Sunday, January 18, 2009

Being ok

My counselor has an interesting theory on why I have so much anxiety in my life: It boils down to not being ok with myself—and all the "imperfections" and "flaws" that make me, well, me!

I know I don't value myself. I don't abuse my body with alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, but I do abuse my mind and spirit with negative thinking. For too long I've defined my self-concept on how I perceive others view me and, being an anxious person, I always assume the worse. Although I'm 30 years old, I've never become comfortable in my own skin, and I've focused on having the perfect home, the perfect body, the perfect job so that others would approve of me.

So no wonder I'm anxious! Too much of my life has been spent focusing on what others think of me (actually, what I think they think!). My internal "critical" voice has become too strong at the expense of my "nurturing" voice.

My counselor believes my anxieties and obsessions at any given time are just the latest flashpoints reflective of a deeper internal struggle to accept and love myself. It admittedly sounds kinda airy fairy, but it makes sense. If I pay more attention to my nurturing voice, find time for me to relax, make myself and mental health the real priorities, and not worry about what I think other people are thinking, my anxiety should decrease.

This is a deep concept, and I hope this post makes some sense. Could overcoming anxiety be as simple—but difficult—as truly feeling OK, authentically believing I am a valuable, worthy, lovable, good person?

4 comments:

Madison Rose said...

Interesting post. I had terribly low self esteem throughout my teens, but I'm a lot better now.

How? I got out of a bad relationship, went to University, moved to a different area, learned new things and new people skills. I was brave, and did things that scared me. I think leaving my partner was the scariest thing I've ever done, and it required a lot of strength.

I remember to focus on the positive things - "I went out to a party even though it scared me" and not "at that party I failed to talk to many people"
I think part of my recovery from depression and low self-esteem was luck, too.

It's been a 5 year journey, and it's not over yet.

Good luck, keep at it!

Robert said...

"Could overcoming anxiety be as simple—but difficult—as truly feeling OK, authentically believing I am a valuable, worthy, lovable, good person?"

Answer - No

But liking yourself is a great start! Then you can work on your "bad" habits.

Most entertainers have low self-esteem - what other job could you do where you get applauded EVERY time you do your job well? I was just such an entertainer. It took me DECADES to learn to accept myself the way I am. I wish I had started to like myself many years earlier - I would have had a much better life!

If you aren't already, become a caring person. Every time you help someone, you'll feel good about it. Learn to smile all the time - it really DOES make you feel better - and people will find you more attractive too! Looks and money and power and ability do NOT make people popular. A happy-looking kind person is the kind of person everyone wants to be with. You can be that person!

Best wishes.

Crystal said...

This line hit home for me:

"focusing on what others think of me (actually, what I think they think!)"

D said...

Thanks, everybody, for your thoughts! Robert, you're right: I need to smile more. I have been working on that :) And Madison, thanks for your story. I need to take more "risks"!