Anxiety is a heavy weight to tote around on your shoulders. It follows you everywhere. It’s there when you are trying to fall asleep at night and it’s still there when you open your eyes in the morning. It’s in the car while you drive to work, on the couch beside you after dinner, it’s even there when you are having the time of your life surrounded by people you love. You are not alone when it comes to this internal battle. So many of us are making our way through life with this same weight on our shoulders, and it’s not easy for anyone.
Varying degrees and severity of anxiety surround everyone you meet. You can’t go anywhere without finding someone else who shares the struggle of it, which is probably why we hear about it so much these days. The truth is that life has extra layers of difficulty when your anxiety is high. However, while we look at ways to ease the strain, we have to remember to not use our anxiety as a mask. We cannot hide behind it or use it against other people. It’s important to remember that your anxiety is not an excuse for these four things.
1. Your anxiety is not an excuse for being an asshole to other people
Now, don’t get me wrong, we all know how anxiety works on our nerves. A lot of people express anxiety through frustration and aggression. Have you ever been in a crowded place and felt your anxiety start to peak? Did you start to feel like everything and everyone around you was beyond irritating and all you wanted to do was look for an exit? If so, I get it. I’ve felt that same way. Sometimes we act aggressively because our brain is sending us those signals as a fight or flight response or we simply feel frustrated at ourselves for not being able to control our anxiousness. It’s absolutely aggravating, and sometimes these moments bring out the worst in us, a version of ourselves that normally doesn’t exist.
While all of that may be true, your anxiety is absolutely not an excuse to be cruel, hateful or abusive towards the people around you. It’s not okay to mistreat the ones you love and pass it off on your anxiety. If we truly love people and want to be the best version of ourselves, that calls for us to create healthy coping mechanisms rather than taking out our frustrations on others. We have to read ourselves and dig deep. Decide in those moments, do I need to walk away for a minute? Am I directing my anger in the right direction? Pay attention to yourself and relearn how to handle yourself in those moments.
It’s better to do some honest self-reflection than to hurt the people we love over and over again. We can’t let anxiety turn us into a monster who leaves a path of destruction behind everywhere we go.
2. Your anxiety is not an excuse for remaining stagnant
If your anxiety makes it hard to attain your goals and make progress in life, you’re not alone. There are lots of valid reasons to fear taking big steps. We worry about rejection, failure, or simply biting off more than we can chew and feeling like we made a big mistake. It can feel like anxiety is always on your shoulder, putting those “what if’s” in your brain.
At the end of the day, life requires all of us to take those steps forward regardless of the fear we feel. No one has ever created the life they wanted by sticking back and letting everyone else direct their futures. Part of dealing with your anxiety means that you absolutely have to find ways to press on despite your anxious thoughts. You have to find a place to put your anxiety and progress towards your goals anyway. You may say that it is easier said than done, and you’re not wrong. It won’t be easy, and it will be scary at times, but it’s important to push past it in baby steps. If you want that promotion, you have to go for it. If you need to leave a negative situation, you have to make those moves. If you want to feel better about yourself, you have to take the steps to get there.
Who says your anxiety gets to dictate where you stay for the rest of your life? Don’t let it hold you back from making progress. Take the leaps when you can and make the baby steps when you need to, but under no circumstances can you let your anxiety crush you down into a life that you will never be happy with.
3. Your anxiety is not an excuse to neglect your mental health
Anxiety, depression, and similar mental health struggles can make it incredibly difficult to keep yourself in a good place at all times. There will be days when you don’t feel like you are doing your best and even some days where you don’t feel like doing anything at all. With all that in mind, know that many of us understand. We know how hard it is to work on yourself while battling mental illness, and you have to show yourself as much compassion as possible while navigating it.
Despite that, it is not an excuse to neglect your mental health and allow yourself to spiral downwards. Anxiety can make it harder to make progress with your mental health, but allowing it to completely overtake you would be incredibly detrimental to your mind and quality of life. You have to find your strength and fight back against those difficult days, even when it’s the last thing you want to do. No one is going to have your back more than yourself. So, it is extremely important to fight for yourself and take those steps towards a healthier you. You absolutely cannot give up or put yourself on the back burner, because your life literally depends on it. Do not let anxiety rob you of the life you deserve to live.
4. Your anxiety is not an excuse to expect the world to hide your triggers
As much as you hate coming face to face with the things that trigger your anxiety, it is not the world’s job to tiptoe around you. It is impossible to hide those triggers from yourself at all times. At some point or another, you will have to confront them. This fact calls for self-responsibility on our parts. We have to be accountable for ourselves and practice healthy ways to cope with these fears rather than expecting everyone else to make them disappear.
There is no perfect world to live in that will be completely comfortable and anxiety-free every day of our lives. It’s important to move forward with the expectation that there will be hard days and you will face unpleasant situations from time to time, but that does not take away from all the good things coming your way. Don’t hide from the things that intimidate you, because anxiety does not own you. You are the only one who owns your life, and nothing and no one can take that away.