I’m all fired up.
Someone recently showed me a book called Calm the F*CK Down: how to control what you can and accept what you can’t so you can stop freaking out and get on with your life.
A cold shiver ran down my spine, when I saw this yuck-o title:
I’m all for cursing, but this title is gross.
Why? Oh, I’ll tell you why.
What follows here is a good old-fashioned rant. (You’ve been warned.)
I help people heal from anxiety.
I do not help people to get calm.
Sure, feeling calm can be a side effect of healing from anxiety. But that’s not the main objective of the work I do as a coach.
I’d rather my clients feel freedom, inner peace, joy, connection to Source. I’d love for them to feel comfortable in their own skin, and comfortable in the world.
I could care less about calm.
Calmness is not a virtue. Calm does not equate to happy, good or holy.
Think about it. Who’s calm?
A stoner is calm. A person in a coma is calm. The robots in The Stepford Wives were calm.
So you see, “calm” is not the end-all-be-all.
And if it was, the good news is that getting calm is easy. Just pop a Xanax!
So where DID our obsession with calmness begin, anyways?
I don’t know, probably the Middle Ages. But it has a lot to do with a deep-rooted fear of and need to suppress feminine energy throughout human history.
Did you know that “female hysteria” was once a common medical diagnosis for women?
Symptoms included anxiety, insomnia, irritability, fluid retention, sexual urges and a “tendency to cause trouble for others”.
Even though it was categorized as a disease, it’s now said that the symptoms of “female hysteria” were synonymous with normal functioning female sexuality.
Guess what? In extreme cases, a woman with this diagnosis may have been forced to enter an insane asylum.
Man. It’s incredible what fear does…
Fear of emotions. Fear of the power of female sexuality. Fear of the divine feminine principle itself.
The American Psychiatric Association dropped the term hysteria in 1952. But the idea of the “hysterical woman” lives on. And this is where, I believe, our collective obsession with forcing women to calm down, comes from.
The Stepford Wives come to mind. In this twisted Hollywood tale, a perfect wife is nothing more than a well-coifed robot: obedient, subservient, submissive.
Zero emotional range.
Sure, this is a fictional look at the “perfect woman”. It’s just a movie, after all.
But there’s a reason the movie is so alluring.
There’s something vaguely and horrifyingly familiar about it. Just look at the cosmetic industry, the fashion industry, and even the self-help industry (see book cover above) for toxic perfectionistic messaging. Is this life imitating art? Or art imitating life? You tell me.
For centuries, women have been told to “calm down”.
We’ve been shamed and pathologized for having emotions, sexual urges, anger and even fluid retention (wtf??).
And now, women have internalized this message. “Calm down” has become SELF-TALK.
This internal judgment is familiar. It mimics centuries of external judgment.
Calm down is is no better than saying you’re wrong to yourself. Or you’re bad. It’s harsh and critical. It creates internal pressure. And anxiety.
Want to get rid of anxiety? Learn how to love yourself? Sleep better? Live longer?
Start by getting rid of the thought I need to calm down.
You don’t need to calm down. You 100% have the right to be mad, sad, afraid or riotously happy. Or not.
There’s nothing wrong with you for feeling things.
Feelings are human, healthy, normal and good. Even when uncomfortable.
Instead of demanding calm from yourself, how about self-compassion? Patience? Grace? Space to honor whatever comes up?
Don’t get me wrong — feeling calm can be nice. But forcing yourself to be calm and push down all your non-calm feelings is not nice at all.
Forcing yourself to push down your feelings is poisonous to your body. More on that in my next message.
For now, feel free to take a sharpie with you next time you go to a bookstore. A little well-intentioned graffiti never hurt anyone…
Light & love,
P.S. Yup, I just judged a book cover 😂😂. I have no idea what’s inside.
Have you read it?? Message me and let me know what you thought.
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