Sunday, June 11, 2017

What's in Your Narrative?

In comics, there is a narrator who communicates the pertinent nonverbal information to the reader. In life, we each have a narrator in our heads.
How we are feeling, what we are perceiving: it changes the narrator's focus. The narrator sticks with what we linger on.
I've been fighting anxiety this spring. Fighting anxiety is like trying to beat up a swimming pool full of water. The water splashes, moves out in waves, gets unbalanced but remains mostly in the pool. In the end, you stand there feeling frustrated and exhausted and still anxious- and those closest to you have retreated out of the splash zone. Looking out and realizing you're making no progress, you try harder. The hard work isn't working. The water remains.
The narrator tries to shift perspective but you don't leave the pool. You've got a fight to win for peace of mind. The narrator becomes negative as that part of you knows you are going about this backward but you know if you just push through...
You're soaked.
Some folks rewrite the narrative here. They can't bear the weight of failing and they decide anxiety will always be a part of them. They come up with justifications and long ways of living that take them around every pool in their path.
I stopped fighting the other day, sitting and watching butterflies with a friend. My narrator had a chance to be heard. My narrator said "Flying not falling."
Swim instead of panic. Float. I went out, found myself a little black kitten, knowing I feel better with a little fuzzy companion.
My narrator backed off. Kitten distracted and mind finally not spinning through the worry hallway of my mind. Anxiety grows when it's fed. Confidence grows when you feed it. You can feed one but not both. Float.
Silly as it seemed, instead of fighting the fear and anxiety, I let go and just focused on the positives around me and the things I can change and address. Feeding confidence instead of uncertainty.
The anxiety lessened. Then it lessened more.
My narrator could have been destructive, admonishing me further into a worse state of mind. My narrator could have swept the anxiety under the rug to try to make me look superhuman.
My narrator prefers to stick the neutrality as much as possible. That person you are frustrated with today may turn into an amazing person over the next five years.
Each of us has our own story, it's as healthy as we make it.
I'm enjoying the relaxed muscles and returning appetite, the refreshed confidence that comes with anxiety release.

How does your narrator talk to you?