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Changing My Perspective on My Anxiety

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I tend to view my anxiety negatively, because I often feel inhibited by it. I grow discouraged when I reflect upon experiences I might have missed related to my schooling, job search, and friendships as a result of my over-analysis and fear. In those anxiety-ridden moments, I question my self-worth. I ask myself if I am enough, if the efforts I make are satisfactory enough. The word “enough” echoes in my mind every day, causing me to contemplate what more I can do to feel adequate. I since have discovered the answer. I cannot hold myself to unattainable standards and expect to feel fulfilled, because I will consequently always be striving for something just beyond my grasp. I realize it will take time to minimize the strength of my perfectionist tendencies, yet in the process, I will come to know my best is enough and I am enough.

It can be very difficult to find the positive in anxiety when it seems like only a negative weight I carry. Yet, in accepting my anxiety, I have come to see it differently. I used to think my need to be early and have everything just so was burdensome. These are some examples of questions that would fill my mind: In the effort of reducing my worry about being late, am I inconveniencing the person I’m meeting by arriving in advance? Do the expectations I aspire to uphold cause me to unintentionally strain myself or put a strain on others? In time, I have recognized being punctual and striving to do my best are positive attributes. In this light, I am able to see my anxiety encourages me to be a good planner. My family and friends value this organizational trait of mine and I have started to identify its importance, too.

Worry does accompany each step of mine, but worry indicates I care a lot. All of the commitments I make in my life are meaningful to me, especially the relationships I share with my family and friends. Because I care, I worry. I know negative terms exist to describe the feeling of anxiety, such as “worrywart” or being “uptight.” These labels are hurtful and we must not define ourselves in this way. An anxious mind is a beautiful mind, too. As a person with anxiety, I understand it is a battle we fight every day. An invisible battle, yet so real and intense. Just because our struggles are invisible, it does not mean we are. Even when you may not feel like this, always remember you are fighting valiantly and you are never alone.

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Originally published: February 7, 2017
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