The Bigger Picture

The things that challenge us deeply, also offer us great opportunity. When it comes to anxiety, ask yourself what gift this experience brings to you. There is a hidden gift there and here is how you might discover it…

Anxiety is a crash course in self development. You might not remember volunteering for it but nevertheless you are here. This is intense learning for the brave.

You may not think of it as learning but you are already developing by the very fact that you are seeking answers. Everyday anxiety is teaching you how to be a bigger person.

Anxiety is an acceleration to a more expansive you. It feels scary but with a focus on where you want to go it can be your most valuable asset.

Viktor Frankl wrote a book called ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’.

According to a survey conducted by the Libary of Congress, Man’s Search For Meaning belongs to a list of “the ten most influential books in the United States”.

I read it for the first time last year after a tip off from someone who read Panic Away. It is the true story of how Viktor Frankl survived the concentration camps of World War Two and found meaning in that most dehumanized situation. He teaches the importance of finding meaning in our struggle and that all challenges great or small hold a special meaning for us.

Even though Viktor Frankl’s experience was so extreme, his teachings can also be applied to the challenge of anxiety.

If you look for the deeper meaning in your challenge with anxiety, you will discover the gift it holds for you.

The simplest way to do this is to write down the things that you feel you are learning from this challenge and then write down the reason you want to succeed and overcome it.

For example :


What’s the meaning?
Anxiety is teaching me to grown as a person

Reason to overcome:
I want to live a more expansive, adventurous life.

Whats the meaning?
Anxiety is helping me to trust and accept my body more

Reason to overcome:
I want to be more self reliant and confident anywhere I go.

Whats the meaning?
Anxiety is teaching me compassion for myself and others

Reason to overcome:
I want to help others overcome their anxiety.

Only you can find the meaning to your personal challenge. Once you find that meaning then determine one or more reasons for overcoming that challenge.

Anytime you feel yourself slip with a setback, remind yourself of the bigger picture and focus on that. Remember the special journey you are on. Remember the gift anxiety holds for you.

Focus on this, even on the most difficult of days, and you will keep moving forward.

Barry Joe McDonagh

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