Pathways to serenity: Navigating the journey of recovery

Authenticity is crucial to reducing anxiety and promoting healing. Living as your authentic self will foster inner harmony and reduce the stress and anxiety from trying to live a life that doesn't match your authentic self.


When we feel anxious, it's natural to want to get rid of those feelings. However, we should view anxiety not as a burden but as a valuable source of information and an opportunity for growth. While anti-anxiety medications can be helpful in certain situations, we should be cautious about relying on them to eliminate or distract us from uncomfortable emotions. Instead, we can use our emotions as a roadmap to guide us towards what is right and wrong for us, helping us make meaningful and joyful choices in life.

Anxiety acts as a signal

Anxiety serves as a signal that provides us with essential information. We can compare these feelings to physical pain, which warns us to stop doing something that causes harm. By paying attention to our anxiety, we can learn to avoid situations and behaviours that may be detrimental to our well-being. With this approach, we can embrace our emotions as a source of wisdom and use them to navigate the ups and downs of life with clarity, compassion, and confidence.

Embracing authenticity is not just about being true to yourself; it's about accepting and embracing all parts of you. This self-acceptance creates a safe space for vulnerability and healing. Without it, trauma survivors can't feel safe being vulnerable, and they can't lower their defences around pain to see their actual needs. Authenticity, therefore, demands vulnerability and a willingness to be honest and open with oneself and others. It's a journey of self-discovery and self-compassion, and it's a journey that you don't have to take alone.

Research proves living authentically is far better for well-being  

Research has consistently shown that living more authentically is linked to greater psychological well-being, which often translates to better physical health. When we can't live authentically, stress and anxiety usually take root in our minds and bodies, affecting our overall health.

Neglecting yourself emotionally can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. This can happen when you ignore your feelings, judge yourself harshly, or resort to addictive behaviours to numb the pain. When you emotionally abandon yourself, your inner child feels ignored or like they are being left to someone else to take care of.

Love and compassion

Your inner child needs love and compassion, just like a real child. When you judge yourself harshly, you tell your inner child that you aren't good enough and that you must be perfect or can never do anything right. This can make your inner child feel anxious and unloved.

It's essential to be aware of the pain self-judgment causes and to take responsibility for your feelings. When you ignore your feelings, you tell your inner child they aren't essential and their feelings don't matter. This can lead to self-abandonment, which only causes more anxiety.

If you feel anxious and resort to addictive behaviours to numb the pain, this can worsen your emotions and lead to more anxiety in the long run. Your ego-wounded self may turn to learned addictive behaviours to avoid pain, such as using junk food, nicotine, drugs or alcohol, or engaging in too much TV, work, gambling, spending, internet, video games, or pornography. These addictive behaviours can provide temporary relief, but they are all ways of abandoning yourself and leading to more anxiety in the long run.

Stop seeking external validation and show yourself love

It's essential to show yourself love and compassion during difficult times. Take the time to care for yourself and show yourself the kindness you deserve. Remember, just like a child would feel anxious and unloved if you kept trying to give them away to someone else to love, this is how your inner child feels when you make others responsible for your feelings. So, take responsibility for your feelings, show yourself love and compassion, and avoid self-abandonment and addictive behaviours that only cause more anxiety.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London E1 & E14
Written by David Pender, MBACP, Integrative Psychotherapy | Specialising in Anxiety
London E1 & E14

David S. Pender is a qualified BACP therapist who provides counselling and psychotherapy services to adults throughout London & the UK. He has extensive experience in dealing with problems related to anxiety, trauma, chronic stress, social anxiety, panic attacks, generalised anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Free discovery calls

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