Here she is:
First Article published on TinyBuddha.com!
“Anxiety happens when you try to think what you need to feel.” ~Unknown
Anxiety results from unfelt feelings. I battled anxiety for years because I was scared to admit that I was scared. When I felt a wave of anxiety, I would harden myself like a concrete pillar and refuse to be moved. I thought this made me strong, but it halted my emotional progress.
I didn’t have anxiety until my last major breakup four years ago. I refused to consider myself weak, so I hid the pain in the back of my mind like skeletons in a closest.
When I ignored the skeletons knocking on my door, they turned into ghosts. And when the ghosts howled in the night, I’d pretend it was the wind through the trees. I had many clever responses to anxiety, but I always remained unchanged and unmoved.
But when Michelle entered my life, all of the invisible forces I had battled turned into a human being. And I began to love her.
Michelle was too beautiful to hide from and too sweet to rationally be afraid of. She was also the first woman I had gotten to know well since my last big breakup.
We played volleyball together, we hiked, and we went out with friends. She loved how I challenged her to think for herself, and I loved the opportunity to practice what I preach. We spent a ton of time together.
Before I knew it, Michelle became dear to me. She even helped me overcome my anxiety.
Last night Michelle and I expressed strong feelings about our growing friendship. It was extremely vulnerable for me because I had spent the last four years single and focusing on the relationship with myself. But it was something I’d secretly hoped for.
When I relaxed into bed after our three-hour conversation, I felt that dreaded wall of anxiety. Every emotion surrounding my failed relationships hit me like a ton of bricks, and suddenly I had fear about falling in love with my friend.
My first thoughts were “Oh s*&$! Why am I feeling like this?!”
I bolted upright and wanted to run. I wanted to do anything but acknowledge my feelings. But I realized that I couldn’t be afraid of this sweet girl, and I couldn’t regret being close with her.
So I did something different.
I sat with my feelings and identified them. I was scared. And instead of becoming consumed by anxiety, I repeated aloud that I was scared, almost like a mantra.
And I wept.
I wept for fifteen minutes and transformed that wave of anxiety into a fully felt feeling.
As I cried, I felt okay to be scared. I thought of the way my other relationships ended, and how hard I have worked to build lasting love. I allowed myself to experience the grief of former heartaches, and the uncertainty of new love.
In the tears I felt an active transformation. I was healed through my emotions.
Instead of giving into fear, I felt grateful for the opportunity to put into practice all the things I had learned about relationships. And I felt confident in being able to make mistakes on the road to unconditional love. Acknowledging and experiencing my true emotions made all the difference.
I used anxiety to heal myself.
If you’ve battled anxiety, there may be important emotions you haven’t allowed yourself to feel. Here are five tips to help you heal.
1. Identify the feeling of anxiety.
Anxiety is a powerful signal feeling for deeper and more specific feelings such as anger, sadness, jealousy, and embarrassment. Identifying the feeling is the first step to letting it go. Brain scans actually show that verbalizing negative emotions calms the brain’s emotion center and helps us release those feelings.
So, as I did, ask yourself, “Why am I feeling like this? What’s really bothering me?”
2. Stand your ground.
The feeling of anxiety can make you want to run away mentally and physically. I shot straight up in my bed and was prepared to get up and move, but then I made the important decision to sit with the feeling.
I repeated the question “Why am I feeling like this?” until I had a concrete answer. I was really, really scared. And when I recognized the cause of anxiety, I felt empowered to sit with the feeling—to stand my ground.
You can too.
3. Repeat your feelings.
Aloud, preferably. Hearing your own voice declaring the reality of your emotions is empowering like nothing else. Since anxiety feeds on silence and the unknown, declare your feelings aloud to dissolve it.
This step will give you the courage to be vulnerable, and to fully experience the emotion that needs to be felt.
4. Hold yourself.
Since being vulnerable takes so much courage, you need all the encouragement you can get. Holding yourself is the best way to show that you’re in it for the long haul—that you’ll be by your side no matter what. It will give you the strength to fully open up to your emotional experience.
Retreat to a quiet space and hold yourself. Rock yourself. Tap your chest gently and repeat your feelings aloud.
5. Let the emotion flow through your body.
After all these steps you’ll be ready to experience and release the emotions that weighed on your spirit.
Repressed emotions are actually toxic to your body. And when you leave them inside, they stagnate and promote sickness of your entire being. So let the emotions flow.
