Focusing Tip #384 – Anxiety About Exams: “You will fail”

Focusing Tip #384 – Anxiety About Exams: “You will fail”
June 12, 2013 Ann Weiser Cornell

“I feel like two tons have been lifted off my shoulders.”

Daniele writes: 

I want to thank you for the newsletter. I feel like I finally understand that worrying thoughts are expressions of a inner part of me that is sincerely interested in my life. 

For years I’ve been living with the sensation of being under a ton of fear of the future. I was afraid of exams and of anything that required a bit of effort to be faced. I simply didn’t understand the nature of worrying thoughts. 

Now I feel like two tons have been lifted off my shoulders. I’m beginning to feeling more free, and the body sensation is like just having had a fresh shower. 

Dear Daniele,

Thank you so much for writing! I’m grateful to hear what kind of impact these email newsletters have had for you. 

Your email gives me the opportunity to remind everyone what a beautifully simple concept this is: that your worrying thoughts are from a part of you that doesn’t want you to be hurt, and really does want you to do well.  

Once we really know that, for example, “You will fail,” is from a part of us that is worried that we will fail… and doesn’t want us to… everything potentially changes. 

In addition to the concept, however, we need the process. We need to say a friendly Hello to this part, and understand right away that it is worried. Doing this changes our identification so that WE are Self-in-Presence.

Part: “You will fail.”

My Self: “Ah, hello. It sounds like you are worried that I will fail…” 

Part: “Yes!”

My Self: (kindly) “I really hear you are worried I will fail. I am here with you, I hear you.” (putting a gentle hand on the heart)

A worried part is like a child who needs a hug.

It might feel as though the worrying thoughts are what makes you anxious. Facing an exam, for example, we hear “what if I can’t remember anything?” and “what if I fail?”

But actually, those thoughts are from the anxious part of us. It’s like a scared child who needs a hug. By saying a gentle Hello to it, and putting a hand on the heart, we become the strong adult that this scared child needs.

You don’t have to say, “It will be all right.” I have found it most helpful to simply say, “I am here.” The relationship is what matters: that YOU are here with IT. Now life flows forward, and you do what you can do, from your best self. 


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