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Do Not Fear, Welcome Anxiety Published: Sunday, March 8, 1998 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Scientists and philosophers have instructed that anxiety can be understood as repeating the trauma of birth, which is the most spectacular change a human being will ever experience. This metaphor dramatically reveals that pain can be the door to a new life, since in birth there is pain for both the mother and the child. The word anxiety comes from the latin words augustus and anger, which point to the pain of going through a narrow passage. It is critical to understand that anxiety is the key to courage, for courage is the decision to manage and tolerate maximum amounts of anxiety. We are in the business of managing anxiety. Obsoletes management techniques, are often more escapes from the challenges of courage than effective tools to harness such a condition. Character is developed by going through the existential crisis or passages, which means to allow anxiety to come to full flowering. Thus, do not fear, welcome anxiety to come out at the other end of the process strong, resilient, wise and mature.

No significant decision, personal or institutional, professional or political, has been undertaken without the leader or decision-maker choosing to wade through rapids of anxiety. Dostoevsky wrote, "Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear the most". What admits us all to life is the choice never to avoid anxiety, but to welcome and manage it. We all meet an existential challenge whenever we confront any crisis, when we hit the wall of frustration. Anxiety management relates to authenticity, encouraging to pursue that which produces anxiety, only to find ourselves in a downward loop and eventually also in a backward loop in the journey of life. But carried to its full effectiveness (getting results) and conclusion, we will eventually move forward and continue on our journey of life, now strengthened and renewed by way of profound knowledge. It is such a crisis that give human beings character, potency, hope and effectiveness.

Change is a source of anxiety. Change and transformation disorganizes status quo and stability. They create confusion, which is experienced as anxiety. In every day situations, the practical formula with respect to anxiety is: go where the pain is. Be ready to talk with evil. This is the technology for achieving leadership profoundness. We have to explore our moments and nightmares of anxiety. Let us not fear or deny them. They hold the answers to unanswerable questions. The passport to a meaniful life is to integrate and transcend both pain and evil.

Final words of studied and learned lessons: Do not hide your feelings and do not repress your thoughts. Do not ignore pain and feel free to discuss it with others. As we talk, think, feel, write, question and read about the issues that cause anxiety our minds get flooded with emotions. This exercise, if properly understood and undertaken, can be the foundation of growth, strength and fulfillment. It will take us to acknowledge that only us can change the world we have created; there is no real danger in change; to get what we really want, we must change; we have the power of change.

Anxiety is the feeling of knowledge in action, of theory being put into practice.


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