Learning to Celebrate Each Victory Along My Anxiety Journey
One step at a time. One deep breath at a time. Moment by moment. This is the pace at which I feel most comfortable to go about my every day. Oftentimes, one to two commitments per day is the rhythm at which my schedule moves. I accept that more than two commitments in one day can be overwhelming for me, and sometimes even one or two can feel like a lot. That is why I strive to build into my daily routine time during which I can pause and practice mindfulness. When I take this time to focus on my breathing and quiet the anxious thoughts in my head, a feeling that everything will be OK washes over me. I acquire a newfound sense of reassurance.
As I take gentle steps to manage my anxiety, I have come to realize the moments that seem small are actually the big and meaningful ones. I tend to minimize my victories, because I feel like the anxious voice inside of my head often diminishes the value of what I do. For example, a victory for me can be leaving the house, making a phone call, making eye contact with a stranger, driving somewhere new, or making it through the day in general. Even though I would like to celebrate these moments, my anxiety makes it difficult not to critique my accomplishments. Yet, I am determined to start seeing my own value and recognizing that anxiety does not make me less valuable. Anxiety also does not make me less lovable. Always remember that you are important, you have value and purpose, and you are worth being loved.
My journey of accepting my anxiety has also taught me that the challenges I face are not signs of weakness. They signify an inner strength I am only beginning to realize. I used to invalidate my struggles with anxiety because I was so ashamed, but now I recognize these challenges are real and I need not feel shame over them. I know it can be extremely difficult to share with others what makes us feel vulnerable, but I encourage you not to downplay what is challenging for you. I believe the challenges we face can also represent our strength, our beauty, our courage — and we deserve to be accepted exactly for who we are.
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