When Dixie* came to see me, her hands trembled a little as she talked about her husband’s anxiety. She shared how he apparently often sat in their apartment’s living room feeling overwhelmed, his eyes sort of absent, all because he seemed not to know what to do next. Dixie continued by saying she was getting fed up with her husband’s perceived inability to ‘get a grip’ over his life and she was now coming to see me to find ways for him to deal with his anxiety. What I asked her next became a game changer for her. I asked,
What about your anxiety?
Dixie’s mouth opened in a big O. I could tell she was trying to grasp what I was asking her because she said, shaking her head, “No, it’s not about me, it’s about him!”
Once again, I turned her attention back to her self. I asked her how she usually reacted when she believed her husband was having an anxiety crisis. She said, “I sit with him, I hold his hand, I ask him to look at me and I tell him he can do it.” She then affirmed this method did Not really work because she usually ended up becoming angrier and storming out of the room eventually.
Can you imagine what it feels like to take responsibility for the behaviours of others?
Dixie asked me to ‘fix’ her husband. I told Dixie I coach the client who is sitting in front of me, in this case, her.
What are you avoiding within yourself
that makes you to keep focusing externally?
Dixie’s face like fell on the floor. She talked about the difficulties in her marriage, how she claimed she did ‘everything’ for her husband, and how she was becoming resentful because of it for she believed he was not ‘pulling his share’.
Talking more with her, Dixie realized she needed to stop enabling her husband (he needed to find his own solutions to his anxiety). She also realized she needed to focus on her own well-being to address her anxiety. Dixie agreed to become my coaching client.
I asked her…
What would a life without anxiety look like for you?
Dixie took a big breath, her chest rising up quite considerably, her shoulders straightening up, as she said, “O my God, my life would be AMAZING! I would Not be so tired anymore thinking about him when I am at work and dealing with him when I am at home. I would have a lot of time to look after me!” She burst out laughing as she said the last words.
That day, Dixie went home with homework to do. Every time she caught herself becoming anxious, she was to stop and ask herself, “What do I need right now?” and take actions towards fulfilling her need. If it was her husband she suspected behaving anxiously, she was to ask him, “What can give yourself right now to feel better?”
At our next coaching session, Dixie blurted angrily that she had had a difficult week. According to her, her husband had Not taken well to her non-rescuing him for he kept pointing fingers at her while saying things like “You don’t care about me!”
Dixie was once again feeling caught between her desire to be here for him and the need to be here for herself. Can you relate?
She looked at me with tired eyes. She slapped her hand onto the table,
“ENOUGH with the anxiety!”
Let me ask you…
Why do we become anxious?
Why do we stray away from our own well-being?
I believe the answer is, because we think our life will be better.
Is it though? How was Dixie’s constant focus on her husband’s anxiety ever going to advance her dream of living her own life anxiety-free?
Clearly, straying from our own well-being does Not work.
With this in mind…
How does life become better?
I believe, life becomes better when we focus on
acknowledging our individual needs first. ‘What do I need right now?’
taking actions based on what we want. ‘What can I do right now to fulfill my need?’
remaining strategically focused on our well-being. ‘What system can I put in place so I never constantly stray away from my own well-being?’
I could certainly relate to Dixie. I used to be a deeply anxious person who lived in her head either focused on the past or the future. I stopped feeling constantly anxious when I started acknowledging my own needs, taking actions on what I wanted, and hiring a mentor who holds me deeply accountable.
Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who may suffer from constant anxiety:
Notice where your mind wanders. What makes you anxious? Is it a specific person, a behaviour, a thing, a situation? The clearer you become about what makes you anxious, whether you realize it or not, you are actually facing your anxiety by breaking it down into manageable pieces.
Pick up only one anxiety piece at a time. Once you have chosen to address a specific component of what is making you anxious, ask yourself, “What can I do right now to remove this piece that is making me anxious?’ Often, the simplest actions provide the longest positive returns.
Have an accountability system/person in place. Though many of us say we ‘know’ Not to stray from our own well-being, however, what we believe and what we do are often two different things. This is why having an accountability system/person in place is crucial to our well-being.
Now imagine somebody has just read these tips…
What do you believe will be their greatest challenge?
Before she came to see me, Dixie was determined to ‘fix’ her husband, Not yet realizing she needed herself to be held accountable for her anxiety. This is why as soon as the next anxiety crisis popped up in their marriage, Dixie did what she knew, she familiarly constantly strayed away from her own well-being.
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who holds her clients highly accountable so they face their anxiety, and like Dixie, get to finally focus on their well-being.
For coaching inquiries, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,