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Anxiety's masking

Posted by Simon Parke, 19 July 2018, 5.40pm

It’s good to notice our anxiety.

Not to fight it…just notice it.

One aspect of anxiety is its mask-making.

It can place frightening masks on people or situations, which create terror in us as we look at them.

In themselves, they are just events, or just people.

But once we give them a mask, they become something solid, staring at us and frightening.

We might imagine someone won’t like us, for instance, if we act in a certain way. We place a mask on this person, with the capacity to make us fearful.

Or that something bad is going to happen to a loved one.

Or we imagine a situation working out badly…we place a mask on a situation, that looks at us with unkind eyes.

With anxiety, if its not one thing, its another.

Our anxiety places masks on people or situations and these masks make nonsense appear solid; they look back at us and frighten us.

It’s helpful if we can both name and remove the masks our anxiety has handed round… but not easy.

Behind our anxious self, sticking masks on this and that, is someone struggling a little…struggling to be…to be enough, to be what we essentially are.

Anxiety can be the panic that we are not enough in ourselves, not substantial enough… and fear does the rest, placing frightening masks on the world out there.

And it’s difficult to proceed.

‘What if this happens?! Or that happens?!’

‘I can’t do that – I mean, what would they think?’

These things feel so solid.

So here’s to some deep breaths… and some loosening of the lying masks from those people or situations.

The universe is kinder than you imagine.

And here’s to fortitude.

Fortitude, says Paul Tillich, is the strength of the soul to be what it essentially is.

You are true…the masks are not.

And here’s to you being kind to yourself as your mask-making anxiety passes through.

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