Updated: Apr 13, 2020
This is a phrase I have heard over and over again! From the people I love and who love me, and from people who only know snippets of me! The difference between these two categories of people is that I interpret this phrase in two different ways.
Coming from the people I love and who love me and know me, I mean properly know me, I take this piece of advice as a loving and gentle reminder that I really shouldn't be so hard on myself. And that's OK. Because I know they mean it with the best intentions. And most of the time I'd agree and see it as a motivational and constructive criticism.
In contrast, said phrase coming from someone who doesn't know me properly, especially those who haven't took the time to understand and know the true essence of me, what I stand for, how certain things affect me and refuse to even try to understand anxiety and how it can manifest - this phrase is not taken as it may or may not have been intended.
This is a problem for people with anxiety. Because hearing "you are your own worst enemy" from someone who does not understand you, your story, your cognitive behaviours or how you perceive yourself, only exacerbates your anxiety. This is not to say that we want to be treated as delicate little flowers, or have people tread on eggshells around us! God, no! That'd make us feel worse! All we require is those who do love us to be kind to us! And those who don't know us to mind their own business! That sounds harsh but its true!
So, to those who don't know us, to those who do not understand anxiety, to those who do not want to understand - we need you to either educate or do not comment. You see, we are simple yet complicated beings. And yes, it is entirely possible to be both! We want to be anxiety free. Nobody chooses it. It chooses us!
So what can we do to make sure that we don't let this phrase play on our minds?
Acknowledge it as though it has come from someone you love. Because the alternative is to deal with unneeded and unnecessary trauma. I would say ignore it but knowing what I know, that would be virtually impossible.
Listen up from someone who knows. You are your own worst enemy sometimes. But that is part of your illness. I get you! Even people without anxiety have moments when they too are their own worst enemy. It is just amplified in anxiety sufferers. So as long as we know that and start on the journey to becoming anxiety free, we can cut ourselves some slack! And as for those who aren't clued up on tis subject, well, they can't really be to blame. If they've never suffered, then they have no reason to understand. (That said, I have had that phrase directed at me by fellow anxiety sufferers which is infuriating! They should know better!)
I guess the message from this post is to not beat yourself up. We know we can be our own worst enemies - but we're trying not to be. And that's what matters.
Much love to ya!