From experience - goals, dreams and opportunities, have passed me by because I was simply too scared to put anxiety aside and do it anyway! I didn’t know how. What people thought of me was important. Too important. How I’d look to other people if I messed up or failed to reach my goals was too important. I’d pass up opportunities incase they didn’t go to plan or just incase I didn’t like or enjoy or feel comfortable with whatever it was. The element of ‘what if’ is the centre of ones anxious world. Catastrophising goes hand in hand!
“What if something bad happens.. and then if that something happened then something else could happen because that bad thing happened and then the world would implode and we’d all die in a massive explosion and I wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye to my family or my kids and...........!” *hyperventilating*
Relate? The thing is, anxiety creates thoughts. Those thoughts can be intrusive, irrational, disruptive and downright scary! But they are just thoughts. They are worse case scenario, that, in all probability will never happen. These types of thoughts were literally the bane of my life. They sucked so much happiness from my soul. So much so, that I completely surrendered to them and let myself believe that if I did that one thing that I really wanted to do, or said that one thing that I really wanted to say, the consequences would have been massive in a worst case scenario type of way! This is simply not true. Anxiety will have us believe anything it wants us to believe. I have learnt over the years to accept that rejection can happen in all sorts of situations. People might not like my ideas. The plans I make might not materialise. The friends I thought I had might not turn out to be friends at all. I might take on a shit load of no’s before I get a yes. That applies to everything we try. Hell, some people might not like or agree with this blog! What is worse than the worst case scenario that ANXIETY conjures up in our brains, is NOT trying in the first place. Because as human beings trying to get on with and enjoy our lives, we will never ever get to know the outcome if we relinquish into our own anxious thoughts. It is not easy. It takes an unwavering determination and requires a lot of discipline and throwing caution to the wind to get to that place. Two years ago I did something I never thought I’d do. I acted. Yep. As in, a thespian! On stage! Only a small part in an am dram theatre and I was so nervous and anxious that I thought I’d pull out! I made the decision not to. I felt ridiculous in my Oberleutnant Von Gerhardt (Black Adder) get up! I had a couple of lines and I was anxious as hell!! To the rest of the cast, it may not have been noticeable but I was crippled inside! But I did it! I said those lines 3 nights in a row and the ecstasy I felt was indescribable! I loved it!
'Take THAT anxiety!!' Fast forward a few months and I went for a lead part in the Addams Family production. I was cast as Morticia Addams.
Me?! How the heck was I supposed to learn and remember all those lines and sing 2 solo’s, even more group numbers countless dance moves and perform them infront of an audience?! But Black Adder gave me the bug. I was so happy to be given and trusted with the part of the iconic Morticia Addams and to be doing it with such great people was comforting. Sure it wasn't exactly the West End but the thought of letting the team down made me more anxious than if I was to quit! Plus, I knew in my heart I could do this.
(Fun fact - I was referred to as Wednesday Addams at school because of my long dark hair, pale skin and naturally.. ahem.. resting bitch face!) Anyway, anxiety heightened. I tried not to show it but I’m sure it came through from time to time. I wanted to do it justice and I craved the buzz of the first time. I did it! I actually did it. And it was one of the most memorable experiences. So, you see.. regardless of what anxiety tells you, it’s lying. You can outshine it if you make the decision to.
Tell yourself over and over that if you don’t try, you will never know. Heck, you might even kick yourself for not trying.
Do not believe those catastrophising thoughts that anxiety will try to plague you with. They are simply thoughts. That’s all.
Keep pushing through. Whatever it is you want to do or achieve, anxiety can not be the winner here. It is your life. And you are the boss.
Celebrate when you manage to kick ass and achieve what you set out to do. No matter how small, your victories deserve your own recognition. Even better if other people notice but your acknowledgement of your own accomplishments is the most important.
Do it again. Over and over. Until anxiety gets the message that you own it, not the other way round.
Whatever it is that makes you beam with excitement, that scares you, that makes you question your ability, just do it anyway. Because that anxiety you felt will be replaced with a determination you perhaps never knew you had.
And remember to live in the moment.. because you can never get it back.
You can do it. You absolutely can. I have faith in you. You’ve got this. Love as always
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