Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Everyone knows the saying misery loves company, but to me, it’s a bit dated. Instead, I feel the more applicable phrase for modern times is “anxiety loves company.”
Why the change? We live in a time where information is so readily available that our culture is hyperconnected. All of us have an enormous platform and the ability to influence countless individuals through the use of social media. The media itself may very well be the largest contributor to this phenomenon. They virtually airlift gallons of gasoline to pour directly on to existing issues, stoking the flames until they are out of control. Perhaps this explains why anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States affecting close to 20% of our entire population.
I am not here to tell you that anxiety is a choice or what you experience is not real. That is ludicrous. What I am saying is that you will not find any solace by spreading your internal strife seeking the company of others.
You will also not find any consolation by attempting to fight your internal angst. Instead, I challenge you to acknowledge the feeling and most importantly understand that it does not define you. For example:
“I am sad” becomes, “I FEEL sad.”
“I am angry” becomes, “I FEEL angry.”
“I am anxious” becomes, “I FEEL anxious.”
If someone asked you to describe yourself would you start by defining yourself as sad? Of course not! You may be experiencing sadness, but that feeling will pass. Your sadness does not define you and is certainly not part of who you are. When we start to identify ourselves with these types of feelings we give them power that allows them to start leeching away at our well-being.
All suffering is caused by a person identifying themselves with something no matter if it is internal or external. Somehow, we have learned to tie our existence and happiness to whatever that something is. Only when we teach ourselves to disassociate ourselves from these fleeting feelings will we experience true peace.