You let your anxiety win by convincing yourself there is no way out. I understand what it feels like to have the walls closing in on you, believe me, I know the feeling of being trapped. When we feel helpless and vulnerable, we assume that the worst will come true. Let me ask you this. What if your fears do come true? What if you lose your limbs suddenly, your house burns down in an unfortunate accident, the financial system collapses, and technology replaces your job. What happens then? Let me tell you what will happen. You will not only survive, but you will thrive. You may be made up of the mundane ordinariness of blood and bones, but you are also made up of the extraordinariness of boundless imagination and abundant creativity. Trust that you’ll find a way out because you will.
You let your anxiety win by undermining your resilience. You are so much stronger than you realize. You may be tired, you may be exhausted, but you’re still here. Your iris still focuses so that you can see clearly, your lungs still grasp for air so that you can breathe, your brain still strives to find a solution to your problems, your hands and feet still move to get you what you want, your heart still beats consistently so that you can live. Yet here you are wasting your tears, when you could be watching something that could change your life. Here you are wasting your heart, when you could be loving someone deeply and passionately. Here you are wasting away your limbs, when they could be actively working towards getting you wherever you need to be. You weren’t meant to waste your life because you weren’t built to be a quitter.
You let your anxiety win by letting it paralyze you. Weeks turn into months and months into years. We’re right back where we started because all we ever did was stay in our comfort zone and complain as life passed us by. ‘But I’m not ready yet, it’s too soon,’ we exclaim. You will never be ready and there will never be a better time. Tell them you love them and commit to loving them. Draft a resume for your dream job and find out how to acquire those skills. Write a poem that moves your soul. Adopt that stray kitten. Learn how to play the electric guitar or how to strum an acoustic. Move to a different country and immerse yourself in a new culture or move back to your roots and rediscover yourself. Climb that mountain and tell me how wonderful the view was from the top. Do it, do it, do it, and the best time is now.
You let your anxiety win by fueling it. There will be many voices in your head, and some will be fearful, hurtful, mean, and provoking. These are living reminders of the people who didn’t believe in you, who abused you, neglected you and walked away. They will play on and on like a stuck record, but there will also be another voice singing a different tune. This is the voice that has helped you in the past through a failure, a loss, a fight, a break-up, and a difficult circumstance. This is the voice at the back of your head that still believes you are truly capable and competent. This is the voice that is your biggest cheerleader begging for your attention. Please, I hope that you find the time to listen to your true voice amidst all that noise. Give yourself time.
You let your anxiety win by being selfish. What is it with our need to be so obsessed with our problems, that we forget to count our blessings? Strive to be grateful for every little good thing in your life because trust me when I say you will always have more than someone else. What is it with our need to be loved to cure our desperate loneliness or to be reminded that we are worthy? Strive for the kind of love that teaches you empathy and compassion, the kind of love that brings you peace and joy, the kind of love that makes you a better person. What is with our need to work a job to live beyond our means and buy things to impress other people? Strive for the kind of work that fulfills you and brings deeper meaning to your life, be it saving the world or providing for your family.
You let your anxiety win by living in the past and future. You’re stuck on an unstoppable hamster wheel and can’t get off the wild ride. You’re drowning and flailing and rapidly spiraling. You’re tolerating every negative thought and every bad feeling that touches your consciousness. Declutter the toxic wasteland of your brain that is built on the foundation of your mistakes, failures, and every unkind thing that somebody said or did to you. Ignore draining people or circumstances who remind you of everything that can go wrong, and refocus on everything that can go right. Revisit your past memories, learn from them, and then leave them behind as you work on your present and build your future.
You let your anxiety win by giving away your power. You learned how to walk your very first steps, you learned how to speak new syllables, you learned how to feed and clean your body, and you did it yourself. You can learn how to be better than your anxiety, and you can do it yourself. Your younger self is counting on you and your older self will thank you. I am counting on you because I know how terrible it feels to live in a dark place, and how liberating it feels to overcome it. The world is counting on you because when you learn to deal with your own problems, then you can help someone else with theirs. Your dormant creativity is counting on you to discover its immense potential and achieve your dreams that are waiting to be fulfilled.