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I've been thinking this summer a lot about anxiety and how *easy* it is, in the face of anxiety, to avoid the apparent source of it. When life is difficult, as it often is, the discomfort of our uncertainty and self-doubt, can lead us to step away from important issues or challenges in our lives. The problem with this of course, is that when we chronically avoid, the issues that created the anxiety in the first place, become bigger and more daunting. Soon we are swimming in feelings of powerlessness and self-doubt, and the original cause of the anxiety is harder to track down or deal with.

As Dr. David Schnarch says, we have only two options in life--either productive anxiety or unproductive anxiety. When we respond to anxiety with avoidance, we will still be uncomfortable but the discomfort won't gain us anything and our anxiety will increase. When we move towards our fears and into uncertainty, we will be more anxious at first, more exposed perhaps, but we will get stronger, address the source, and manage less anxiety overall.

For some of us, this is especially hard. Insecurity and fear can be loud for those who are more sensitive or thoughtful, and for some it can take a lot of courage to move towards the thing that intimidates us. But as my brother often says, "the obstacle is the path". We may resent the obstacle, but it is the obstacle that makes us stronger. Opposition gives us the opportunity to get stronger, more efficacious and more confident. I remind myself of this a lot. Move towards the obstacle and you will find your strength.


-JFF

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