My trusted colleague and friend, Darlene Denis-Friske, has a wonderful analogy for anxiety that she calls the ‘dragon and the treasure’.
Very often, we when are anxious about something, it has the capacity of keeping us from the goal we wish to achieve. The treasure is there, we are aware of its presence and the path to get it – but a dragon is guarding it. Afraid of the dragon, we hesitate; we lean into our fears, we convince ourselves we will never outwit the dragon, our focus shifts from the goal at hand and we choose to avoid the dragon completely. But the treasure is patiently waiting, we know we must get to it, and as the anticipation of getting the treasure draws nearer, the dragon gets bigger, fiercer, more menacing.
But is he really? What do we even know about the dragon? He has been given a bad rap; folklore tells us to fear him – that he is not to be trusted.
But could it be that he is perhaps misunderstood? That what he really desires is to be befriended, welcomed, appreciated for his unwavering vigilance? Perhaps in what appears to be frightening, he is simply looking for acceptance and validation.
Much like anxiety, our goal is not to defeat or outwit the dragon, but rather to tame it. When we can acknowledge, accept and appreciate the valued role it plays in our survival brain, we can move from being frightened (and therefore controlled) by it, to feeling as though we walk along beside it.
Befriended, the dragon stands aside to the treasure and the path is ours. After all, the dragon will be the first to tell you “What need does a dragon have for treasure anyways?” 🙂
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Photo credit: http://Photo by Emanuela Meli on Unsplash