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Healing vs Fixing Anxiety: Why It’s Important To Know the Difference Between the Two + Why It Matters
Have you suffered from anxiety or had a loved one suffering from anxiety? While there are many techniques and strategies to deal with anxiety, we first need to understand the difference between fixing and healing anxiety.
The following is an excerpt from Corinne Zupko’s book From Anxiety to Love.
There is a difference between making a symptom go away and healing the root cause of the problem.
In my work as a therapist and coach, I often notice that people want their painful struggle to cease, but they also want to keep on doing what they’ve been doing that causes the pain. A good example is a person who receives a diagnosis of diabetes and begins to take insulin but continues to eat lots of sugary, refined food and doesn’t increase her level of exercise.
The same holds true for our identity.
We want the pain of our lonely self to go away, but we also want to hold on to our habits of thinking, feeling, and perception: that is, we resist any challenges to our ego or our beliefs about the nature of reality. In other words, we’re saying: “I want to be separate and stay in the dream, but I want it to be painless and have everything turn out the way I want.” We are declaring that we want to fix the predicament we’ve gotten ourselves into without healing the state of mind that led us here.
The same is true of anxiety, which can be either fixed or healed.
When anxiety is merely fixed, it is like a leaky pipe. We plug up one hole through positive thinking or some other intervention, only to spring another leak elsewhere. Maybe you’ve worked hard to get over a phobia of flying, but you still feel panicky about germs. Fixing anxiety means that it is free to return in some other form, because the source of the pain (the belief in separation) has not been healed. Fear is a shape-shifter, and until we heal the belief in separation that gives rise to all fear, that fear will be free to manifest itself as sickness, lack, loneliness, or conflict.
Fixing is what most of us want, even if we usually call it healing.
All we want is for the symptoms to go away: we don’t want to change anything beyond that. We want the pain to diminish, but we want to keep our world “real,” exactly as it is. We want to remain special and separate, but without any difficulties.
When anxiety is healed, however, it is effectively eliminated at its source.
Healing anxiety begins with not being afraid to look deeply into our minds to see where the anxiety is coming from. In true healing, the anxiety goes away because we experience a fundamental shift in understanding who we really are. Once that’s achieved, anxiety no longer serves the purpose of keeping us identified with our body and believing that we have pulled off the separation. There is no unconscious guilt or fear for the anxiety to grab on to, and nothing else arises to take its place.
Healing is a gradual process, however, so we can view any recurrences of anxiety as opportunities to work with our Inner Therapist.
Once, after some intensive work with my Inner Therapist, I felt a surge of anxiety. Instantly, an image came to mind of a dark, screeching mass of fear arising out of a black hole, flailing its arms. But the walls of the hole were clean and smooth, and with nothing to grab on to, the anxiety fell back down the hole and disappeared. What this image meant was that there was no belief, thought, or feeling within me for the anxiety to take hold of.
It is really important to get clear on whether you want your anxiety fixed or healed.
Be really honest about this. There is nothing wrong with just wanting to fix anxiety because you’re not ready to make bigger changes, but you must acknowledge where you are, and look at your current situation with the Inner Therapist. Eventually, you’ll recognize that what you really want is healing.
And healing is not possible unless and until we turn to our Inner Therapist.
That begins the process of teaching the Child Mind that there is nothing to fear. The next section of the book takes you through the lessons and insights that helped me in overcoming anxiety. It is up to you to put these principles into action.
Excerpted from the book From Anxiety to Love: A Radical New Approach for Letting Go of Fear and Finding Lasting Peace. Copyright ©2018 by Corinne Zupko. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.
About the author
Corinne Zupko, EdS, LPC, is the author of From Anxiety to Love. As a licensed counselor and keynote speaker, she has helped thousands of individuals through her one-on-one counseling, weekly meditation classes for corporations, and the largest virtual conference of ACIM in the world, through the organization Miracle Share International, which she cofounded. Visit her online at www.FromAnxietytoLove.com.