Do you feel bad about your anxiety? Not upset that you have anxiety and that it is totally impacting your life, but actually disappointed in yourself? As if you have no justifiable reason to be worried and anxious over what you’re worried and anxious about? I mean think of all the people starving in Africa…
“What’s my problem?!?”
Does this sound familiar? Seriously, does anyone else go there or is it just me? Actually, I do often think of people in Africa but maybe it’s from my Peace Corps days in rural Ghana, West Africa. No, I was doing this way before then.
As a recovering guilt-prone person with a habit of mixing and matching feeling badly with a ton of other things, I can tell you that separating these things out is a worthwhile pursuit. And by that I mean, making sure that ‘feeling badly’ is being placed appropriately. This would exclude anxiety.
To start, there’s no use in going down the rabbit hole of why we feel bad. “Why’s” often feel gratifying to understand but rarely lead to change on their own. So let’s focus on what can actually change your guilt-prone habits.
Here are 3 things to do if you feel guilty or bad regarding your anxiety.
- Recognize that guilt (or feeling badly) is a feeling that quickly gets called into action for you. Once you realize it has become a bit of a default (and overused) feeling, you can start to let it go.
- Reserve guilt for what it does best. Guilt is designed to help us know when we’ve crossed a line with ourselves or others. It helps guide us in the direction of making efforts to repair what we’ve done. If you’re reading this, when you have anxiety you probably interpret it as crossing a line of your expectations that you’re a ‘better person’ than to have anxiety. Guilt won’t help your anxiety stop, so let yourself know this and keep it for the things that merit it.
- Remind yourself you’re not a bad person for having anxiety. Anxiety is completely a separate issue from being a good person, having gratitude and appreciation in your life. Anxiety sucks but it’s not a reflection on the quality of person you are.
Try not to feel bad if you tend to feel bad because you have anxiety. Embrace these 3 R’s and begin finding a little relief in this area. You deserve it.