My anxiety raged so loud one day I couldn’t even finish a kickboxing class.
Left Hook. Right Hook. Uppercut. Jab Cross. I repeated that sequence 5 times before I felt a bunch of hot tears roll down my cheeks. Between the sweat and tears, I was struggling to even see the punching bag, let alone hear what the instructor was telling me to do. I thought to myself that my moment of anxiety would pass, and I would be able to continue in the class because I was only 20 minutes in.
But it didn’t.
It was like the harder I hit the bag the louder the anxiety raged between my ears. I timidly tiptoed to retrieve my belongings all while trying to hold in the full-fledged anxiety attack that I felt waiting to erupt inside of me. As I burst through the doors I angrily stomped to my car, huffed and puffed as I sunk into the driver’s seat, and immediately felt all of the pressure inside me push outwards with the greatest force. My chest was hurting, my tears were blinding my vision, and I for the life of me could not get the runaway train of my anxiety to calm down. If there was ever a time that I thought I could hide my anxiety, it consistently reminded me that it was going nowhere, and was here to stay.
Now, I am sure some of those tears were flowing because I had wasted my money on a class I couldn’t even finish. But 99% of those tears were because I was so mad at myself for what seemed to be me continuously failing at my goal. I was so frustrated that I was trying to take all the right steps to alleviate my anxiety, yet even in the midst of what was supposed to be a therapeutic activity, my anxiety decided to host the party of the century in my brain. As my runaway train gained more speed in my mind, my feelings of anger turned into pure defeat. I felt like finding a white towel and throwing it into the imaginary referee. Because let me tell you, me and my anxiety were in a daily battle. I am not sure who requested that I be the person to try and take down this Muhammad Ali type of anxiety, but at that moment I was ready to go sit outside the ring and let someone else give it a shot. Shoot, I would have paid someone at that point if they could have told me exactly how I could win.
Because no matter what, it seemed like my anxiety was always showing.
I felt exposed.
But what if that was the point? What if the point of my anxiety was not something that I was supposed to suppress, but rather something that I was supposed to let flow through my body so I could understand what it was trying to teach me?
It was in that moment that I realized in the midst of me trying to hide my anxiety, I was missing out on learning one of the most important lessons – that there is beauty in being uncomfortable. There is power in learning how to sit with yourself when you feel anything but peace. I was pushing my anxiety away because it didn’t give me anything solid to hold onto. It’s scary, vague, and unpredictable. Interestingly enough, it’s kind of like life.
Life is unpredictable. Life is vague. Life is not about hiding our vulnerabilities – but leaning into them. The most powerful people in our lives are not the people who scream perfectionism, but the ones who embody authenticity. The people who are never afraid to show up as themselves no matter the space they are in. Those are the people we admire because, in a world where it is frightening to be yourself, they remind us all that the thought of never truly being able to be yourself should scare us 10x more.
It was time that I broke free from the vulnerability shame game.
So much of what we try to hide is what will set us free. Our vulnerabilities are the things that allow light to seep into us, and flow out. I may have not been able to finish the kickboxing class that day, but what I have learned about my anxiety since that point taught me more than I could have ever hoped for.
What my anxiety showing has taught me:
I’ve learned that if you sit with your vulnerabilities, what you learn from them you can use to your advantage.
If you never dare to open up about your vulnerabilities, you’ll never reach the next chapter of your life. You can’t advance to the next level without mastering the one before it.
Vulnerabilities are like the waves in the ocean. Some days you are going to master them, other days they seem as powerful as a storm. On the days that they win, doesn’t mean that you’ve lost the entire race.
Let your weaknesses show – you might be surprised at what they teach you.
Water Your Garden today,