What exactly is anxiety?
Most all definitions indicate that to be anxious is to be greatly troubled by uncertainties.
In considering the origin of the word anxious, it’s from the Latin anxius, meaning “concerned, uneasy, troubled in mind.” It’s also defined as “causing anxiety” from the word angere or anguere, which is “to choke, squeeze, torment, or cause distress.”
Today more than ever, people are suffering from extreme levels of anxiety.
We see the symptoms of this heightened anxiety showing up in many different ways for different people, including mental fog, panic attacks, depletion, overwhelm, impatience, exhaustion, severe adrenal fatigue, negative/addictive behaviors and patterns, depression, digestive issues, inflammatory diseases and more.
What I find most interesting about these definitions and the origin of the word anxious is that the word anxious is also connected to the root angr, an early version of our modern word “anger,” which is from the Old Norse meaning “distress, grief, sorrow, affliction.”
Even more interesting is that the word anger originally was associated with distress and suffering, but has since come to be considered a “hostile attitude” or “ill will.”
We don’t need to look far to see how full of uncertainty the world is today. Heck, most of us don’t even know what we’re going to make for dinner let alone have any sense at all of how things will turn out in our relationships, for our children, with our businesses/careers, etc.
I’d like to propose a perhaps radical thought about anxiety.
What if our state of anxiety, at its deepest level, is connected to an inner state of anger with the world as it is today?
I’m speaking here about anger beyond what’s going on in our homes or personal lives. I’m speaking of BIG anger. The kind of anger that brings the question, “What the heck are we doing to ourselves?!?!”
And, I’m speaking of the anger that’s the original definition, the one that’s about distress and anguish, rather than about being hostile or harboring ill will. This is the anger that has us feeling that we’re choking, suffocating in a world of uncomfortable uncertainty.
Perhaps I’m being naive here, but on the whole, I sincerely don’t feel that the hostile behavior that we associate with an angry person is about hostility. It’s about the anguish they feel inside that they can no longer contain and have an incapacity to deal with.
I believe most people at their core are good, that we all ultimately want love and peace, and that some people simply struggle to work with all of the intense energy within them in ways that are productive, effective and beneficial.
What if rather than considering what’s making you anxious, you were to consider what’s making you angry?
What’s causing the distress, grief, sorrow, or affliction?
This question is not a surface question. It requires a deep dive to your inner being.
Anger is associated with injustice on some level. When we’re angry, something within us feels that an injustice has occurred.
When these injustices happen, we can simply go to the “hostile” version of anger, often increasing our level of anxiety and suffering, or we can allow the anger to actually heal us.
Anger can be healing? Yes!
Most of the time, we ignore the messages the anger is trying to communicate with us.
If there’s an injustice at the root of our anger, which is at the root of our anxiety and all of the symptoms that come with it, wouldn’t it make sense that in paying attention to that injustice, we would then begin to tend the root of what’s going on?
Think of it this way. If you witnessed an injustice happening for your child, or any child for that matter, would you turn your back? If you’re reading this, I’m going to bet the answer is “Absolutely not!”
We tend to stand up more for children because we see them as more defenseless, more vulnerable, and as the potential and future of humanity and the planet.
The thing is, we’re ALL children. We’re children of a common Divine, Sacred Mother and Father, evolving and learning together on this planet.
Each of us is vulnerable, and we all collectively hold the potential for Humanity and the Earth.
What if all of the anxiety we tend to feel ultimately comes from the injustices we’re witnessing in the world today?
What if our anxiety over how our children will make their way in the world comes from the injustice that so many children are being left behind with our current forms of education and health care?
What if the anxiety we have over how we’re going to pay the bills is actually rooted in the anger connected to the injustice we feel around doing work that is “just to pay the bills” and isn’t fulfilling or meaningful, or that feels like we have to work tons of hours just to live according to modern “quality of life” standards?
I challenge you to take a look at what’s brewing beneath the anxiety, the impatience, the frustration and overwhelm. What are you angry about? What feels unjust?
As we understand that while we all certainly have anxiety connected with anger and injustices in our immediate home and relationship circumstances, anxiety is a state of existence for much of the industrialized world today.
You’re not alone in these feelings. These feelings of anxiety, depression, impatience, etc. are speaking to all of us, and asking us to pay attention to their messages.
We’re not going to save or heal the world today by recognizing these bigger injustices that may be at the root of the injustices in our personal lives. But in recognizing these bigger injustices, we might begin have deeper compassion for ourselves and others, and to realize that our soul is calling us to do things differently.
It’s not easy to navigate the uncertainty of today. We need to give ourselves a break, and go slow, understanding that healing will take time.
So how can we go slow and bring healing? Next week, I’m going to share some of the ways I’ve found to be most effective in navigating uncertainty and mitigating anxiety, as well as channeling anger into something effective.
In the meantime, I hope that contemplating the question of what’s beneath the anxiety will support you by knowing that we’re in this together, and that we share the anxiety on many levels. As we tune into this, and begin to listen, we have the opportunity to effect the change in our lives and in the world that we long to see!
Share in the comments with me…what makes you anxious?
Awaken Your Inner Power,