Why My Anxiety Keeps Me From Falling In Love
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Swoon

I'm The Girl With Anxiety Who's Terrified Of Letting People In, But Who Also Dreams Of Falling In Love

How can I love and be loved if I can't break down any of the walls that I carefully built up around me?

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I'm The Girl With Anxiety Who's Terrified Of Letting People In, But Who Also Dreams Of Falling In Love

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 20th birthday. In the weeks leading up to it, I decided 20 was going to be the year of the new me.

It was the start of a new decade, and for a moment, it felt really exhilarating. I almost felt ready to begin working on leaving some of the baggage from the last decade behind, but it's already proven to be a lot more difficult than I expected.

I've been thinking about some of my goals for the next five and ten years or so of my life a lot recently. I think part of it is from turning 20, and another part is from the fact that people are already asking me what I want to do when I graduate from my master's program, which is still another three and half years away.

I've been thinking a lot about what my life will look like post-college. I know I want to work in theaters for a few years before transitioning into teaching. I also know I want to fall in love and start a family.

The thought of falling in love has been troubling for me lately, though.

It's not the pressure of a time limit or frame. I know I have plenty of time to find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, even though the societal pressure to settle down as soon as possible is still slightly present in the back of my mind.

I didn't have a lot of the experiences a normal kid or teenager has while growing up, and while I don't necessarily regret or resent that fact, I don't want to grow up without experiencing young love.

Young love is magical and unique. It is special

I want so badly to share that experience with somebody, but I also fear it. Like I've talked about in previous posts, my anxiety makes it extremely difficult to connect with people: friends, family, strangers, anyone.

Over the last decade of my life, I have built up walls from being hurt so much and from my low self-esteem. I let almost no one in, and even in the rare circumstance that I do, most don't make it through the first few outer layers. I am afraid of letting people in and afraid of being vulnerable in the fear that I can't handle being hurt yet again. If I am being completely honest, I've become so guarded that I've almost forgotten how to connect.

How can I love and be loved if I can't break down any of the walls I carefully built up around me?

I also struggle with the false societal notion that I have to love myself in order to be able to love or be loved by someone else. I was told this all the time growing up, and thinking back, I find it to be extremely toxic. Telling someone with low self-esteem that they are not able to experience love is only going to make their self-esteem worse.

While I wholeheartedly support and advocate for self-love, in almost all cases, people are not rendered incapable of experiencing love, whether that be giving or receiving.

But I often find myself believing this, being afraid nobody will love me because I am currently at a place in my life where I don't love myself, and even so, I feel an immense amount of platonic and familial love for certain people in my life.

I also know that people have loved me when I've been in worse places in my journey of self-love, but this journey is not linear.

There are days when I feel on top of the world, and there are days when all of my hard work feels like it's crashing down in a matter of minutes. I am afraid I won't find someone who will be willing to join this excursion.

I know my quest to attain enough self-love to be sustainable is going to take a really long time, and even then, I can't even guarantee that I will be able to love myself that much. But I know I am capable of deeply loving someone else. I dread not being able to find someone who cares enough to join me on this journey.

I recognize it is possible that I might be spiraling a bit here, but these are genuine fears I have because of my anxiety and low self-esteem. And even though I am fearful, I am also hopeful.

I hope I find self-acceptance and eventually, self-love. I hope I will someday figure out how to break down every single layer of the wall I've built. I hope I find young love and my forever and always.

And to those reading this who may be feeling similar to me, I hope you find the same because you are more deserving than you know.

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