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"Stress, depression, and anxiety are often caused when we are living..."

Posted on 18 September 2019

Stress, depression, and anxiety are often caused when we are living to please others. Yes, we can also feel anxiety about debt, work pressures or any number of challenges, but today, we will discuss the fear of not being good enough and disappointing other people. The brain is programmed to look out for your survival. You’ve heard of the fight or flight response, right? Well, this doesn’t only apply to physical survival. You feel the same kind of fear when you are nervous about things like giving a public speech or going on a first date. The anxiety you feel in these situations is your brain’s way of trying to help you survive emotionally. Unfortunately, the brain isn’t always the greatest at accurately gauging how dangerous a situation might be. It often blows things way out of proportion. Your flight response is heightened as a result. Over time, this anxiety causes you to develop a behavior of perfectionism. This is the brain’s solution to helping you feel good. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live, look and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. However, the problem is that this perfectionism is based on what you believe others want you to be. As a result, you shy away from being your true self and start putting on a front. It’s much easier to live a life that someone else wants you to live because when you take ownership of the one you have, you have no one to blame if things go wrong. Following someone else’s path gives the right to blame him or her. The brain would rather let others’ standards dictate your life and sacrifice your mental health than do anything that might make you experience the emotional pain of looking like a failure and falling short of someone’s standards. However, in order to live life to the fullest, you have to calm your anxiety about disappointing other people and not being good enough. Find the courage to be true to yourself and stop running away. Start running towards who you want to be. Become aware that anxiety is just the brain going into survival mode and realize that you don’t have to listen to it. Silence it and focus on your goals. While people might have expectations for you, the world desperately needs the power that comes from you living your most authentic life. If you are battling anxiety about not being good enough or pleasing other people, take a moment to slow down and acknowledge what you are experiencing. Then, identify what you need to feel safe so you can turn on the thinking part of your brain and start uncovering the answers you most need. That might mean meditating, talking to a close friend or even just getting out in nature for a walk. Take a deep breath, be compassionate with yourself and focus on who and where you want to be. By being aware and focused, you’ll be there sooner than you think.

~Paul Phillips

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