This week, I had a much-needed - albeit harsh - wake up call.
I’m a generally anxious person (hence the brand tagline) and that anxiety seeps its way into many facets of my life in one way or another. Sometimes it happens in trivial, quirky ways, and sometimes in very real, hurtful ways.
On dating apps, my anxiety often likes to take over. When chatting with a cute guy who wants to go on a date, sometimes I’ll get so in my head with questions like What if he doesn’t like me? Or What if he doesn’t think I’m as cute in person? that I just stop responding. Other times, I just start feeling so anxious about work and life that I drop conversations with people out of the blue. I've found that it can be easier to just stop the conversation than to deal with those anxiety-provoking thoughts or add something else to my plate when it already feels full. And after all, it’s not like I really know the person at the other end of the digital conversation - which makes it all too easy to not think of them as a real person with real feelings (if I'm being honest).
This week, I got called out for it. Hard.
In letting my anxiety take over for me during a months-long conversation with a nice guy on Grindr (sorry Nana), I ended up hurting someone else. By being so much in my own head, I ended up causing the same anxiety in someone else that I experience myself. And that sucks.
In this situation - although unintentionally - I was the schmuck.
I clarified to this person that I didn’t mean to cause any harm, and that I stopped responding because of my own insecurities, but he was still hurt and I don’t blame him.
Having anxiety is something that I embrace as part of who I am, and at the same time, it's important to remind myself that it doesn’t give me an excuse to be a schmuck. I need to keep my anxiety in check not just for my own sake, but for the people around me. Caring for my community not only means taking care of others, but taking care of myself so that I don't unintentionally cause harm to others. This was a much-needed reminder of that.
Can you relate?