Denial of Important Experiences
He continues explaining that “unhealthy anxiety is often due to repression. Denial of important experiences because of unrealistic standards evokes anxiety. Some standards ('loyal soldiers') force us to reject feelings that demand expression and, in our attempt to cope with this untenable conflict, we feel anxious. For example, if we cannot admit the feeling of angry, we will use considerable time and energy to prevent any angry expression. When anger is provoked, we come anxious and may even panic, or we manifest symptoms such as rigidity and avoidance that serve to control our anxiety as well as forbidden angry feelings. Our anxiety, overt or covert, is a message that we are being closed to our a ngry self rather than being open to and learning from your angry feelings ” (Kraft, 2000, p. 47).
Fear of the Future
I have already written that anxiety is the fear of the future. It is the ‘not knowing’ how to deal with the new not yet seen and understood. In another moment, it was correlated with the loneliness that is the fear of the abandonment that creates all behaviours and body sensations generating the symptoms of anxiety. “Frequently, anxiety also indicates that our identity is changing or threatens to change”. And that is the moment of truth, especially during the midlife crisis. The fear of what comes next. The fear of the youth that is gone. The fear of ‘what ifs’. These fears cause anxiety. Kraft divides anxiety in healthy and unhealthy. “The healthiness or unhealthiness of anxiety depends primarily on whether anxiety mobilizes effective behaviour, or whether anxiety impedes us or is the result of negative coping” (Kraft, 2000, p. 47).
Felipe Oliveira provides counselling for men seeking an Authentic Life.
To read about The Benefit of an Addiction, click here.
Kraft, W.F., 2000. Ways of the Desert: Becoming holy through difficult times. New York: Haworth.
Felipe Oliveira provides counselling for men facing anxiety issues. Click here to know more about his work . Or, please, continue reading this short article about where anxiety can take one.
Anxiety and depression are the number one psychological symptoms nowadays among middle-aged men. When a midlife crisis hits, symptoms of panic anxiety, stomachs problems, ulcer, heart issues, anger and many others come to the surface as a new identity or the awakening of the True Self is meant to happen. The fear of the unknowing, and of the ‘not knowing’ what to do, causes the anxiety, and in many cases depression (fear of the past). In this case, anxiety can be understood as one of the catalyst element for transformation.
“Anxiety can also be an integral part of a growth experience”… “Anxiety is a way of telling ourselves and others that a significant change and a challenge are occurring. Whether positive or negative healthy or non-healthy, anxiety should be listened to because it is a way of understanding oneself. Healthy anxiety beckons us to listen to how and why we are fighting ourselves” (Kraft, 2000, p. 48). That’s the point where anxiety becomes a great ally of the authentic male journey in life. Anxiety becomes a thermometer of the spiritual journey, plus, one of the most powerful ‘friend’ that can guide a man through a ground to stand and walk through.
“Anxiety means that we are on the way to a deeper mode of living. Our anxiety moves us to ask questions that call for lasting answers. We search for a meaningful place that cannot be taken away” (Kraft, 2000, p. 48). In this place, we ask reflective questions like: “What makes me be? Why am I? Where am I going? What ought I do? Can I make it? Can life really make sense? Why should I live? Feeling lost and swallowed in the vortex of nothingness, we feel called to seek our place and to live at our pace” (Kraft, 2000, p.48). That is the path that leads to the Authentic Self, and nothing better than do it with a good few sacred friends and in Nature - the place where Real Transformation occurs.