It’s really easy for me to tell someone that I “couldn’t care less” about whatever their problem is- especially when they’ve got a problem with me. It’s even easier for me to brag to other people about how resilient and “thick-skinned” I am. Yet, my anxiety at its core has always been the exact opposite. I’m like a fruit or vegetable with a hard outer shell, but the inside is as mushy as melted ice-cream. Anxiety makes me vulnerable. It whispers into my ear that something is wrong and someone is out to get me. However, in my recent quest to overcome anxiety once and for all, I’ve learned a weapon that can be used against it- the art of not giving a single damn.
“Darn” doesn’t convey the message I’m trying to send out to my readers. Nor does “crap”. I’m not censoring this because you won’t fully understand me if I do. The problem with anxiety is that it always leaves me feeling concerned about the unknown. Well I’ve got news to share with you all; you can’t worry about the unknown if you don’t care about the unknown.
If I’m making it sound easy, then I apologize for the miscommunication. This is a skill that I’ve been working on for some time now- months. Here’s how it works: I say something to someone, or do something around them, and I am plagued with negative thoughts about how they might feel about me (soon) afterwards.
“He probably hates you now.” “This is why you can’t make friends.” “You looked incredibly stupid when you did that.” “That text you sent probably offended them.”
Anxiety comes creeping in, doing its normal routine of trying to convince me that something that I can not change is horrendously wrong. In the past, I would marinate on the thoughts. I’d be extra friendly to the person I’m worried about offending, to make up for my wrong doing. I might even just sit in my room, feeling bad about the woman I’ve become. But now, I’ve got a different routine;
“You looked incredibly stupid when you did that.” Oh well. Can’t change it now. Plus I know people who have done much worse! NEXT!
“That text probably offended them.” Well then they shouldn’t be so damn sensitive. NEXT!
“That person probably heard what you said or heard about it and now they hate you.” Well, first of all, it sounds like they’re obsessed with me. Second, they’re not the first or last person who I’ll end up accidentally offending. Third, they need to get the hell over it- if they even actually care. NEEEEXT!
Challenging negative thoughts is hard, but I’ve found that redirecting my frustration to the negative thoughts makes it easier. Why be mad at myself or someone else, when I can be mad at the evil spirit trying to ruin my life! And yes, sometimes my nonchalant attitude could come off as me not caring about anything. That’s why it takes practice. Learning when anxiety is appropriate and when it is not. Anyway, if you’re like me, you probably need to start putting yourself first and acting a little selfish anyway.
I encourage you to try doing the same if anxiety is plaguing you. Take your life back, NOW!