I was sitting in class yesterday. It was my first class of one of the two that I am taking this semester. I was getting myself settled, sipping my green tea latte from Starbucks and writing in my planner. I saw some familiar faces come in to the class, I waved to them and they waved back, exchanged a couple of “Hi, good-to-see-you’s” and then went about doing our own thing. I do not know what it was about class yesterday that set off a trigger leading me into some sadness and anxiety – or maybe I do. Reflecting on my time in class last night and talking to my boyfriend on the phone allowed me to realize that my anxiety was feeding me lie after lie, and I was believing all of them…every. single. one.
I am about to open up in this blog post, and I am a little embarrassed, but I am going to take a leap of faith and just do it.
Do you ever feel like the odd one out? Or do you ever feel like that third wheel in a group of friends all of the time? You know, the one that gets pushed off the sidewalk and walks behind everyone, or the one who thinks they have a friend to work on a school project with but they choose someone else? ME. That girl was always me.
But this isn’t a sob story. I am not writing this to feel sorry for myself or look for attention. BECAUSE, I realized something. It isn’t the fact that I am not the most ‘desired’ person to be friends with, for lack of a better term. It is about the lies that my anxiety feeds me. The lies that TELL me I am not worth being friends with or that people just don’t want to be around me.
Let me back up…
I was sitting in class yesterday, and my professor was talking to us about some group projects that we will have to work on throughout the semester. She said we can sign up for whatever topics we would like, or ask friends to sign up for the same topics. I immediately had a rush of anxiety when she told me this…everyone else looked like they had friends in this class. Who would I ask? What was I doing wrong that I don’t have as many friends or people to talk to?
- Anxiety lie strike one! Looking back on it now, not EVERYONE there looked like they knew other people or had friends in the class. Most of them? Yes. But certainly not all. I was not the odd one out, as much as I felt like I was. And this is a common lie that anxiety will tell us: “your the only one” or “your different.” Well guess what? Chances are you’re not . Chances are other people in the class think similarly to you and have some of the same fears. But that is a classic lie that anxiety makes you believe: that you are alone, and that everything is your fault. Most of the time, you do not even have control over the situation. So how could it possibly be your fault when it’s out of your hands?
I looked around the classroom, trying to figure out who I could ask to be my partner for one of the assignments…The girl sitting two rows in front of me. We talked a lot last semester in one of our classes. She is nice. I’ll ask her. I waited in my seat anxiously for the chance to get up and ask. Finally my professor dismissed us. This was it…
Nevermind. She asked someone else. Her friend next to her. My heart sunk a little bit. See, no one wants to be around you. No one wants to work with you let alone be your friend.
- Anxiety lie strike two! This is just so NOT true, despite how real it felt last night. Just because she chose someone else to work with, does absolutely, 100% NOT mean that no one wants to work with me or be around me. Chances are, this girl had no idea that I was thinking about asking her. Chances are, she was turning to her good friend in the class because she was worried that SHE, too, would not have anyone to work with. This was nothing personal against me. And, Claire, you DO have friends. You have people who love and care about you. You have your family, your boyfriend, and a some friends outside of school. Why would you believe this? Why would anyone believe this?
Because they are fears. They are anxious thoughts that attack our minds trying to convince us that it is reality. This is when we need to take a step back and really analyze the thought and de-bunk it. Because 99% of what anxiety tells us, is a false reality. 99% of what our anxiety tells us is a big pile of BS. Anxiety lies. Anxiety is NOT on your side. Anxiety makes you think that the world is against you, that no one likes you, that you are alone, that you have no friends, and so on and so on. My anxiety tells me this stuff all of the time. But it’s time to start putting the anxiety in it’s place. It is time to STOP believing the lies that my anxiety repeats to me over and over in my mind. Anxiety is a bully. So if you suffer from anxiety and these thoughts or experiences resonate with you, I challenge you to next time, challenge the anxiety, because anxiety’s only goal is to make you worried over things that aren’t real. It makes you worried over things that COULD BE real but AREN’T. It makes you miserable. And the more you believe the lies, the more depressed and anxious you get.
You are beautiful. You are loved. You are worthy. You are not alone. You are special.
→ believe THOSE truths, instead.
There is a quote that I love, it goes: “Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”
Choose to grow flowers, every time.