Self-Doubt

I recently wrote a post with the question of whether or not I am a toxic person.

Logically, I know that I am trying to be the best person I can be even though it doesn’t always show. What I didn’t know is that my self-doubt would increase tremendously since I lost the friend that forced me to confront this question. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I can understand it and realize that it happened and there’s not much I can do what happened in the past but I didn’t realize that it would follow me for months.

It’s not the first time I’ve been through a loss of some sort. It’s happened before and crushed everything I knew about myself. I remember feeling like I disappeared for a while. I had to really work hard to find myself. I went through therapy and really worked on myself and I became someone I liked and respected. After I entered my 30s, I thought I knew who I was. I had read enough books and really took a look at my life. I found things and people I loved and believed that I had settled into who I was supposed to be. I had accomplished some pretty cool things that I was proud of and moved forward.

There’s been a lot of changes since that point. It’s been almost 8 years since I turned 30. And somehow, I’m back in the middle of a bunch of questions. I have constantly been meeting new people through my kids’ schools and classes and through the dance classes we teach. And through it all, I thought I knew myself and had accepted the fact that not everyone would be my best friend. That was okay. I knew who my tribe was. I knew the strength of the bonds I had formed.

But now, I’m questioning the basic core of myself. Am I someone that people want to be around? Am I someone that my kids like? Am I someone that I can respect?

I have fallen back into the trap of questioning myself after every social engagement. I worry that I said the wrong thing or did something that offended someone. The logical grown-up in me knows that whatever happens happens and it’s okay as long as I tried my best to be a good person but the emotional anxiety in me has risen up immensely.

Do I have to go through the same work again to be comfortable with myself? How do I learn to trust myself again? What if no one ever likes me? (Oh man, that thought makes me feel like a teenager again.) How do I know that this won’t happen with other people?How do I know if I’m disappointing or hurting someone else enough that they will decide to stop being my friend as well?

How do I manage this self-doubt?

 

High Anxiety

Anxiety. It’s one of the most normal and most difficult things to deal with. It can mess with your mind and really affect your overall well-being.

According to the dictionary, anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

I don’t think I recognized how much anxiety I experienced when I was younger. And it got worse as I got older. I’d sit with all of these negative thoughts in my head without a way to move past them.

It’s not just me either. My sisters and I frequently discuss the anxiety we feel on a daily basis. We discuss what is triggering it and how to deal with it. I believe as we get older, we are more aware of the consequences of our actions and the uncertainty that surrounds making the choices we do.

I find that the best way for me to deal with it immediately is to breathe. I need to get rid of the butterflies and nervousness that is sitting in my stomach. Then, I write. I write about what I’m feeling until it’s out of me. Finding a solution sometimes isn’t the goal. The goal is to realize that no matter what I’m feeling that it will work out. Sometimes, we just have to wait out what we are feeling anxious about. If it’s something I can resolve immediately, I work on it but a lot of times, it’s just the fear of the unknown.

We ave to find a way to trust that we will be okay. There will always be a way to figure out how to feel better. It’s just a matter of not succumbing to the emotions at the moment and feeling despair. You have to just realize that the immediate feeling isn’t what you will be feeling for the rest of your life. It will pass. You just need to find a way to navigate through it.

It won’t be easy especially when you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack. Find your support. Find your breath. Find a way to get to the other side of it.

Controlling Your Thoughts

Have you ever had one bad thing happen to you and it made you focus on everything that has gone wrong in your life lately? How about thinking about one thing that scares you and it makes you go into an out of control negative thought spiral?

There are days that I will wake up fine and have a hard time dealing with my kids and then it just seems like nothing goes right. I start thinking of all the things I’m unhappy about and it grows and grows until I’m completely resentful. I think about all the things that used to make me feel good in the past and dwell on that instead of my present.

The crazy thing is that if I just change my point of view to focus on the good instead of the bad or found a better way to deal with the harder things that happened, I wouldn’t go into this downward spiral. That’s not to say that I’m not correct in what I’m feeling. It’s just that there are good, positive things that do happen. I just focus too much on the negative.

It’s hard to control our thoughts. It’s easier to follow our instincts. It’s an uphill battle to continuously think positively. It’s work to recognize the good things, especially because they may be little things. I can easily name 5 things that I don’t like about my life but constantly struggle to name 5 things I love about it.

If I continue to follow this pattern though, it will be hard for me to find happiness. I’ll stay in a constant state of anxiety and disappointment. I will miss the great things that are happening in front of me.

I also do believe that appreciating the good surrounds you with positive energy and it attracts more good stuff. So as much daily work as it is, it is definitely worth trying to stay positive. Recognize and understand anything bad that happens and feel it but don’t dwell on it. Shifting your thinking is a daily mind exercise.

So work on not sending yourself into a downward spiral. Find the good.

Being Direct

For a long time, when I was growing up and even when I became an adult, I just shoved down the way I felt even though I was miserable. I would get angry at the way I was treated by others or sad because of some reason or another and I’d just pretend it wasn’t happening. It would eat at me until I exploded. I’d get so angry that I would yell and scream and insult. It never ended well. I’m pretty sure I lost a few friendships that way. (Although the question remains if we were really good friends to begin with, if one fight could break us.)

