Why there's freedom in the deepest levels of our anxieties


by Elliot Lyons

In my last blog, I said if we want to grow, we need to accept the tension, anxiety, and fear that will always be present in our lives. This refocuses our attention from avoidance to using these things to our advantage.

But this was only part of the growth equation: we also have to re-imagine our relationships to what triggers the biggest of these fears, tensions, and anxieties because they often keep us from growing.

I was reminded of this part of the growth equation while I was watching a video from Johnny B.A.N.G Reilly. John grew up hard in London, came to the Netherlands as a rapper, is presently a voice over artist, and has always been peerless in his expression of the kernels of life.  

While sitting and talking with Muay Thai champion Kevin Ross, Reilly says he calls on the “survivor” when he needs to go to work. Reilly had a horrible childhood full of trauma, and people told him he didn’t deserve it, but, he says, “I started to carry on that story about myself, and it debilitated me. That pathetic perspective was draining me in [the] now. Now, I look at the past and look at what he [Reilly as a child] survived [emphasis mine].”

At some point in his process, focusing on how bad he had it was no longer productive. He had to change his relation to his past to serve the person he wanted to be in the present, because his current self-image was inadequate for where he needed to go.

Now, he focuses his energy on the part of him that lived, meaning, “That little guy that kept getting up. That little guy that still had hope. . . That little guy who was still able to stay in touch with emotions like love.”

He decided to hone in on what would sustain the person who he wanted to become.  

All of this is not to minimize pain and trauma, or to ignore the parts we’d rather forget: it’s acknowledging them in all their pain and then saying, “but I have another story I must tell.”

Excavating the why behind our biggest fears, anxieties, and tensions gives us the fuel to keep pushing through memory’s pain, which can impeded where we want to go. And this doesn’t necessarily make the pain or anxiety go away, but it’s a part of the process of growth.

And we must grow.

 

You can find Johnny B.A.N.G Reilly's website, which has lots of creative, motivational content, here.


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