My anxiety stops me from going after what I want. It convinces me to stay in my own lane. To hope that other people will magically know what I need and give it to me, because I’m too afraid to open my mouth and ask.
It doesn’t matter how big or small that thing may be. I might be afraid to ask my boss for a break when he forgets to find someone to cover for me. I might be afraid to ask an Uber driver to turn down the AC in the car. I might be afraid to ask my friend for food when I’m stuck at their house and dying of hunger.
No matter what the situation is, no matter how uncomfortable I become, I still don’t ask for what I want, because I don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want to make things awkward. I don’t want to end up embarrassing myself somehow.
It doesn’t matter if I’m asking for a favor face-to-face, over text, or over an email. The second I hit the send button, my heart thumps hard. My hands shake from wrists to fingertips. I have to fight the urge to vomit from the nerves.
So instead of going after what I want, I do the easy thing. I do the comfortable thing. I keep quiet.
My anxiety makes me settle for less than I deserve in relationships. In friendships. In my career. In my family life. In every aspect of my life.
I deserve a partner who texts me back fast and never cancels on me, a family who listens when I speak and regards me with respect, friends who invite me to hang out and actually keep in touch — but I would never dream of telling someone that they haven’t been treating me well enough. I would never stick up for myself.
My anxiety makes me look like a pushover. It makes it seem like I’m okay with the poor treatment I receive.
And if I actually find the courage to speak out about what I want, I do it in the most timid way possible. I never give orders. I ask people so politely that they think it’s an option. They think it’s okay if they tell me no when I was really trying to demand a yes.
My anxiety makes me settle for a mediocre life — even though I want so much more than that.
I want to be able to stand up for myself. To fight for what I deserve. To make other people see that I’m worth their time and effort.
I want to move forward in life, but my anxiety holds me in place. It tricks me into believing that I have no value.
It tells me to avoid asking out that boy, because he probably doesn’t like me anyway. It tells me to put off talking to my boss, because maybe I don’t deserve that promotion after all. It convinces me not to text my friends, because if they wanted to talk to me, they would have initiated the conversation.
My anxiety has mind washed me into settling for less than I deserve. Into believing this is the best it’s ever going to get.