Emotion comes from the Latin root “Emovere,” which means to move through.
You may feel your stomach clench and your chest heave. This is your body finally processing unfelt feelings and moving them outside through your tears. Allow the physical process to take course. Assist it. And feel gratitude wash over you along with the tears.
In many cases, simply feeling your feelings is enough to let them go. Other times, your emotions may point you toward an unmet need. For example, if you recognize anger underneath your anxiety, you may need to set firmer boundaries. In this way, anxiety can be a gift, since it helps you recognize what you need to do to take good care of yourself.
The feeling of anxiety, once confronted with courage, helps you to reconnect with feelings that need to be felt. By standing your ground and experiencing your root emotions, anxiety will help you grow into the courageous and balanced person you were born to be.
Feel the pain. Feel the sorrow. Feel the grief. Whatever feeling it is, let yourself move through it and learn from it so you can let it go.
If you’ve struggled with symptoms of insecurity, like bad relationships and poor self esteem, it’s time to put an end to it. Follow these 7 steps and change your life today. You’re worth it.
Insecurity is like a ravenous wolf just waiting to be fed by your thoughts. The hungry beast will feast on negativity when you forget your worth; when you forget to love yourself. It salivates over thoughts like, “I’m not good enough”, or, “I don’t deserve better”.
But you are in total control of whether it eats or starves.
The more the animal is fed, the louder it howls and the tinier you feel. The wolf of insecurity can appear so big and bad that you’ll look for anyone to make it better, like I did. Most people who’ve battled insecurity have looked for other people to make it go away. But it’s a crutch; a crutch that keeps you from being the strong and independent person you are meant to be.
Here’s how it works:
You’ll hear, “You’re so beautiful. I want you. I need you. You are enough.” And you’ll swear it’s true because these thoughts starve the wolf. You feel better. You feel confident and beautiful.
The problem is that these thoughts didn’t come from you. So as soon as a boyfriend or girlfriend lets you down, or leaves, you’re back to the same old story of insecurity. The wolf actually never leaves until you are so strong in yourself that it runs away for fear of never being fed again.
Here’s how to starve the wolf and overcome insecurity for good:
1. Tell yourself how worthy and valuable you are
You’ll believe anything you hear often enough, so never stop saying it. If you’re disciplined in one thing, make it a positive self dialogue. Never give in, and always battle for the best you.
Start a routine of positive self talk first thing in the morning, before you go to bed, and whenever you get to feeling low. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend, and never settle for less than that. You deserve that positivity in your life.
2. Forgive yourself for the insecurity you fed in to
Accept yourself for the choices you made, love yourself, and commit to better decisions. Seriously. Write down your commitments for a better life and hold to them as if your life depends on it. It does.
3. Stop dating choads
If you feel like you need to be dating, that’s a sure sign that you aren’t ready. So forget about dating for a while. You are enough just by yourself. When you internalize that truth, your life and friendships will blossom. Eventually you’ll fall in love with a friend who you’ve grown with and learned to love unconditionally.
Have faith in that. Try to be content with never ending personal development.
4. Stop listening to bad music
If you’ve battled insecurity for a lifetime, you need all the help you can get to overcome it. Give yourself the help by disconnecting from negative influences. In allowing yourself to be influenced by disempowering music, movies, and media, you’ll be dragged back into the same cycle of insecure thoughts.
So if your favorite music is all about hooking up, feeling lonely, getting drunk and regretting life…you need to find a new favorite. Same goes for movies and TV.
The information you take in forms the person you are to become. If you don’t want that person to be insecure, then feed yourself uplifting and encouraging tunes.
It’s not rocket science. Starve that wolf, and build a better you by design.
5. Cut all ties with your exes
Any ex that you’ve made through insecurity will be a hot bed of insecurity. They’ll refresh your neural connections to pleasure, but the same goes for jealousy, unworthiness, and every other limiting belief that went into the relationship.
Exes just aren’t a good idea. So forgive them, empathize with why you wanted them, and let them go. For good. Growing up is hard, but you gotta do it for you.
6. Let go of friends who don’t want to grow with you
Your friends are the biggest external influences in your life. If you really want to be fulfilled and confident in yourself, choose friends who you can emulate.
If they just can’t get past the achey breaky heart business, letting them go will be the best thing for both of you. You won’t drag yourself down anymore, and you’ll give the friend a wakeup call that can change their life.
