This time of year can bring up a lot of self-doubt and insecurity. Like clockwork, everyone around you begins making resolutions to better themselves, posting statuses about their plan to ambitiously read two books a month and pictures of their increasingly thin bodies. All this culture of change may start to make you feel extra aware of your “flaws” -- maybe you’ve gained some weight over the holidays, aren’t focused on saving money, and can’t remember the last time you picked up a novel. You judge yourself for your lack of discipline and shamefully wonder what your peers must think of you. Eventually, you find yourself trapped in a tornado of worry about things that didn’t matter before you logged onto Facebook.
First of all, stop. Take a breath. The tornado of worry is a dangerous place to be -- it sucks in everything it can find and spits it back out beaten to a pulp by stress. There is no use in allowing yourself to get caught up in its eye with the mindset that there is no escape. Escape is simple merely because the worries in which you’ve shrouded yourself likely do not matter.
Often, we worry about trivial, minute details of our lives to distract from the one big issue we’re dealing with. It’s so much easier to fret about our bodies, which have nothing to do with who we are as people, than to consider that something about your behavior is causing damage to your wellbeing. It’s hard to look that problem in the face when it feels like staring down a fire-breathing dragon that could toast you to a crisp with one breath. Snap out of it! There is no dragon! If you feel you’re facing a reprimanding conversation with your boss or your significant other is mad at you, your life is not under threat. There is no dragon.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, it’s time to face the problem head-on. If you feel like your boss is upset with you, ask for a performance review. It might be the most uncomfortable 5-15 minutes of your life, but at least you’ve gotten it out of the way (and shown your boss that you care about your improvement). Ask your significant other if something is going on, using anti-inflammatory language (“Is there something bothering you that you’d like to talk about?” rather than “Just tell me that you’re mad already!”). You’ve forced yourself to dive headfirst out of the tornado and into the big issue.It’s more likely than not that once the big issue is resolved, you’ll find you’re able to let go of the guilt you feel when you see how healthy Stacy is eating or how well-read Andrew is going to be. If the issue persists, talk to a loved one or therapist about how you can use skills to tackle feelings of overwhelmingess. The things that do not matter will melt away, leaving you to focus on all the good things that do matter.