But if we fear looking back at the past, or downplay how the past has shaped us, we may never really learn who we are and how we have been wired. Our past is important for each of us because in the words of novelist Chaim Potok’s character Asher Lev, ‘My frames of reference have been formed by the life I have lived.’” (The Anxious Christian, pp. 65)
Over the last week I have shared with you the importance of embracing our anxiety as well as sitting in the uncertainty that anxiety often brings into our life. But as you both embrace anxiety and welcome the uncertainty that it can bring (because that’s where growth can happen), it’s important to gain a sense of awareness about anxiety in your life, especially as is relates to your family of origin and your past.
Some of the questions you might explore are:
Did anyone in my family struggle with anxiety? (i.e. mom, dad, sibling, etc.) And how did they cope with their anxiety? (i.e. withdraw, get angry, numb out, make me responsible for it, etc.)
When did you first begin to experience anxiety in your own life? What was happening at that time in your life? How did you cope with it?
When you become anxious, what is the driving feeling that fuels it? (i.e. alone, not good enough, unloved, powerless, etc.)
To explore more fully the role of anxiety in our family of origins and our “brain wiring”, check out Chapter 3 (Stuck in a Rut) of The Anxious Christian.