In an emotionally perfect universe, we'd need nothing other than ourselves to feel safe and whole. Unfortunately, we live someplace else. But in our imperfect world, we can usually find a concrete object that can help us battle our everyday anxieties.
It might not banish them forever, but it'll reduce them to a point where we can function with significantly more clarity. For example, maybe you need $10,000 in the bank just in case your husband—a man who has no intention of leaving you—leaves you, guaranteeing that you'll have enough money to pay the mortgage on your own for a few months. Maybe you need some flash cards of big, hard-to-pronounce words that you stumble over regularly, usually in front of people you want to date. A certain woman I know—okay, my mother—fights social anxiety with table manners, on the belief that if you're not worrying about fish knives while at the table, you can make conversation about the things you really care about.
It will come, that moment in which you'll feel the first, familiar wobble of anxiety or dread, but instead of giving yourself a pep talk or forcing yourself to blunder through the situation, you'll realize there is one if not logical, at least entirely legal thing that will make you feel better. Take it.
5. The Only Realistic Time Frame Is "For a While"
You're in the best possible moment of your career, complete with healthcare and a fat brass plaque on your office door. Or, you're in an ugly, excruciating fight with your friend about the thing you said about her husband. Or, your migraines leave you crawling across the bathroom floor, or suddenly, inexplicably they're—presto—gone.
No matter what the situation or condition, the only realistic way to measure its length is "for a while." Something happens and then unhappens. You will be glad it's over, or not glad (or not glad at all).
The moment it ends, however, is when it's most obvious that it—like everything good and god-awful—lasted not forever, not for a second, not for 67.32 days on the lunar calendar, but "for a while," which is the both exact and immeasurable timeframe you need to decide what to make of its influence on your life, especially with regard to all the other a whiles to come.
Find the author at Leigh-Newman.com or @leighnew on Twitter.
More Life Lessons from Leigh Newman