Anyways, I finally realized the only way I’d feel better is if I talked about the way I was feeling. Then, it was up to the other person to work it out with me or decide not to be friends with me. It still sucked a lot of the times because usually the problem had arisen due our world views and ideals not aligning and that meant that it would be difficult to remain friends unless we wanted to argue or be annoyed all the time. It was better for both of us to walk away at that point. At least, we maintained our sanity and civility.

As I get closer to 40, I thought that most of the people I knew subscribed to this thought pattern. I realized recently that I was wrong. There are still a few non-confrontational people out there. And somehow, you could be doing something and never know it was happening because no one told you that you were doing it. It’s a difficult way to maintain friendships because it requires you to be perfect all the time.

I learned after having quite a few meltdowns and having a few spectacular blow out fights that it was better to be uncomfortable with someone for a few minutes but have a stronger friendship for it. I’d rather talk to someone about something even though, honestly, I dread it. I get nervous and anxious just thinking about being in that weird zone where we have to talk about our feelings. There’s the possibility that the discussion will end in a fight because you’re both arguing your point of view and no one is really listening. But there’s always the possibility that you both will figure it out and it will make you both better for it. I’ve had practice having these discussions with my husband because it’s impossible to have a happy relationship unless you’re both willing to discuss the important issues and listen honestly without getting defensive. I’ve been in the relationships where it was just attack and defend. Those aren’t any fun, trust me. You have to be able to admit that you might be at fault (even accidentally). Everyone is human. Everyone can make mistakes.

After the last few decades of my life, I also learned that it’s okay if not everyone likes you or even wants to be friends with you. My personal goal is to be honest with myself and and believe that I’m doing the best I can to love myself and to be a good person to everyone I know.

After that, whatever happens, happens.

Get It

I want to be really good at just one thing. I want to be known for at least one thing.

Let me explain to you where this came from. Everyone has their thing. I follow enough people on social media (and honestly, in real life as well, because as we all know, social media is a little bit of a fantasy world) to see who have hobbies or careers where they are living it up well. They have made something they enjoy into something that they can really live for.

I want that. And while people who know me might say that I am also doing that, it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. It could be that time just travels so slow so it’s hard to see things changing as we are going through them. And one day, I’ll wake up and realize that I have been doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. But it’s frustrating right now at this moment.

I constantly tell my kids that they have to learn patience. It seems as though I need to learn it as well.

Do any of you ever have a reaction when you think about what you want to accomplish? Lately, when I think about this one particular dream I’ve had since I was a kid, I get this immediate negative reaction where I can’t even think about it because I start getting anxious. Trying to analyze the feelings makes me anxious as well. It’s like I already want to believe I can’t achieve it. It’s a horrible way to feel. And I give my usual excuses on why I will fail at it. I don’t have enough time right now, I have other priorities, how would I even start, etc.

I want this feeling of accomplishment, like I set out to do this big thing and I did it. I’ve done it before with other dreams so there’s no reason why I can’t do it again.

What are your dreams and/or success stories? What have you accomplished that you’re super proud. Please share and let me live vicariously through you and inspired by you.

Coping

Life is hard sometimes.

I don’t want you to feel like just because you have everything you physically need that it can’t be hard as well. Many of us deal with emotional issues on a daily basis. And it’s just as important. It’s easy to argue with ourselves and list down the positives that we have and therefore, ignoring the things that are difficult for us. I believe that you should definitely acknowledge the positive but instead of ignoring the negative, find a way to deal with them. Find a way to make it better.

Me, I’m constantly struggling to feel my value in this world. My brain can argue with my heart and list 100 different ways I am valuable to many people. But I really need to feel that contentment. I have been diagnosed with depression at least once in my life. I haven’t felt the need to see a therapist again about it but I am aware that I probably am fighting against it constantly.

I cope with this struggle by exercising. Not only does it help me get out from inside my head and heart but it makes me feel good about myself physically. Dance is also a big one for me. Just being able to fall into the music and leave myself for a few hours is really helpful. I’m not thinking about anything except what my body is doing. I’m not really thinking about anything. I’m just feeling.

I have a sister who does a lot of coping by being out in nature. It helps her to deal with whatever she needs to deal with in her life. Whether it’s hiking or traveling, just being outside helps you to realize how much positivity there is in the world. I once did a hike where I had no cell service the entire time. It felt good to disconnect and emotionally recharge.

There are a lot of ways to cope with the emotional anxieties that we face. These are just a couple of examples that work for my family.

I hope you find whatever helps you cope.

Doing Something Nice

The world is a little crazy right now. Okay, let’s be honest. A lot crazy.

It’s enough to give anyone anxiety.

Between that and trying to figure out how to live our own lives in this craziness, it’s easy to worry about yourself quite a bit and forget that we live in a collective world that it’s nice to connect to. So much so that we forget that sometimes the best way to stop worrying is to do something nice for someone else.

The world could use more kindness right now. And we all could use some relief from the stresses that have been popping up.

I can’t remember the last time I did something nice for someone else. I’ve been pretty immersed in my own life. I do know that whenever I have put someone else first, I feel better about the world that we live in today. There is nothing like kindness to help reconnect us. We are able to relate to someone else even if we don’t know them. I know that when I start having intense anxiety about the way people seem to treat each other or have opinions that I don’t agree with, the best solution for me is to go out into the world. As soon as you feel others being kind towards you, it is enough to reassure that most people are still grounded and are just trying to live their daily lives as you are.

Think about how it makes you feel when someone does something nice for you when you least expect it.

Now, with that thought in your head, go out there and do something kind for someone else.