I want to ask you an important question. And I want you to dig deep in your heart when you answer.
No Type A Personality Responses On This One.
Are you too hard on yourself when it comes to anxiety management?
My friend, no one is perfect. Not you, not I, not even Abraham Lincoln in his day.
(Not even my heartthrob Patrick Dempsey. The secret’s out. That’s my celeb crush.)
Here’s the thing: we fail to see this. I know you do it. WE ALL DO.
We notice every little pitfall. And we do it over and over again.
Just yesterday, I was beating myself up over several “slip and fall” incidents that momentarily threw me offtrack .
- The day I ate two cupcakes AND A BLIZZARD to numb out the pain over Mike. (Bad way to deal with anxiety.)
- The panic attack that set in over a school project. (Hard is an understatement. Quantitative analysis is a bitch.)
- My looming anxiety over the elections. (I beat myself up because I simply couldn’t make a decision.)
- The massive anxiety that centered around my friend getting robbed at work. (Felt like my stomach was dropping at 50 miles an hour.)
With all of these situations, I experienced a setback. Debilitating anxiety took over and screwed up my idea of perfection.
But every single time this happens, I step back and think about reality.
Sure there are setbacks. Lots of them. However, there are a lot more accomplishments in my battle with anxiety.
- The temporary binge was just one day of my life. Yes, it made me anxious. However, my favorite jeans still fit.
- I got the quantitative analysis project done. Sure, it was hard. But I reached out for help. The anxiety soon subsided.
- I exercised my right to vote. The decision was tough, but I didn’t let anxiety stop me.
- My friend is OK. The story was scary in the moment, but that moment passed-along with my anxiety.
There are two ways to look at these situations. You can focus on the stumble; or you can focus on the milestones.
Even four years ago, I would have given up. A “slip and fall” incident would have derailed me. End of story.
But these days, I look for the milestones.
One day of anxious eating isn’t four. It’s one day. That’s it.
An inability to make decisions when anxiety strikes isn’t a stretched out disaster. I keep moving forward. I see that I can make decisions WITH anxiety in tow.
And things that I can’t control don’t take over like wildfire. They are what they are-unforeseen circumstances in life.
So today, I want to ask you to celebrate the little things. Did you get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other?
If you did, you made progress. (And if you didn’t, you’ll make progress tomorrow.)
No one said the battle with anxiety was easy. It’s a journey.
There will be progress; and there will be setbacks. That’s life, right?
It’s beautiful, brutal, breathtaking and brash….all at the same time.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in that vicious quantitative analysis project, it’s this…
Life is about the big picture. You can’t Photoshop it. But you can look for the milestones and the smile.
Quit beating yourself up. Anxiety sucks, but you can still find joy in the moment. Don’t let the setbacks become your reality. They’re a bump in the road.