“I moved to New York City for my health. I’m paranoid, and New York is the only place where my fears are justified.” — Anita Wise
Until September 2015, I had a classroom to set up and run. Students coming and going, names to learn, procedures to teach, getting them to like me, assessing what they know, and teaching them absolute values and the like. What I realized this year, my first outside of high school, is that teaching high school was a really, really delicious external justification for my anxiety, much like Anita Wise saying she needed to live in New York City. There’s something about the job of being a high school teacher and the anxiety of it that justified my own anxiety.
I wonder how much of that is true in other aspects of our lives?
How much do we put ourselves in situations that justify our anxiety or other feelings? That is, if we get curious about ourselves and our process, would we find that we do things to make our anxiety seem justified?
Wedding couples plan the food for the wedding reception months in advance. I think that is an example of helping to focus anxiety. Getting married is life changing and thereby anxiety producing. Committing to spend your life with another – just like life itself – is nothing short of a scary pronouncement. Of course there is the fun and exciting time ahead, but there is also committing to be with another person no matter what the future brings – and knowing full well that one day, most probably, one of the partners will be at the hospital bedside of the other, watching them die. Who wants to worry about that? Let’s fret about who sits at which table and the proper side dish to accompany the steak.
I think we unconsciously put ourselves in situations that give us reason to feel a certain way – and then we can pretend that we are not to blame for it.
Except, when we are laying in bed at night attempting to move from active mind to sleep, we know we are in on the ruse.
I ask you to examine if you do this. If you do this, when do you do it? If you know you do it and you know when, can you commit to stopping?