“I drink to take the edge off” a client once told me. “It relieves the anxiety and tension that accumulates during my day.” I understood his meaning, but was also intrigued by his use of the word “edge.”
An edge is a boundary or line where two things meet. The edge of a table is the point where its two sides intersect. The edge of a forest is where the trees end and the grassland begins. We also have edges. These edges form the boundaries of our conscious identity, or ego. This is me; this is not me. This is what I can do; these are things I can’t do. This is what I believe; these are things I could never believe. Edges form where the “I” and the “not I” of your identity meet.
In order to grow and develop as people, we must periodically go over our edges, see or do things we thought we never would, or could. We enter new territory and expand our sense of self when we go over the edges that constrict our growth and creativity.
The process of going over edges can create anxiety and tension in our lives. This is because we are leaving familiar territory for the unknown. We are taking a risk, entering a new world, discovering a new part of ourselves. We experience this edge between our larger and our lesser self with anxiety. The only way to really resolve this tension and relieve this anxiety is to allow and embrace the change that life is asking of you. So, the next time you feel like taking the edge off by turning to the bottle or a pill, consider going over the edge instead.