While everyone in the process of working to make their dreams a reality needs a regular vote of confidence, I offer my support specifically to those who struggle with anxiety and have big aspirations.
The sardonic voice of anxiety is one that heckles your visions for the future and insists that every worst case scenario will be the end result of your efforts to achieve your goals. In my life as well in many others, anxiety has the ability to make one feel as though they are just too small to stand in the world.
My parents have told me that I can be anything I wanted to from the time I was old enough to understand them. I grew up being encouraged to pursue whatever caught my interest and to confidently proclaim what I wanted to be when I grew up without thoughts of self-doubt ever crossing my young ever-changing mind. Even after having been instilled with the belief that I have the capacity to do any and everything I set my mind to, the apprehension of not measuring up to the competitive nature of the world we live in is sometimes louder than the voices of my parents.
As a journalism major and someone who is familiar with the impositions that anxiety places on dreams, I would like to share a few words of encouragement and advice to others who find their ambitions inhibited by angst.
1. It's okay to have worries, but know when to leave them in a box. Being uneasy about the future is a universal part of the human experience. While anxiety is different in the way that it exasperates minor concerns and can leave you fixated on an issue, learn how to de-escalate your thoughts. Give yourself an allotted amount of time to process and worry over uncertainties without allowing it to work you into a frenzy, and then block it from your mind. There's only so much that you can control, so focus on what you can and then move forward with a purpose, the rest will fall into place.
2. A lot of things can and will go wrong, but it's not a reflection of you. Another common fact of life is that not a single one is absolutely perfect. In spite of everything you do right in working towards a goal, sometimes things won't turn out the way you'd hoped. Often times these perceived failures feed our anxiety for the future and seem like a reflection of your abilities. When things fall through, do not catalog those experiences as failures and do not allow the memories to rob new opportunities of their excitement. You've made it to where you are thus far in your life by being who you are, don't allow fear to make you doubt yourself.
3. The limitless paths of life can be overwhelming, but ultimately, YOU are in control. Every choice you make starts you on a different path and closes the door on another opportunity. The pressure to make the right decision among countless others with uncertain consequences can leave you feeling like you have no power over the course of your life. However, you are always in control.
Pursuing your dreams with intermittent bouts of anxiety is difficult, even more so when you're ambitious. You overcome your struggle each day by purposefully acting on what's within your control, accepting what isn't and giving yourself the space necessary to manage your nervousness. To anyone who meets this description, know that you are not alone and that I'm rooting for you.