Do You Wake Up Happy or Anxious?
"I can have a really great day, but when I wake up the next morning I feel anxious. Sometimes the better day I've had, the more anxious I am the next morning. I can't figure it out."
I hear this over and over from my clients. What is happening here?
The Tyranny of the Ego Wounded Self
All of us have a wounded part of us that we created when we were young to try to get love, avoid pain, and feel safe. This part of us is housed in a peanut sized part of our left-brain called the amygdala. Within the amygdala is all of our programmed false beliefs - the conclusions we drew from our experiences as we were growing up, or the ideas we were taught by parents, siblings, teachers, media, religion, peers, and so on. This is our ego - our wounded self.
When we are young and not receiving the love we need, we decide that it must be our fault that we are not being loved. We decide that we are not good enough - that were are somehow flawed, inadequate, bad - that there is something wrong with us. This is one of the major false beliefs of the wounded self.
Once we decide this, we learn to hide away who we really are and we go about developing a self that is acceptable. The more we do this, the more we lose touch with who we really are. We come to believe that we are our ego wounded self - that we are the self we created, not the Self that God created. Over time, the ego gains more and more power, and very much doesn’t want to lose this power. Our ego wounded self becomes addicted to being in control.
Like a dictator who doesn't want to be toppled, our wounded self fears losing its power. The more inner work we do to heal our limiting beliefs and move into the truth of who we are, the more our ego wounded self is threatened. The one time it can exert its power is when we are asleep. So it often take over while we are asleep and we wake up with the thoughts of our wounded self that create anxiety. Being asleep, we do not have the wherewithal to limit these thoughts. We might be totally unaware of the thoughts that create the anxiety because we are half-asleep, but when we wake up, we experience the anxiety of the lies that the wounded self is telling us.
In fact, the more growth you do, the more you might wake up with anxiety, as the wounded self becomes more and more threatened of losing power. What to do?
The Way Out of Anxiety
What often happens is that we get hooked into ruminating about the very thoughts that are creating the anxiety, thus becoming more and more anxious. We may try to explore why we are having these thoughts that are making us feel bad, which only seems to exacerbate the anxiety.
Focusing on these thoughts is NOT the way out!
The way out is to consciously and deliberately focus on what you are grateful for. Gratitude dispels the power of the wounded self, so the more you focus on gratitude, then better you will feel.
Try it for yourself. Instead of trying to figure out what the anxiety is about, or what you are thinking, or why you are thinking what you are thinking, move into gratitude instead. Be thankful for the day, for another opportunity to learn and grow and share love with whomever you encounter. Be thankful for your life, for the journey of the soul, for the sacred privilege of evolving your soul in love. Be thankful for the big and small things in your life that you might be overlooking.
Then notice how you feel!