Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Somewhere along the line one comes to the realisation that anxiety is part of being alive. As unpleasant as the feeling can sometimes be it’s not something that one can ever get away from.
Søren Kierkegaard (the father of Existentialism) described anxiety as, “The giddiness of freedom”. One experiences it every time one chooses something in life – we’re constantly choosing so there’s constant anxiety! If one takes responsibility for one’s choices, one is free to choose again; hence, more anxiety – to be free is to be anxious!
Whether one feels it as a mild excitement before engaging in something valuable or meaningful, or as a terrible feeling of dread before an experience that one cannot easily predict the outcome of. Either way, anxiety is here to stay! The only thing one can do is to attempt to understand one’s own anxiety, what it means, and how to use it!
The School of Anxiety teaches us to know ourselves. It pushes us towards self-understanding. When anxiety becomes intolerable, one is forced into accepting its harsh lessons – lessons of how to turn the perceptual lens from the other to the self. Lessons aimed at figuring out what triggers us and how to walk the razors edge that separates self-desire from others’ demands and social prescriptions!
Stress, anxiety, and panic all share similar opportunities for self-discovery. The discovery of being able to choose where to direct the Will. Do my wants align with my desires? Is my will directed towards what I actually want or in a direction set by others or at least the ghosts of Them?
Anxiety saves us from living an unexamined life. It saves us from an intolerably banal existence. It shapes us and our relationships. It demands our attention and seduces us into the journey towards finding meaning, and, for a lucky few, ourselves!