In a conversation today with a friend, we landed on the subject of intense anxiety – that fear that boils up when we over-analyze the past and the fear that gets in our way when we have a situation to face.
My friend often finds herself feeling guilty for things long over and likely, not even worth the guilt in the first place.
I find that I have trouble taking action on things that are bound to go well, if I can only manage to pull a Nike and “Just Do It.”
Of course, we both experience these things, and many other instances of self-doubt and insecurity.
My friend’s daughter is a teenager who experiences a level of self-consciousness that brings here to tears when faced with a situation that makes her feel like the focal point of someone else’s attention.
In a weird point of “I can relate,” I have this memory of being in the third grade, during show-and-tell. One of the other kids brought in their pet cat and everyone got to pet the cat until sharing time was over… and it hadn’t yet been my turn. I wanted to pet the cat so badly! I didn’t have furry pets at home. But I was so embarrassed about how upset I was at not getting a turn, I couldn’t ask to pet the cat because I was trying so hard not to cry.
I don’t remember what happened, or who noticed, but I do remember someone giving me the cat… and if I think about it too hard, I can still feel a crazy mix of complete relief that I got to pet the soft fur, and rib-clenching tears at the embarrassment of how stupid I thought the other kids probably thought I was for caring that much.
I have spent many, many years actively working on my self-confidence. I am a perfectionist in many ways and I often assume that other people are tearing me apart at least as bad as I am tearing myself apart.
Maybe, sometimes, they are.
But more likely, people are much more focused on themselves then they are on me.
There are people in my life who make me feel like, it’s possible, that no one who really knows me well actually likes me.
There are also people in my life who make me believe that I am more or less a decent person, if not even kinda awesome.
My own opinion of myself varies quite a bit across the spectrum on any given day.
When it comes down to getting stuff done, like calling a stranger on the phone or asking for help when I feel like a complete idiot for doing so, I do my best to summon my inner gymnast, from the days of back walkovers on the beam. I never accomplished a beam back walkover without first experiencing a mini-heart attack and conviction that I couldn’t do it. But then, I would take a big breath, visualize my hands solidly on the beam behind me, and slip a mental block between myself and the next thought.
Don’t think about it…. just Do It.
At any rate, I still struggle with days when I don’t like me. I’ve done stupid things. I’m too convinced I’m right about certain things. I’m impatient. I’m stubborn. And/or…. whatever other self-criticisms pop up on any particular day.
I wonder where I fall on the scale, between self-love and self-hate? Do other people struggle this much? Have other people figured out how to navigate toward positive thinking on a more regular basis?
How do I accomplish self-love on a more consistent basis?
How do I help other people accomplish self-love on a more consistent basis?
What do you do to encourage your own amazing, bad-ass, beautiful, wonderful self that you are, in fact, downright, truly, for real, downright, damn incredible??