By Lucie Dickenson ~
You have all heard that bigger is not always better. What about newer is not always nicest? Or more is not most desired? Or the best is not the best for me? We live in a society of immediate access to information. This information easily shapes our thoughts and opinions about a particular subject if we allow it to. News, internet, social media. All these outlets are incredible resources, but also can be what sways us away from what is instinctively good for us and instead into a heard mentality of taking someone else’s word as gospel.
Let’s say you love small homes with lots of character. In your dreams you see a small white home with a red door and a picket fence. However when you turn on the television and begin to watch all the home improvement and home sales programs you see that the trend is for enormous, open concept homes with slabs of rock and center islands as the most needed items. Your opinion may begin to change for the opportunity to fit in with what is considered the “right” home that everyone is jockeying for position to obtain. It is silly. You cannot miss these home improvement or buying homes that make you feel if you do not have a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with top of the line appliances you need a new home. Instead of feeling good after the show, you may feel inadequate. Please know big is not always better. Sometimes it is, sometimes, well its just big.
Another example is colleges. My son recently began his first year of college, and my daughter is currently filling out applications for next year. This process is brutal to anyone that does not have thick skin and a clear personal idea of what they want from their experience. It begins early in high school with chatter of who is going to a college counselor and how that counselor was so amazing in helping them to their dreams. Of course we want our children to have every opportunity to achieve their dreams, so we get them to a counselor, or if we can’t afford it, we feel guilty and worse yet, feel we are missing the boat for our child because someone has a one up on the process. These counselors are amazing people who truly want to help your child. I am all for them. However, your child absolutely can go it alone and still reap amazing results. It is up to your child how the process unfolds and what is needed to get them to their goal. I did not use a counselor for my two oldest, but am using their services for my youngest. Not because I or she wants to fit in, but because it is the right fit for her. More is not always needed, Sometimes more is just more.
Then comes the inevitable stumble upon “The Best” lists. These are list written by publications that generate the college machine and get you to believe that if your child is not in a top 20 school they will certainly fail in life and not be a productive citizen in this world. I cannot tell you how prevalent and in your face these lists are. Best School. Best Campus. Best ROI. Best Food. Best Dorm. Best Whatever. Not only are these lists everywhere, people continuously regurgitate them on social media to fit their needs of looking Best. You can find a list that will certainly make the school you are viewing look amazing. There are thousands of ways to twist a list to make it look the way you want it to and Voila, you are now a BEST. The best for someone else is not always best for you. Best is subjective.
We can list a million different ways we are psychologically open to information and then we measure ourselves, our family and our “stuff” against this information. It is a field day for anxiety and its symptoms. When we are not grounded in who we are, what we want and our beliefs, we lose ourselves and take on someone else’s opinions as truth. Anxiety will find any opening to strike and one of its most powerful weapons is its ability to sneak in during doubt.
Many years ago, I was caught up in all of this best, biggest, better crap. It makes sense now that this was the time when my anxiety was at its worst. I would have panic attack upon panic attacks all day long. There was no stopping the crazy symptoms that plagued me all day and all night. It occurred to me that I had no real opinions on anything. I tried so hard to be nice to everyone and please them I was not being nice to myself. I began to understand I needed to be clear and 100% committed to what I believed in, what I want and where I was going. It was not an overnight change, but I made small steps everyday to get to know myself. To ask myself the questions and listen to the answers of what I truly wanted, without the noise of the world influencing my decisions. I went through tough questions about religion, about family, friends, wants vs needs and how I wanted to make my small space in the universe beautiful. I started changing into the person that was with me all along, just waiting to be found. I set healthy boundaries and left jobs and activities that no longer were for my highest good. I released old outdated thought patterns and replaced them with choices that aligned with my soul. Your best, your biggest and your better is your true self. Shine your authentic being and the anxiety will melt away.
Love Always, Lucie