“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee
The above is a famous quote from an interview from the 60’s. He was asked to encapsulate his philosophy etc. and of course that’s nearly impossible for anyone to do in a 40s sound bite. Its important to understand the context here as well, Bruce Lee was a martial artist (perhaps the most famous one) and an actor.
What can we glean from this bit of wisdom from the past?
Water has the ability to adapt to nearly any situation. As Lee says, “put it in a cup, it becomes the cup”. For those of us with anxiety this might not make a whole lot of sense. It requires a mind set and personal mental flexibility to allow yourself to “fit” into any situation. For us, again, those with anxiety I think the key take away here is we are both the water and the cup.
Many of us are struggling to be comfortable in our own skin, in multiple situations. Its far more important to be comfortable with yourself then with everything else around you, that comes later. You are the water and the cup, you have anxiety, you have to acknowledge and accept it. You have to forgive yourself for feeling the way you do, you have to accept yourself as you are and understand you are not deficient.
Once you accept yourself, you will more easily be able to employ this wisdom from the past and be like water. You will be able to navigate social situation, you will be able to function out there in the world with other people with all the mental exercises that go with it.
You are doing great, one day at a time.