Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anxiety; the Potential Legacy

One of the difficulties with being an anxious person, besides all of the anxiety, is the concern that I may have passed on this trait of being anxious to my children. Which of course feels uncomfortable as I love these kids so much and I certainly don't want to have caused them any additional harm in life. Life is challenging enough, I know; I've spent a lot of anxious moments being aware of this fact.

The rational part of me says that there would be no them without me and so they are certainly better off in being, even if they end up as anxious people, then if they did not exist at all. The experience of existence is certainly more interesting than the other option of non existence. My kids are who they are and I love them and they got what they got and will get what they will get. So, I'll be preparing them for life the best I can no matter what their qualities are. There is also the fact that I have no idea, no one does at the moment, how many important evolutionary qualities I am passing down through these children, preserved or prepared for further genetic mingling, possibly to advance and protect the species under some version in some circumstances. Who knows what we carry and who knows what our species will need. It could very well be that these genes contain, as part of anxiety or merely coincidentally in the total chromosomal package these kids posses, some beneficial quality that will matter greatly some day. Even more importantly, their is the importance of their existence right now in their lifetime and in the lifetimes of those who love them. For us who love them, their importance is immeasurable.

Their lives are worth it. I hope that... weather or not they suffer from anxiety or any other challenges in life, as they will suffer at times as surely as they will laugh, and weather or not they think about the unknown value that they may represent to the future, the certain value that they represent to the present, and the accomplishment their existence represents to the many generations that survived and reproduced in their ancestry,... I hope that they will agree that they are worth it. (That was quite a sentence… even after rereading it, I have decided it means exactly what I intended so I am leaving it as cumbersome as it is.)

They may even benefit from being anxious if they happen to turn out to be so in their later years. The book I just finished called My Age of Anxiety, by Scott Stossel, pointed out, among other fascinating things, that clinical anxiety is quite common and often associated with some certain impressive qualities in the person dealing with anxiety. There may be a reason evolution selected, as opposed to accidentally allowed, the genetic qualities that make one predisposed to suffer from some overly active anxiety in modern circumstances. And so a trick may be that those who do suffer their anxiety will enjoy some benefits if they manage to, well, manage to manage their anxiety below a level that is debilitating.

So, there is that potential silver lining in the grey cloud. And even grey clouds have their place.

While I am recognizing my desire for my children to live meaningfully fulfilling lives free of unnecessary suffering, I hope they learn to take advantage of any gifts they have, to accept any hardships they need to experience, and that they have the opportunity and make the choice to view all that they have and have to experience as valuable in making them all that they are. Or at least these qualities and experiences do not truly harm who they are even when they are not a benefit. I hope that they consider that what they are is so absolutely worth it all. I hope so.

Projecting back now, just in case my mom or others may be thinking similar hopes for me, I do in fact believe that this overall experience of mine is worth it.

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