I know several people with anxiety, had it myself several times in my life. It is so horrible it is boring; convinced of one’s own awfulness, the past and the future combine to create a huge horrible vista where every past mistake is evidence of my terrible nature, and the future is a huge horrible mistake waiting to happen. Run! Hide! Your disgusting face and your pathetic nature is going to make you create the same mistakes over and over! The future is a nightmare! Run! See illustration;
“I must change everything because I am horrible; I am horrible, see my past; my past is horrible, so my future will be too; I must change everything.”
So what does a person do when they think so lowly about themselves? Some are obliged for various reasons to have to live with themselves. They must go on, and just learn to ignore or manage those terrible feelings that say they are so awful, they must not go on. The road can seem rather dreadful when cursed with these feelings, so much so that a radical shake up in how you think can be necessary.
Firstly, and this may seem perverse, remember that life is finite. If it is to be horrible, remember that no matter what, in a hundred years the burden will be lifted. No plea to your nature, no higher power can remove that fact from reality; one day, it will be all over. Rejoice!
Secondly, you can be fairly certain that you are going to bed tonight alive, and getting up the next morning alive. It is fairly likely that you will not be losing your life today. Sure, there can be big surprises in life that come without warning, but nevertheless, bar comets, car crashes, or medical diagnosis, today you will have. So yes, for the next twenty -four hours you are going to have to have a set of facts that won’t change. This life, and this body and brain are what you are going to have to work with over the next twenty four hours. So this is what we have to deal with. And it leads us to some questions;
This is as smart, as pretty, and as clever as you are going to get today. This is you, as good as you are and as bad as you are. This, today, is your reality. What are you going to do, today? Are you going to add to the sum of the world’s problems? Fill the air with negativity and sorrow? Make others feel bad, sad and upset? Think of yourself, and only of yourself? Or are you going to do something else? Put it another way;
what goodness can I create, even if I myself am not good? What kindness can I do, even if I am not kind to myself? What wisdom can I follow, even if I know I am not wise?* How do I make others feel, even when I cannot control how I feel about myself? What beauty can I seek out, even if I do not find any beauty in myself?
At the very least, I can go to bed making the world better, even if I think I myself am not. And when a person sets themselves the concrete task of making the world better, it is rather remarkable how many possibilities can be seen.
*Socrates had something to say on this point, but that’s another blog.