I’ve been asked for more videos about the mental and emotional side of being a creative person recently, so this week I’ve been thinking about how we use language to shape our experience.
This can be as simple as how you talk about ten minutes of unpicking – is that a disaster that spirals into a terrible day, or is that re-done seam a temporary inconvenience that makes the dress better anyway?
But I’m going to take it a little further. When Jessie commented on one of my videos recently she used the phrase “…with my anxiety…”, and I suggested that one very small change to that phrase could change her relationship with her mental and emotional health.
I tackle this subject with some trepidation – I’m not a mental health professional, and I’m perhaps veering out of my lane here – but I know this one little shift has been helpful for me, and so I share it in the hope that it can help make your days easier too.
Is it “my anxiety” or “the anxiety”?
I hope this inspires you this week!
Hello again, I am back with slightly dodgy lighting but we’ll see what we can do. You’ve asked me for more of these videos, so here I am.
So I was answering some of the comments on other videos and Jessie made a comment, in passing, she talked about, “…with my anxiety…” and I said to her, there’s another way you could put that, in terms of the language that you use because – just try this on for size. The way that we look at the world forms what’s true for us. So there’s very little in the world that’s objective, everybody has their own subjective way of looking at the world. So a lot of how we experience the world, how we experience ourselves, is based on how we subjectively view it. That’s how you get two different people in the same situation, taking away a completely different meaning from it. One person thinks it’s the end of the world, another person thinks it’s, the end is just the beginning of something else. So the way that you think about things, the way that you talk about things particularly, the way that you talk about your experience, dictates sometimes how much power it has over you.
So when you talk about “my anxiety,” what if you switched that, very subtly, and started talking about “the anxiety”, because by switching “my” anxiety to “the” anxiety, you are completely changing your relationship to that situation. So for example, “my anxiety” feels like part of me, it’s here to stay, there’s nothing I can do about it, whereas “the anxiety” is more of an unwelcome shotgun passenger in your life and it’s along for the ride but this was not your choice. It’s tagged along. And so, that isn’t to say that I’m telling you you’re wrong if you really feel that you’ve got mental or emotional issues that are here to stay, and it’s a case of managing that. I’m not negating that or saying that that’s wrong, your situation is your situation. What I’m saying is, by saying “the” anxiety, you’re putting a fence around it and putting it over here, rather than it being in you, and that then means that you’re not flawed or wrong anymore. It’s THE anxiety, over here.
It’s like the same thing as, if you catch the flu, you don’t start talking about “my” flu, and you know, I’ve had it for weeks now, my flu. You don’t talk about it that way, it’s “the” flu, it’s separate. So it means that, if you do that, it means that you’re no longer flawed or wrong, it’s over here, it’s separate from you and it means also that you can fight it and you can dislike it and you can hate it, even. But you can hate the anxiety without hating yourself because the anxiety, or whatever struggle that you’re going through, is separate from you, it’s not part of you and you become, it becomes easier for you to be somebody you can love and look after because this thing that you dislike that you’re dealing with, is over here, it’s not something that’s wrong with you.
So, tell me what you think. I mean, I’m not, full disclaimer, obviously I’m not any kind of doctor or psychologist, this is just a simple change in the way that we talk about how we experience ourselves so it may help a little bit in how you deal with these things. So I hope that’s helpful. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think and get inspired and be assured that, I think I’m trying to say there’s nothing wrong with you. We think of these things as something wrong with us and it’s really not. It’s, I know a guy called Mastin Kipp, who you can find on Instagram and he did this amazing shift in mindset, where he takes things like mental and emotional health issues, things that are usually referred to as “disorders” and changes the language to “response”, as in, this is a response to some sort of trauma in your life, and that’s a whole nother subject. But he just made me think about, little shifts we can make in the language we use and the way we think about the things we’re struggling with, that can make it a little bit easy to live with ourselves.
So yeah, tell me what you think. That’s a big subject and I’m not truly qualified, I’m just talking about my experience. So I hope that helps you and go do some sewing this week, get creative and do something to love yourself. See you soon.