“It was a warm, summer morning this August. The kind of morning where the sun is just right, and immediately warms your entire body with its presence. The amount of light created was incredible. It brought a sense of empowerment.
I had woken up that morning, initially, feeling quite on edge. My anxiety had been getting the best of me for about a week or so. My sleeping patterns were back at a rocky point where I was waking up way too many times for comfort. Exercise wasn’t helping me anymore. I was super hard on myself… particularly critical of my body, my figure. I struggled with my thoughts. I shut my positive thoughts down the drain. The lack of control I had — over anything in my life — was getting to me. I had nothing going on, as I still had about a month until school started back up. I had been debating in my head, for a while, about what I needed to do next to shake myself from the all familiar, heavy feeling accompanied with generalized anxiety disorder, and that awful lack of control.
But then, I just ‘woke up.’
I really don’t know what happened. I think it was because I had a conversation with a friend of mine that day, but honestly, I’m not entirely sure where this intense, urgent feeling of freedom came from. Somehow, the conversation led to relationships and talking about self-worth. We were just having a typical, texting conversation. But, I really absorbed what was being said in the conversation. Midway through, I suddenly felt a random moment of empowerment.
You know what? I AM worth more than I give myself credit for. My feelings SHOULD be acknowledged. Relationships SHOULD be an equal balance, and I DESERVE to be comfortable talking about my feelings. The things my friends and family have been saying for years, started to mean something big in that moment. All of this sounds like common sense… especially for somebody like me, whose FULL-TIME JOB is to be an effective communicator. Right?!
To people with anxiety like I have, communicating what is going on in your head is SO difficult… mainly because 9 times out of 10, I have no idea how to even fathom my own thoughts. The owner of the brain, literally the ONLY person listening to it, and I can’t remotely manage what the dang organ is trying to communicate to me most days. If I can’t read my own mind, how am I supposed to expect somebody else to be able to read it? And how am I to expect to have balance with somebody when I have no idea how to process my own self? How am I supposed to be an effective communicator? How am I ever going to be a strong person if I can’t figure out how to voice what’s happening in my mind?
As ridiculous as I sound, I think the fact I was outside walking on my own later that morning, with the sun absorbing just right, helped me FINALLY have some sort of epiphany life is too short to wallow. The physical movement and mental processing just aligned somehow. Why was I acting SO ridiculous? I’m literally creating my own problems (thanks anxiety) and allowing myself to live my life that way. Beating myself down wasn’t going to help anybody or anything. Why was I doing that?
Sure, maybe I don’t always love my communication skills. Maybe I still want to work on my body, and how out of shape I am these days. Maybe I do have criticism of my figure, or my ability to TRULY put myself first during tough times. Maybe I do put WAY too much effort into other people, and I forget about myself. I hide my feelings sometimes. But you know what? I don’t let those negative thoughts consume me anymore. We’re all flawed.
After 25+ years, my entire body and mind just decided, enough is enough. It quit in a way. I kinda just snapped out of my funk and was like, ‘This is getting old. We’re done here. Goodbye. I’m done with this dreadfulness. I’m done feeling heavy, negative, like I’m just trudging through life accepting the fact I suck at prioritizing myself.’
Up until now.
Ever since that random moment in August, I have vowed to myself I would continue to work on who I am as a person. For myself. I’ve tried this same thing in the past, but never because of a moment like this. Some days, I slip and I neglect thoughts. I put myself down. Everybody does. But, I have started to figure out what I need as a person, what I deserve, what I want to feel. And I’ve begun prioritizing my needs and cutting things and people from my life who don’t need to be there. And let me tell you… SO EMPOWERING.
Again, this all sounds easy peasy lemon squeezy to most people. This has never been something easy for me. I’m a people pleaser. I want other people to be happy. I want to help people understand their own thoughts, because it makes me feel good to FINALLY feel like I understand a way of thinking. I’m good at helping other people. But what good is that going to be in the long run, when I don’t put enough effort into myself? If I don’t allow myself to feel like I DESERVE the same thing? I DO deserve to understand and talk out my issues and process. But these things are not easy to do alone. And I can’t expect people to help me when I don’t help myself first. I also can’t expect to know how people are going to respond to me if I don’t even give them a chance to answer me.
You see, life is WAY too short. You can sit and be sad and upset and scared and anxious and ALLLLL the negative emotions in the world. OR, you can make decisions for yourself that you don’t want to feel those things. And do anything and everything you can to make yourself believe that. It may take time for your brain to listen to you, but guys, it gets better. Really. The hard work and effort for the positivity in your own head (which you deserve!) pays off.
And who knows, maybe the right people actually WANT to help you. How do you know what other people can do for you until you try? I’ve learned that one after talking with my friends and family more this year. Your thoughts are never ridiculous — they are valid. You don’t know what other people are going to do or say until you ACTUALLY communicate.
A fulfilled life and successful relationships are (I think anyways) positive correlations. The more people in your circle who bring you up, the more likely you are to want to bring yourself up. The more you allow people to know about you, the more you learn, the more you grow, and the more opportunity you have to allow people to help you. The more trusting you are with your friends, family, boyfriend or girlfriend, the more they are going to care about you and help you through moments. And who knows, maybe your drive to ask for help might fuel him or her to ask for help too, from you. Which is ALWAYS a good feeling.
So, I hope for all of you reading this, all of you who may be at a stand still, that you experience something like this. A moment where the sun hits you just perfectly and your entire body warms up. A moment when your entire body, mind, and limbs, work together to inform you enough is enough. You are better than this. And, you finally let yourself REALIZE it. With that, I thank all the people in my life for helping me get here. Life has been SO much better realizing I am worth more than I’ve been through.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenni Rathsack. It originally appeared on her blog. You can follow Jenni on Facebook and Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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