Choose friends who affirm your worth. Choose generous friends. Choose positive and encouraging friends. Choose go-getter friends who can’t be stopped from sharing their value. Choose friends who you can challenge and be challenged by to grow as a person.
If they are honest, adventurous, creative, humble, secure in themselves, and uplifting, they are for you. But in order to get those kind of friends, you have to be that friend, starting with yourself!
Starve that wolf.
7.Start a journal
We need to feel good about what we’re doing, otherwise, we won’t continue. If you aren’t reminded of your accomplishments and the amazing things you’re doing to overcome insecurity, you’ll quit. So start a journal.
Write down your thoughts, feelings, challenges, dreams, and the steps you are taking to achieve more each day. This makes personal development an irreplaceable part of the story of your life.
Journaling helps you to accept yourself right where you are, to celebrate the progress you’ve made, and to plan for better decisions tomorrow.
Do you really need more convincing? Start tonight. Review your day before you go to bed; write down the thoughts that influenced your actions; and change the thoughts to suit your personal growth. Don’t forget to celebrate each step you take to a better and more secure you.
The entire article, along with steps 8-10, will be published in the next two months. If you can’t wait that long, forward this article to the magazine you’d like to see it featured in.
I had the pleasure of interviewing your future wife a couple weeks ago in my ‘Letter From Your Future Wife’ article. You guys loved it, and the ladies loved it too. So I went back for round two and got more insights about what your wife is looking for. Since your wife is smart, she disguised her gems in a series of 10 questions just for you. They’ll challenge you. They’ll engage your mind, and help you to become the best man you can be. Especially #9.
1-Would you be proud to share your thoughts about other women with me?
Our lives are built on our thoughts. So if they are charitable, generous, and respectful, you’ll have the foundation for happy relationships and a good life. If you view women with less dignity and respect than they deserve…your wife will ultimately pay the price.
Just because you admire other women’s beauty doesn’t mean your thoughts are bad. Your wife wants you to see and be moved by the beauty of all women, but where you are moved to is up to you. Will you be the master of sexual desire or will it master you? Your thoughts will determine that.
2-What do you really want to build with me?
Your wife is a human being, which means she is here to create. She isn’t a safeguard from loneliness, and she isn’t a free pass for sex. She wants to build something meaningful with you and add to it for a lifetime. She wants to make a masterpiece out of your love, and have the world be a better place for it. So what are you actually planning to build with her? Will it be something you’re proud to share with your family and future generations? Will it be a work of art? Will it be a source of security and prosperity for those to come?
3-What makes you think you’re ready for me?
What makes you think you have what it takes to grow with someone and love them better for a lifetime? These things are required for a lasting marriage, but they take virtue and commitment. Have you demonstrated a commitment to personal and spiritual growth? Have you learned to love yourself better with each passing year? If not, focus less on looking for the right girl, and more on being the right man.
If you haven’t found your calling yet, look for that now. You are blessed with totally unique gifts and talents that can be used to build a brighter future for all of us. And when you find your calling, you live an inspired life of serving others. That also happens to be the basis of unconditional love, and the precise road you’ll meet your wife on.
4-Is the respect and honor of women your highest priority?
Do you strive to support the worthiness of all women in all parts of your life? Your wife will be your most precious angel; so will your sweet daughters. And when you look at other women, you are looking at someone else’s wife or daughter—you’re looking at a precious angel.
How you look at them and the way you treat them is how you consent for your own precious angels to be viewed and treated. Will that be with the utmost respect and dignity? Or will it be degrading in any way? Society doesn’t expect you to respect women with your thoughts, but your wife and children depend on it for their happiness. They depend on you.
5-Will I grow old with a fit and happy man, or will I have to watch you fall apart?
If you plan on doing the family thing right, you’re going to have lots of people depending on you for as long as you live. And if you’ve made fitness a lifestyle, you’ll be strong and capable till your dying days. You’ll also be able to please your wife sexually into the golden years, and play with your kids and grandkids till you drop.
That’s the good life, and your fitness is a key part of it. How could you better commit to being a whole and healthy husband and father?
6-Will you be the man to make the right decision even when everyone else says it’s wrong?
Your wife doesn’t need someone who follows the crowd, because the crowd is marching off a cliff. So do you have the courage to do what’s right no matter the consequence? Do you have the conviction to follow your heart and mind no matter the popular opinion? Are you this guy? (Insert picture of german soldier)
7-Are your friends helping or hurting our marriage?
