Anxiety is a condition that plagues lots of people’s lives to various degrees. Besides the fact that it’s a horrible, life-sapping sensation, anxiety can ruin lives. Some people can become trapped in their homes with it. Others get trapped in jobs or relationships they are afraid to leave. And then there’s all the people who never get to go for their goals or taste new experiences because of fear. So let’s look at the forces that create anxiety.
I asked a question some months ago, which was basically whether you would rather have something or achieve it. The deeper connotation is whether we are defined and determined by our circumstances or whether we can overcome them and determine our own experience.
Living in a physical world with barriers and obstacles all around us, it can often seem that we are the smallest and most inconsequential element. We can often seem to be a pawn of our Government, our Employer and so on. Even our families seem to be able to determine what we can and can’t do. And so it seems that we have little choice or control over our circumstances.
Happiness And Anxiety Are Subjective
Yet people can live in situations that seem intolerable to most of us and yet still lead happy and fulfilling lives. Whilst others can have perfect environments and advantages and still feel aggrieved and that their life is pointless. The fact is, our experience of life is subjective. It doesn’t depend on circumstances, but on our perception of circumstances and of future circumstances. The conditions of our life matter far less than how we feel about our conditions.
It was interesting to read the responses to my question because they demonstrate where we believe hope comes from and where we place our faith. Typically we often believe that money and power can change our circumstances. And so people wish for the lottery win. They press for the Government to change laws and right the wrongs they see about them. They pray for a more reasonable and fair Boss. They appeal to God to make the one they love, also love them.
It’s natural and logical to look at the things we don’t like happening and to want them to change. However it’s also futile most of the time. It is only the God of childish stories that intervenes in human affairs. Your Boss, potential Lover and the Government have their own agendas. If what they do works well for what they want, why should they change to satisfy your wants and needs?
Which leaves us with luck. Hoping that this weeks lottery matches with your numbers. That events happen as you wish them to. Sometimes it does work out from chance. In the case of the lottery it works out for 1 in every 14 million people. Of course in other events, the odds are lower, but if your hope is based on luck, then you have no control over your life, you’re playing Russian roulette with your happiness.
You Have To Believe In You
If you want certainty and security in your life as most of us do, then you need to base your faith and hopes on you. For you are the only person or thing that you can have absolute control over. I want to take this a step deeper to explain how to achieve a sense of security in your life that banishes anxiety.
Whatever conditions we face, there are two possible outcomes. The situation will improve or it will get worse. So there’s a scale of how we perceive our circumstances that range from absolute ideal to absolutely horrific. And this scale depends on our awareness and perception of what is possible. The starving African living in abject poverty may think having regular food and health is as good as it can get. Whereas the spoilt Princess may believe that not having a Butler and Gold Card is as bad as it gets. The idiosyncrasy of this scale is the dynamic by which someone can be happy in circumstances that another finds intolerable.
The salvation or ruination model.
Every assessment of our current and future situation is underpinned by faith in it’s improvement or fear of it’s worsening. All of us, in our own way, are striving for salvation. Salvation is the strategy, or the model, that we believe gives us the best hope of climbing up the scale. We place our faith in the way we believe we are most likely to reach nirvana. Yet if we place our faith in others, we have no certainty or control over the events in our life. This is a sure recipe for anxiety and insecurity.
For Peace Of Mind: Trust In A Salvation Model That Works
To feel emotionally secure and balanced you need a salvation model that you trust in and is worthy of your faith. Let’s explore what a salvation model really is. One way to understand it, is by looking at a similar concept, a business model.
A business exists to make a profit. It incurs costs and expenses in time, money and effort because the Investors hope and place their faith in their business model. The business model is the sequence of factors that will eventually lead to the business making a profit and thereby the Owners and Investors getting richer.
So Car Manufacturers spend money on employees, factory plants, raw materials, technology and so on to make a profit when they sell lots of cars. Newspaper Publishers invest money in Journalists, printing presses and so on to make money in selling adverts and newspapers. Consultancies invest money in research and experts to sell their advice for a profit.
Of course a lot of businesses place their faith in a model that for one reason or another just doesn’t work. About a third of new businesses fail in their first three years. And many more fail in the next few years. They fail because the profits that they bring in do not outweigh the time, effort and money, it cost to create them. In other words, it turned out that the model the Investors and Owners placed their faith in didn’t work as they had hoped it would.
In much the same way as the way that business models don’t always profit their Investors, salvation models do not always profit those who invest in them. The Spouse you believed would make you happier, the Employer who’s ladder you hoped to climb and the cause you devoted yourself to, may not work out as you hope they will.
I believe that you should openly question your salvation model for how valid it really is and how safely you can depend upon it. Many business models can survive on hype and smokescreens for many years, such as in the dot.com boom, sooner or later they will be found out on the only measure that counts. Do they make a profit? If they make a loss, eventually the funds will run out.
In just the same way, if you follow a broken salvation model sooner or later, it will create such a painful situation for you that you will have to wake up and place your faith somewhere else. And if your salvation is not fully under your control then you will feel anxious. Because somewhere deep down, you know that at any time the rug could be pulled from beneath you. And that nagging at the back of your mind is what we call anxiety.
When you know that you are in control, are aware of where your faith is and know that your chosen path will work for you, then you can live in emotional security.