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On Anxiety and Self-Criticism

Yesterday was one of those days…

I woke up with a giant pit in my stomach and the worst anxiety I’ve felt in a long time. It was hard for me to do anything. Even when I pushed myself as much as I could into work, writing, meditation, and exercising, I couldn’t manage to feel better.

The day before I was out for brunch and what was supposed to be two hours turned into an all day event. Alcohol typically gives me anxiety the following day, so it wasn’t a shock when I woke up beating myself up for staying out too late and having one too many drinks. 

If my anxiety wasn’t enough, I had the voice of guilt whispering in my ear telling me how irresponsible I am and asking how I haven’t learned my lesson by now. 

I spent the entire day fighting myself, forcing away negative emotions and wishing the hours would quickly pass so I could fall asleep and wake up with a clean slate and less self-criticism. 

I’ve been here before, multiple times. I’m sure you have too. Your inner dialogue plays out saying:

“You work so hard! Relax! You enjoyed yourself and had fun!”

Then, it flips:

“But is this fun now - feeling the way you do? Don’t you know when to stop already?”

Then back again:

“Leave me alone! I can do what I want!” As I push my head even further into the pillow to block out the light of day.

We’ve all had these days and we’re bound to have them again. We’re not perfect and we’re not striving to be. We’re all doing the best we can and sometimes our best is just letting ourselves feel what we feel - guilt and all - because we know a new day is just around the corner.

Today is a new day and I feel a little better, but I know enough to not shut out these uncomfortable emotions and rush through them for instant gratification. I know that it’s okay to ebb and flow through the nature of being human, to ride the highs and steady the lows, to be a beacon of light for both the lighter and darker days.

It’s okay to work toward self-peace while experiencing self-doubt and criticism. 

It’s okay to know your potential to be better while still repeating old habits.

It’s okay to simply be as you are now.

You are not your initial thoughts and feelings. You are what you choose to think. You are what you choose to feel. 

Let yourself feel what you feel. 

Feel it all. 

Then choose to think what you want to think, to feel what you want to feel and to move forward with self-love rather than self-criticism.

This is all up to you. You get to choose.


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