You would be hard pressed to find someone alive that isn’t familiar with the comedy-cartoon, South Park. Dating all the way back to 1997 it’s older than many of our kids.
Going with that assumption that many of you are familiar, we’ll also assume you’re familiar with the characters that make South Park unique and what their respective traits are.
So what does that have to do with anxiety? Well, anxiety is like (Eric) Cartman. While there are other main cast characters, everyone knows and loves Cartman.
Cartman is well-known for his aggressive, arrogant and narcissistic attitude. Cartman is basically just like anxiety.
And without Cartman, South Park may not even be on the air today. South Park may have died a long time ago because Cartman helps make South Park. Cartman helps to keep South Park alive.
And just like Cartman, anxiety helps keep us alive. Sure sometimes its annoying, aggressive, rude, mean and a host of other things. But without anxiety, we would long be extinct.
But if anxiety is all of those things, how can we live with it? Simple, like the other cast members of South Park, we make anxiety our friend.
One way or another its part of our lives, always there coming with us on adventures every day. Sitting at home, it’s always there or out shopping it’s always there, too.
It may not always show itself, sitting silently watching and observing and at other times it will want to be the centre of your attention.
But regardless of how it’s behaving, we can always try and remember it’s our friend because once you start to see anxiety differently, you start to experience anxiety differently too.
That doesn’t mean how it manifests in unwanted ways will change overnight, although quite often it is a beneficial side effect, what it does mean though is our experience will be a lot less emotional.
Some people may find Cartman annoying, and others might not. The same goes for any trigger. So how can the same thing fit two definitions? Because every person’s experience is different.
And like many things, our experience isn’t fixed. It’s generally environmental, something we have been conditioned with. And that’s great news because when something is determined by conditioning, it means we can change our conditioning.
So next time anxiety shows up, and it’s getting on your nerves try and think of it as Cartman. Have fun, play with it, say “Oh hey Cartman, What’s up?”. See if you can change your own experience.