There are going to be times when you are misunderstood— and it won’t be your fault. 

There are going to be times when you’re unappreciated— and it’s not your fault. 

There are going to be times when others misplace their motions on to you— and it’s not your fault. 

But you’re still going to feel bad about it. 

Your brain is still going to try to make it SEEM like it sure is your fault— especially if the other person or people involved are convinced it is your fault. 

Many of us are highly sensitive to the words, actions, and reactions of others. 

Many of us have had to get used to walking on eggshells around other people— especially when we’ve had to deal with emotionally reactive people for years growing up. 

When we go for years with our central nervous system on high alert, it can’t help but affect the way we look at, experience, and deal with the world. 

That’s when our anxiety starts to become chronic as opposed to situational. 

That’s when we start feeling exhausted by the end of every day, because we’ve gotten used to having to essentially defend ourselves against threats real and imagined. 

Chronic anxiety is miserable. 

Especially when we’ve tried so hard to be on good terms with everyone. 

Many people have had the experience of becoming extreme people pleasers— they go through life doing and saying those things they think will cause the least amount of confrontation and conflict, because in their experience confrontation and conflict are terrifying and draining. 

Eventually it can get to a point where we feel like we are nothing more than our anxiety. 

It kind of becomes our identifying personality characteristic. 

We forget who we were before the anxiety— because we can’t actually remember a time when we weren’t loaded down with it. 

Managing the anxiety becomes the major project on our plate every day— so much so that we don’t have the energy for any other projects or hobbies. 

And, predictably, a life without projects or hobbies that are meaningful to us quickly spirals into a miserable existence. 

We need to remember that we ARE more than this anxiety we feel. 

We need to remember— or maybe learn in the first place— that we are more than other peoples’ expectations of us or reactions to us. 
Our lives might have been defined by our attempts to manage other peoples’ emotions and reactions and behavior toward us…but we need to remember that, in the end, we simply cannot control how others feel about us or how they behave toward us. Not completely, anyway. 

Accepting that is rough. 

Trying to define who we are, separate from our anxiety, is not easy. 

Doing so almost invites a whole new type of anxiety- worry that, if we let the other anxiety go, we’ll soon find ourselves in a vulnerable position. 

We need to let anxiety go in our own time, on our own terms. 

We need to be compassionate and patient with ourselves— even if that’s a foreign concept to us. 

And we need to keep in mind that all we can do is what we can do. No more; but no less. 


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