All my life, I have struggled with anxiety and self-doubt. As a result, I have never had much experience with men. Whenever I start to develop feelings for someone, I get scared and pretty much end it before I can ever actually date them. I have started to develop feelings for someone that I think I want to pursue a relationship with, but I’m not sure how to even begin to overcome my fears of opening up to someone. All my life I have battled with feeling not good enough, I’m not sure how to even feel ready to put myself out there for love. How can I overcome this?
This was such a wonderful question to receive because it honestly felt like I wrote it — it is like you read part of my diary and pulled my exact thoughts from its contents. This is why I love this blog. Because even though we might feel so alone, we are actually so seriously together in this exhausting pursuit for love.
And the phrase I immediately latched onto (and immediately connected with) was the phrase “battled with feeling not good enough.” I hear ya. The more I get to know my anxiety and my heart the more I realize how challenging it can be to feel worthy of love. Especially if you’ve lived your life weighed down by anxiety and self-doubt.
I would suggest you begin by shifting the way you perceive your anxiety. If you view your anxiety as a weakness, or something that needs to be stopped or stamped out, stop. Remember, anxiety often flourishes from a place of sensitivity. As an anxious person, we often notice small details. Analyze tones. Contemplate the “what ifs.” While, yes, these traits might drive us crazy sometimes, it also speaks to the strength you have for being sensitive and empathetic. You observe the world around you closely. You, most likely, have observed how people can hurt one another and can be cruel. This very well may be why you do the “preemptive strike” (something I was really really good at in my dating days) where you end things before the other person even has a chance to contemplate possibly ending things.
This sensitivity will, eventually, be something that can help a relationship thrive. It may even help the person you’re dating feel safe to be sensitive and honest.
Use your penchant for the preemptive strike to your advantage. If you are hoping to pursue a relationship with this new person, show strength by being open and honest with them. Share. Take back control of your perception of your anxiety and self-doubt and instead of worrying about what will happen if you open up about it, do just that. Open up about it. By having the courage to discuss our anxiety or fears regarding pursuing a relationship you are rewriting the story for what your anxiety means. Your anxiety makes you a deep-thinker. It makes you protective of your heart, like a mama grizzly bear. It makes you understand the great responsibility of sharing your life with another person.
And above all, never doubt that you are worthy of being loved. Remind yourself of this every day. I am worthy of love. I am worthy of love. I am.