A few days ago I commented on Ivan Proust’s blog thanking him for his inspiring post. I said I really needed the inspiration and the motivation for the day as I was heading out for a very important meeting. His post ruminated the fact that we, as humans, need to feel that we are in control of our lives! He chose to end the post with the line “focus on the few things of importance that you can really influence.” This line got me thinking! Why, you ask?
Well, for the past few days I have been really anxious about that important meeting and its outcome. Of course there was nothing I could do to control the outcome, other than prepare myself in advance and give the meeting my best effort! But worry still, I did! It may sound an excuse if I said that my anxiety was so high because a lot depended on that meeting, my future including! Needless to say, the anxiety was really getting to me!
Anxiety is something that I have been struggling with for a very long time. Ever since I decided to break away from the oppression that I was subjected to, I have been trying hard to fight anxiety. At first, I tried to ignore it, then I tried to live with it and then finally I decided to get help and do something about it. Everything that is important to me becomes an anxiety inducing thing, be it an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Problem is in life, we come across many events and situations where the outcome is uncertain. If we start to worry about every single one of them, then worrying soon becomes a full time job and can be exhausting. And this kind of worrying soon leads to anxiety and anxiety related disorders.
I remember reading somewhere that our mind is like a sponge, it absorbs as much as it can but it also has the power to drain out what is not required and shouldn’t be retained! Now imagine the sponge absorbing everything around it and holding all of that in but refusing to drain out the unnecessary things? At some point the sponge will become saturated and will not be able to absorb anymore from outside. What can it do at this stage? It will go over an over what has already been absorbed without wanting to drain out or let go, making it a vicious cycle. Just like that sponge, our minds will also get entwined in a vicious circle if we do not drain out the unnecessary thoughts making it toxic for us.
The importance of this meeting had me so worried that it became my only focus (apart from my son, of course!). I did not think about anything else, did not do anything else. I couldn’t focus on the alumni that I volunteered to help run (thank you Anand for taking care of everything when I was not around much), I couldn’t focus on my reading (I have lots of blog posts to catch up on) and I couldn’t focus at all on my writing! I sat down to write 3 times that week and each time I felt lost. I tried to soothe myself claiming that it is a temporary writer’s block and that I will soon get over it. But deep inside I knew it was not that. The problem was my anxiety! I was too anxious thinking about this one thing to have space in my mind for anything else!
Thankfully, this realization deep inside struck me like lightening and gave me that much needed moment of clarity. While I was right to worry a bit about the meeting, making that the only focus did not do justice to my mind! My mind and my thoughts deserved to continue to absorb from my surrounding. It deserved to drain out what was toxic to me. My mind deserved to feel creative and it deserved to let me pen that creativity onto paper! It deserved to be free of thoughts every once in a while.
Since then I have made it a practice to tell myself that “What has to happen will happen whether I worry about it or not!” I know that I will not be able to break the habit straight away but I am positive that with time I should be able to control it!
P.S: For those wondering, yes my meeting went well! It was indeed a game changer, but I am glad it is going the way I want it to! 🙂