Since friendship is what marriage is based on, friendship is what supports it. Because studies show 75% higher divorce rates in couple’s whose friends divorce, this fact is not hypothetical: your marriage depends on your friendships.
So what kind of friends are you bonded with? What kind of thoughts and behaviors are they sharing with you? Are they helping you to be a stronger and more courageous husband, or do they encourage you to settle? Do they challenge you to think for yourself and live to higher standards, or are they selfish and comfortable? If you have solid friendships with respectful and virtuous men, your wife will be supported all the more, and your life will be richer. So find and be a better friend.
8-Do you have any ties with your exes?
Your wife needs you. Not 90 or 99 percent, but all of you. One thing that will keep you from giving your full commitment to marriage is a lingering attachment to other women. Whether the bonds are sexual, emotional, or otherwise, attachments to exes will restrict your ability to give all of yourself freely to your wife. And without a full gift of your life, jealousy and invulnerability will work to destroy a relationship.
So do you have any connection to your former girlfriends? Can you think of them without wistfully reminiscing, or having your eyes glaze over? If the relationship failed, it wasn’t worth hanging on to. But physical attachments have a funny way of making relationships look way better than they actually were.
If you aren’t 100% over your exes and totally free from attachment, make a mindful practice to become free. Dissolve the physical and emotional bonds in any way possible. This requires reflection, forgiveness and being realistic. You can’t expect to keep in touch with a sexual ex and not rekindle old feelings at some time or other.
9-Do you know what love is? Seriously, do you know what love is?
Our most important life decisions are driven by love, but most people don’t have any concept of what it actually is. Do you know how precious it is? Do you know how worthy it is to make sacrifices for? Do you know how rich it will make your life? Do you know how to practice love unconditionally?
If you don’t know these things, you won’t be able to master your life or relationships; there will be a blind spot that wrecks your progress. So if you want to master love and share it with your spouse for a lifetime, learn more about it. Become a student of love. Read my free e-book to get started.
10-What have you sacrificed to make our marriage special?
It’s a universal fact that the good things in life don’t come easy. But when it comes to romance, we have selective memory. Could it be that life and work are so stressful that we look for an escape in romance? With how sex has become a commodity, and how casual dating is, it certainly seems so.
But love in marriage isn’t an escape; it’s the journey and challenge of a lifetime. And just like you have to sacrifice to grow in strength or education, the same is required for love. So what sacrifices have you made for lasting love with your precious angel?
A couple sacrifices I happily made were giving up porn and casual relationships. Now I’m able to look at women without thinking of what I can take, but what I have to share and how I can grow through the inspiration of their beauty. And I’m closer to my future wife, my friends, and my family.
Your wife needs a man who makes love his masterpiece. And you need a woman with the same approach. What would prevent you from being that man and marrying that woman? If you ask the right questions and have the courage to challenge yourself, the answer is nothing.
What question do you want to ask your future wife? Put it in the comments section below and, if it’s good enough, I’ll feature it in next week’s article!
I was honored to spend an hour with Kallen Diggs, host of ‘Reaching the Finish Line’ podcast, talking about relationships, freelancing, and building a writing career.
Check out the interview here!
Very excited to have my first article published on Elite Daily! It goes deep about what love is, what it isn’t, and how we get addicted to love’s counterfeit.
Here is my latest interview, hosted by lifestyle company Sivana Spirit. It’ll make you laugh!
Do you have an insecure partner? Try these 3 tips that will transform your relationship
“What did I do to make her react like this?”
You know the feeling. Insecurity is a black hole that consumes relationships from the inside out. It makes men feel less manly, and women less cherished. Often when we deal with a spouse’s insecurity, the root cause lies much deeper than the surface level problem.
You could be unconsciously giving your partner reasons to be insecure with many “normal” relationship behaviors, so read on to learn about three common blind spots that sabotage relationship security.
1. Rethink Porn
If you are in a relationship, commitment is what holds you together. You need commitment to feel loved, but women are biologically attuned to commitment; their children depend on it for survival, and women have to carry them. Nothing says commitment like burning through 10 of the most beautiful women on earth in 10 minutes. Watching porn sends the message that your partner isn’t enough, and she will silently compare herself to the plastic and airbrushed bodies in the films. Enter: Envy, Jealousy, and Insecurity.
If the infinite mystery in a woman’s heart isn’t enough to hold the attention of one man forever, then what will? Women want to be cherished and sought after before anyone and anything else, and they deserve to be. But when porn enters the picture, a woman can’t help but feel less beautiful in your eyes.
