Anxiety’s a funny thing. It can convince you that there’s one thing you need to do to solve everything – to get that job, to pass that exam, to have a family, to get married, to reach that important goal – and then, just before you get there, it can make you freeze. Suddenly you’re thinking about how you got there, and how maybe you didn’t deserve to get there, and maybe you’re not good enough to get this done. Maybe you’re not ready?
Sometimes this sense of dread at being so close to the edge of your goal means you need to figure out if that’s really your dream, or what Gestalt psychotherapy calls an introjection – a dream or a value that someone else has had for you that you’ve internalised as your own.
Most of the time, though, the anxiety comes from the idea that, if you jump to complete your goals now, you won’t be good enough and you’ll fail and fall, dashed on the sharp rocks of your dreams.
Photo description: A person wearing swimming shorts jumps feet first off a rocky cliff into the sea.
It’s important to remember in these times that anxiety sometimes lies.
Your anxiety wants you to wait for a time when you have no chance of failure. The truth is, you’ll never find exactly the right moment or the perfect set of circumstances to perfectly follow your dreams. It’s ok to stop waiting for that one perfect day when you’re at 100% – since perfection doesn’t exist, it’s fine to wait for a good day instead, or even an ok day, and make your goals happen with what you have now. Even if your anxiety is, in fact, correct, and you suck at the beginning of trying to reach your goals, it’s worth remembering that if something’s worth doing it’s worth starting badly, because only be starting can we improve.
For example, if your dream is to become a parent, and now that you’re on the precipice of parenthood your anxiety is running wild telling you that you’ll definitely mess up your children, take a step back. Look at why parenthood is important to you – it’s probably because you want to be surrounded by a happy family. If your goal is to create happy children, your goal is not to be a perfect parent, like your anxiety is telling you – it’s to raise kids that are mostly happy most of the time. There is no perfection in parenthood or in any other areas of life and, if your goal is to have happy and healthy children, you’ll only really know what makes them happy and healthy when they arrive. Prepare as much as you can, study what you need to know, get what you need, but it’s ok to not know everything before you jump in.
If it’s safe to do so, and if the dream is yours, it’s ok to just jump. You don’t need to wait for the perfect circumstances – your perfect day might as well be today.
Photo description: A person, having jumped into the sea, holds a lit sparkler in the air in one hand, while the rest of their body is underwater.