This sentence, anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, is a quote from a book written by Soren Kierkegaard around June 1844.

The book is called the Concept of Anxiety.

When I heard this phrase, I was utterly mesmerised.

It summed up everything for me, beautifully into a colourful little package, all wrapped up and there with my name on it, under the Christmas tree.

Yes, Christmas came early for me!

Who was Soren Kierkegaard?

This man is one of many titles. Or so the research tells me.

He was a philosopher, a theologian, The Father of Existentialism of both atheistic and theistic variations.

But for me, his words are poetry.

So perhaps I can be bold enough to throw this title into his ring of many.

The Power of the Poet

How wonderful is this extraordinary gift of the power of the words used by writers?

Literally in one sentence, with words skillfully placed in an order and that message lands in a person’s ear, the power of those words can be immense.

But let’s get down to the nuts and bolts.

Let’s Break it Down

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”

Soren thought of anxiety as the dizzying effect of looking into the boundlessness of one’s possibilities.

Since our possibilities are endless, and when we embark on a journey towards that endlessness, anxiety is the effect on the traveller.

Freedom is the very thing that we realise when we move towards our possibilities.

And when we choose freedom and move with intention and purpose towards that freedom, anxiety is a partner with you on that journey.

Why even make the journey then?

It seems crazy that we would even want to move into this anxious state if we chose freedom.

And we do have a choice.

If we contemplate taking the journey, I ask what the alternative is?

As a person with core values of freedom and adventure, I must accept that along this journey of discovery, this journey towards living aligned with my core values; I must accept anxiety as the by-product—anxiety as my walking partner.

For me, the alternative is a life lived without joy and happiness – without a sense of purpose and value and meaning.

This all sounds very “airy-fairy”, but if I look back on my life before stepping into the void – of freedom, of entrepreneurship, anxiety and fear, of vulnerability, and constantly feeling like you are just not done, I wouldn’t want anything else.

Don’t get me wrong; there are days when I wish I had never sat in that nail salon getting a pedicure, being an introvert and reading that damn article about the Camino de Santiago.

Because that was the day when the seed of freedom was planted securely into my heart.

Perhaps, if it had been planted into my brain, maybe I wouldn’t even be writing this right now.

If it had been planted into my brain, I wouldn’t be feeling as anxious as I am now either.

My Brain Seldom Serves Me

It’s the truth.

I would say that when you think about it, that your brain, too, does very little to serve your boundless possibilities.

Our brains are hardwired to protect us. It stems from our days when we lived in caves, and we needed protection from the grizzly characters that might make a meal of us.

But now, in these modern times, we don’t need the same protection that our brain wants to give us. So we have these feelings of wanting to dream and extend ourselves, and because it poses a risk, we often retract and withdraw.

Maybe there is anxiety in that withdrawal position as well?

When your brain and your heart are misaligned, and you constantly feel that misalignment and you want desperately to step into your place of purpose, power and value, but you are just afraid to take that step?

That must cause loads of anxiety too?

So, Do We Face Only One Option?

If we experience anxiety whether we leap towards freedom or not, isn’t it beneficial for us to just jump?

I have anxiety just writing that!

All I know is this – anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

Because whatever freedom looks like to you, anxiety will follow in your life. There is no way around it.

The only way is through it.

And that sounds like a harsh reality, but it is.

The wonderful thing, though, is that from this place where you think you are all alone wallowing in your anxiety, there will be people who step up to take your hand and walk that road with you – with you and your walking partner, anxiety.

That is what I discovered.

Always remember : Me too, and I am with you!

Weekly Blog by Robyn-Lee Nichols aka The Perpetual Pilgrim

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