You are not your anxiety. You may be feeling exceptionally anxious, panicked, lost, unsure or scared, but those are emotions, and emotions are (thankfully) fleeting. Emotions, such as anxiety, don’t define us; they’re a temporary state. However, it’s easy to get confused and assume we are our anxiety (or our rage or our sadness) when we’re experiencing it, especially when the anxiety intensifies and feels like it's happening ALL the time. But what about when you were playing with your dog, were you an anxious person then? Or when you were laughing at that YouTube video? Or comforting your grief-stricken friend? Or sitting outside enjoying the most brilliant sunset ever? Or when you were sleeping?
Anxiety is not who you are; it’s an emotion you experience. For some it’s rare and for others it may be quite frequent right now. We are definitely aware when anxiety is more prevalent than we’d like it to be, but don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s just because you’re an anxious person. There is so much more to you than the anxiety. Perhaps you are an amazing friend, a world traveler, a vivacious reader or seeker of knowledge, a rescuer of dogs, an avid student, a life-changing teacher, a devoted child or spouse or parent, an athlete, a good neighbor, a barrel of laughs, or an unusually kind person.
Some of the most extraordinary people I’ve met in my life are the clients I’ve worked with who are struggling with anxiety. Anxiety is just a small portion of who my clients are, of who you are. Anxiety is good at hiding what makes you so wonderfully you but you're still there, anxiety is just a dark loud storm that can make it difficult to see – it is the nature of anxiety. But you’re still there; the storm will pass and you will be able to see this truth.