My anxiety has been functioning at a much more “normal” level lately. When I say “normal,” of course, I suppose I mean normal for me.
A certain level of anxiety has always propelled me forward, created a sense of productivity in me, and driven my need to succeed.
I did ask myself today, though: What would life be like without ANY anxiety? Is it possible to just…I don’t know…RELAX?
Interesting question, right? 🙂
I seem to need to stress or worry or feel anxious about something, or life doesn’t feel quite right. Unfortunately, this usually accompanies some other bad habits, such as doubting myself–and that can pretty quickly spiral into a lack of self compassion and that critical part of self that starts yelling.
I am really proud of my progress over the last month. Like, so incredibly proud of all of the things that I have realized, and the whole-ness that I am feeling. It has been a long time since I have felt happy and whole–confident in who I am and willing to stand up tall and do things that are scary or intimidating.
That doubt in myself, however–it always lingers. It is one habit that is really hard to beat.
For example, I recently reached out to an administrator to express interest in a job position that I would really like to have next year. The job is not yet listed, and I felt like a bit of a suck-up sending an email letting this person know I’d love to work there…but at least five people told me it was the right move. I sent it and, four days later, got a very polite, very neutral reply that really kind of just said “thanks for the email.”
Those warning sirens starting going off in my head. That critical voice came out with a vengeance and began berating me. She thinks you are dumb! Why would you send that? Now you will feel awkward talking to her. Who does that?!
Really, the overthinking goes into hyper-drive. I tell myself, She was so polite! She didn’t have to respond at all. It is fine! Your email was professional and appropriate. You should feel good about sending it and stepping out of your comfort zone. That took some bravery.
But, that voice–the rational one, the more compassionate one, it is the quieter voice.
Changing that internal response–that script that I have built into my body and mind over lots of years–is really damn hard.
The good news, though?
I might feel unsettled. Slightly stressed. Full of doubt.
But…I am also handling it. I am not a mess. I feel the need to picket a lot of people and say, What do you think this means?….but, I am working to simply accept myself as I am.
And I recognized what I was doing as soon as I started feeling it.
That, I think, is still measurable growth.