what you have to say” and “shut up, no one likes you anyway” just to name a few. Now for a young impressionable kid I framed these comments as truth. I do not remember ever talking to my mom or dad about it, we didn’t really talk about our feelings as kids. Throughout childhood and continued
interactions with this person, I continued to build on the story that what she said truth. It did not help that I idolized this person and just wanted to be a part of her world. By this point in life, even when this person wasn’t around, I would proceed with caution when talking to people and openly saying what I had to say.
The thing is, I had major internal conflict with this story I had built. I had a lot to say as a person. I am a highly creative person with a lot of thoughts and ideas. This story that I built about “my ideas were stupid” and “my voice didn’t matter” created this internal tug of war. It also impacted how openly I shared things and internal second guessing along the way.
Looking forward to the next couple decades, I continued to build anxiety and stress around sharing my authentic voice and thoughts.
It was completely unhealthy! I became my own worst enemy and bully to myself.
I was promoted to management by my early twenties and started in sales when I was in my late twenties. In both of these roles, I had to show up strong and confident. But, internally, I continued to grow that second guessing, replaying what I said in my head, and wondering if I said the wrong thing. Again, extremely unhealthy and not a good quality of life putting myself through this. Now to be clear this wasn’t constant but showed up more and more throughout the years. Each time that I did not silence that negative I was basically reinforcing it as truth. During the times I would step into my true self (confident, gregarious, open, unafraid), those were some of the most freeing and best days in career.
Internally I would have labeled myself a true Introvert (by the way I am not big on labels). To me there was no other explanation of why I would feel this way internally all the time. I had not yet dialed back to when/where it started.
My turning point in life was in my mid-thirties. For those of you not familiar with my previous blogs, it was in my mid-thirties that I had thyroid cancer and all my deepest darkest struggles spiraled fast over the next couple years past this point.
At my rock bottom, I thankfully pulled myself up and realized I needed to change. My earliest steps came with a lot of writing, reading, podcasts and anything else I could get my hands on to learn about my body, mind, anxiety, depression, etc. For me, I needed to learn about where this was stemming and how to change it. The one thing I knew for a fact was that I wanted to live a happier life. I wanted to, without reservation, openly share my creative side. I read a lot on positive self-talk, anxiety, the brain, motivation and so much more.
About a year or two into my healing journey I also hired my first coach. I knew I was to the point that I was ready to openly share some of what I had been feeling with someone and coaching felt like the best option for me. This was also the point I started uncovering all of what I now call, “false truths” that I built in childhood. What I did not realize until this point in life was how much they impacted me. Before this, I don’t even know if I could tell you I remembered some of those comments.
It took a lot of work to get to the root of where it stemmed from.
My coach helped me uncover so much and realign these stories/false truths I had built about myself. She also helped immensely when it came to me telling myself a different story. I started noticing less internal anxiety in moments it would have previously showed up strong.
Over the next couple years, I continued my path of healing and growth. I would learn, apply, and repeat. This also came with conversations I should have had years ago (we will talk more about this in another post).
Speeding forward a couple years, I knew how far I had come in my growth, overcoming the internal demons of anxiety, stress and second guessing. This was around the time I started being more open with my journey and sharing with others. It felt good to feel less anxiety. Don’t get me wrong I think as people we still have a certain amount of manageable anxiety that shows up, but we learn how to recognize it and attach the right story behind it.
A couple years later when I started my first business and I was considering getting certified as a trainer and/or coach, I recognized some of the same emotions showing up again.
Thankfully, I was able to recognize it quickly from all the work I had done. It was clear I still had something to uncover and to work through. I started seeking out information, books and learning on stored emotions. From this I started learning about how emotions, experiences, and memories mark your body in some way. Until you release the emotion behind the experience it is literally attached to your cell memory and can show up under circumstances that spark it. For me it was those false beliefs from when I was little. Releasing those stored emotions behind the stories and experiences was key for me to continue moving forward. After reading about the Emotion/Body code I hired a certified healer to help release those past emotions. Looking back, all the work I had done prior was key for this part of my healing. I believe we must truly be open to change and growth for anything to really work.
Looking back this journey has been seven/eight years of undoing stories that I build for decades.
For anyone focused on growth in any area, personal growth, weight loss, fixing a relationship, whatever it is, recognize that it may take time and effort to “un-do” whatever it is!
I spent over twenty-five years building stories in my head, heart and body about who I was from my own self-critical comments and the comments I built from others. The stories I built were dis-empowering and caused me much internal grief for decades. Because I didn’t fix them earlier and I didn’t recognize there was something that needed to be changed I continued to build truth about these things each time I would have an encounter that made me anxious or nervous. My story was that my voice didn’t matter and what the hell did I know, everyone knew more then me.
As I type this blog today, I am so incredibly grateful to have changed that story and internal false belief.
Un-doing these twenty-five (ish) years of false beliefs took time, consistency, and work.
Whatever it is you are working on or through, remember it takes time! Hang in there and stay focused on what you want to do, where you want to be.
Here are a few tips to help:
Decide what you want or what you don’t want. For me, I knew I no longer wanted to feel the way I felt internally just by being me and communicating. I also knew there was a lot I held back from saying. I wanted the confidence and strength to say the things I wanted to say.
What tools do you need? Depending on what it is you are looking to achieve, your tools may look far different than mine. Hint here, don’t make money a barrier, there are so many free/cost effective tools out there.
Get help if you need it! You guys, for a long time I did not ask for help. For two main reasons, first, I did not want to burden anyone and second, I didn’t want to be judged by “what people would think”. I must tell you the most pivotal point in my life came with getting help and being more open to share/communicate openly with the right people. It was NOT EASY for me. Some of the hardest conversations I had in my growth journey were messy and nothing came out as planned. But, on the other side of it, it felt freeing and started showing me what I was missing by not openly sharing.
Consistency. This is key to change!
Mindset. No matter what it is you are working on, I believe mindset it crucial. Watch your words and be sure to get clear statements in place that will empower you. Encourage yourself and what you are doing with positive statements.
Growth does not come overnight. Chunk out your goals. You know where you are now and where you want to be. Set yourself up for success by creating attainable steps to get you there so you are more likely to stick to it.
Recognize and acknowledge your progress along the way. Every small step should be celebrated, the more you do the more you will be able to look back and see how far you have come and the more you will stay motivated to keep going. Journaling along the way is a great way to have a quick look back to how far you have come.
Finally, keep appreciating and being kind to yourself and the road you are on.
If you are looking for more tips, suggestions or coaching support, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org