Real beauty is the reflection of an internal goodness that radiates outward. So, women who compete with porn not only feel externally insufficient, but unworthy on the inside. If you want to reveal the depth of your commitment, prove it to her by committing your entire being to her; your mind, your heart, your emotions, and your sexuality.
If porn isn’t helping you to become more emotionally connected and intimate with your partner, and if it isn’t boosting her security and self worth, consider ditching it. (If…ha.)
2. Dial back the physicality
Oftentimes women will give themselves up more than they feel comfortable with to feel safe and loved. But lovemaking that arises from insecurity will only breed more insecurity. If you have any suspicion that your girlfriend or wife initiates sex out of fear of losing you, there are many non-physical ways you can improve your relationship.
Offering a foot rub or back rub (with oil) is a great way to show her how much she is desired, and without any selfish motivation. Non-sexual touching like massages also invites emotional connection, and opens opportunities to talk about sensitive topics.
Invite her to connect emotionally through your non-sexual touches, and by being vulnerable with her. Though we don’t feel like it all the time, men can seem hard and inaccessible even when we don’t intend to. Sometimes sharing a concern or a feeling is just what a woman needs to feel safe in sharing her innermost world with you. Once she opens up about her deepest fears and anxieties with you, you will have the information needed to show commitment where she needs it most.
How sex can create insecurity
Prematurely physical relationships create insecurity because the act of sex is a symbol of complete commitment (whether we realize it or not). Sex was invented long before birth control, and since children have historically been associated with sex, we are hardwired for lasting sexual bonds. Giving your whole body to someone without also giving your whole mind, heart, and future creates an incongruence that slowly eats at a relationship until there’s no security left.
You can rebuild security in a relationship by redoubling your commitment to her mind and heart, and by reserving sex for the deepest commitment to life and love; until sex is a celebration of your growth and commitment together.
Women know that their physical beauty has a shelf life, so their security lies in a partner’s ability to see past the flesh and into their innermost beauty.
3. Consider her wounds
Since half of marriages end in divorce, there are many young girls grown into women who have emptiness where a father’s love should have been. This is a deep pain that many women would sooner keep buried than to be vulnerable with, but any mistrust of a father figure will translate to mistrust in her partner. And until those wounds are acknowledged and healed, insecurity will continue to surface in a relationship.
A woman needs to feel completely loved and cherished in order to give herself entirely to a man, and an internalized sense of abandonment can prevent her from ever being fully free. If you are in a relationship with such a woman, don’t lose hope. Though it isn’t your responsibility to “fix” her, you can help her by fostering intimacy through vulnerability. When a woman begins to feel the sting of an old wound resurface, she has a tendency of covering it up by closing off entirely, or by unleashing emotionally.
If you are confronted with a weird-seeming emotional response to your actions, try your best not to feel offended. If you feel attacked, withhold your counterattack. Instead, empathize with her need to be secure, and with the roots of her insecurity.
Reflect her emotions back
Oftentimes women need to hear their emotions reflected back to them in order to understand them fully, and to feel understood. Look into the feelings and needs behind her words, and share them with her. “It seems like you’re feeling alone and scared. But I’m here. You can talk to me. You can tell me anything, babe. Why are you hurting like this?” Notice that this dialogue is centered on her emotions and needs. She is the one in need.
The last thing an insecure woman needs to hear is a defensive counterattack, like: “What do you want me to do about it? I never do anything wrong, and you always treat me like a criminal!” Women who express their insecurity are in need of acknowledgement and security in that moment.
Women who haven’t been shown the selfless and cherishing love of a solid father tend to look for validation in the arms of any man who will validate her beauty, whether he is selfless and caring or not. Since fathers care for their daughters in non-sexual ways, it is almost impossible to fill a father wound with a sexual relationship. Especially since so many men are interested in casual relationships, a heavy expectation from a wounded woman can spell trouble even if the man hasn’t given her specific reasons not to trust him.
If you sense problems that you have no hope of solving for your girlfriend, it’s time to seriously reconsider your reason for dating. Trying to fill a gaping father hole will only frustrate you and breed more insecurity in your partner. But if you have a selfless kind of love, and a deep commitment to her greatest good, you can help her heal by creating an environment where she can be vulnerable and expressive of her deepest emotions.
Originally published at DowlingWriter.com