Yesterday I laid on the roof and watched the planes fly overhead, and I wondered lazily about the people inside them: Where were they going? What were they thinking? Were they looking out the window, down at the rooftops, and could they see the little speck that was me?
Sometimes I feel like my problems and anxieties are so overwhelming, that no matter what someone will be judging me. When I go out in public, I feel like I’m not supposed to be there – I’m not fit to be seen by anyone because I look so bad. I feel as though everyone is automatically judging me; I project my insecurities onto them, assume what they must be thinking about me, and then react accordingly – in a way, I’m creating my own self-fulfilling prophecy. If I act on the defensive people probably won’t like me, so I’m spared a modicum of misery through the security and comfort of already assuming the worst. (It makes sense in a sad, roundabout sort of way.)
But other people – the people in the airplanes, the people here on the ground – have a lot on their minds, too much to really care about my stomach, my arms, my legs. They’re thinking about what to make for dinner, a conversation they just had, whether or not they left the stove on.. and if they are thinking about my body, then so what? Really, so what? It’s my body and my life to live. All that matters to me – all that should matter – is that I’m happy with myself.
I’m still struggling with body image and social anxieties, but I’m working on them with my individual therapist in treatment. I think it’s getting a little better. Every time I catch myself thinking a negative thought, I try to challenge it with a positive one. I’m trying to walk a little taller, look the world in the eyes instead of just staring at the ground. I deserve to be here, I deserve to go outside and enjoy myself. It doesn’t matter what my mind tells me right now because it’s wrong, it’s not thinking clearly, and the only way to change it is to use opposite action (doing the opposite of what your emotions dictate). Confidence and self-esteem don’t grow overnight, but I think some sprouts are beginning to shoot up here and there.
What do you do to challenge your anxieties?