Making Space

Musings about authenticity and the subconscious layers protecting it.

My Approach to Anxious Feelings

anxiety coping feldenkrais habit meditation people pleasing perfectionism safety worthiness Oct 21, 2021
cat with paws over face

The energy of the world has felt heavy these last coupla weeks. Heavy, overwhelming, and anxiety-ridden.

I started to notice these anxious feelings creeping in the last two weeks. 

True, I did a whole big systems change for the business during Mercury Retrograde and my email broke for a week (emails going out, but not coming in) - this definitely caused some anxiety (!) - but I also know because I'm grounded (more coming on this soon), it wasn't all me.

Even still, anxious feelings and vibrations feel intense and challenging to release / transmute the energy. 


I recognized 2 of my old coping mechanisms resurfacing:

-extra productivity, trying to stay in perpetual motion to "outrun" the anxious feelings

-eating when I'm not hungry to try to “ground”


I recognized these and observed them with curiosity. 


I didn't try to change any of it or take away my coping mechanisms. 


Here's how I authentically (used my self-awareness and self-knowledge) flowed with it:


I Maintained a Habit Shell

As a recovering perfectionist, I know I often think it has to be “all-or-nothing”.

So, instead of throwing out my habit of twice daily meditation because I couldn’t sit still, I did a habit placeholder.

I used my meditation time to ruminate. I let my mind go crazy – get it all out. I know - the opposite of meditation!

I purposely created a container for my mind to ruminate – but only for this time period. And if it started up again, I asked it to wait until the next meditation time.


It would have been harder to get back to meditating if I had given up my practice completely. But because I gave myself a third option (not just “all” or “nothing”), that habit is still in place.


Movement with Affirmations (learning from Elizabeth DiAlto)

Instead of expecting myself to do a slow 60-minute Feldenkrais, I did just as much as I could.

Which led to some stretches on my yoga mat. Not a yoga class, not yoga, no timer, just moves that my body wanted to do.

I listened and followed. 

Along with the stretches I said aloud to myself: 

"it's safe for me to pause, to rest, to relax"

"it's safe for me to enjoy my life"


Which may sound strange to you. That I need a reminder it's safe to enjoy my life.

But as a recovering people pleaser and perfectionist, I always have to remind myself of my inherent worthiness - not what other people may "think" about what I'm doing.


I used the perpetual motion to my advantage but planned a break

The perpetual motion of being productive gave me the illusion of feeling better, so I flowed with it. I did a huge system upgrade - everything got moved - I'll spare you the details, but I had originally thought it would take a few weeks, maybe a few months. I did it in two weeks.

But I also planned a break and trusted myself to take the break.


These tools didn't make the anxious feelings go away.


My intention with my coping mechanisms wasn’t to make it go away.


I let them run their course and made myself as comfortable as I could in the process – without judgement.


And I let the lessons surface.


BUT - here's the game changer for me.


I did this all with conscious awareness, with curiosity, observation, and I moved through it with more grace and ease because I knew it would pass, I trusted I would find my rest, and I'd learn about myself.


When I talk about perfectionism, people pleasing, and authenticity I'm not intending that we should all be 100% authentic all the time, that we should never people please, or never be "perfectionistic", or never feel stickier emotions like anxiety.


We're human. It comes with the suit.


But BECAUSE we're human - we get to be discerning. We get to bring conscious awareness to what we're doing and why we're doing it, and if we want to continue doing it.


This is the *empowerment* piece of it. Building our self-awareness as a foundation, increasing our self-knowledge so we even know what authentic means to us. And being authentic when it feels safe to us.


In the past, all these anxious feelings would’ve made me think: "what's wrong with me?", I would have berated myself for feeling that way, and then felt shameful for my coping mechanisms and I would have thrown good habits out the window and gone backwards.


I'm grateful for what I've learned about myself. My strong foundation of self-awareness, the self-knowledge I've developed, which has allowed self-compassion to come in.


I'm not trying to eliminate my coping mechanisms, my intention is to be curious, observe and learn about myself. And in turn, my authenticity naturally comes through, without trying, without efforting, without pushing or forcing.


I make space for it all and approach it consciously, with discernment, keeping myself in my own power and not victimized.


If this approach sounds appealing, please check out my free private podcast Making Space.


Season 1 is already available and discusses how people pleasing and perfectionism are a layer covering your authenticity and why it's scary to let go.

Season 2 is coming soon.

You can listen for free by signing up HERE.


Go on - make some space for yourself. 



Craving more authenticity?

Listen to the Making Space Podcast here.


Interested in applying for Making Space (the course)? Apply Here.


Jen Pillipow, Rapid Transformational Therapist, Cl.Hyp

P.S. I can't teach you how to be authentic, but I can help you bring awareness to the obstacles blocking your own authenticity so you can bring your authentic self to your work, life, and relationships.

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This blog post was written and created on traditional lands referred to as Treaty 6 Territory encompassing the traditional territories of numerous First Nations, including the Cree and Métis homeland. If you're not sure whose land you're on, I invite you to get curious by visiting 

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