In this post a couple weeks ago, I asked the question "How long will my past continue to haunt me?"
One of the best things that has come out of my weekly counseling sessions is the lesson I've learned in my ability to control my own thoughts. We actually spent a lot of time talking about just this on Wednesday, but it's really been on my mind tonight as I've spent a lot of time talking through things with a friend.
A big problem with my anxiety is the tendency for my thoughts to just run away from me. I start thinking about one thing that is stressing me out, and next thing I know, a million different completely irrational possibilities are running through my head regarding every good thing in my life and how it could go wrong. That only makes my whole life more of a mess because 99.9% of the time, I'm worrying about things that should've never been on my list of concerns in the first place.
This friend that I was talking to tonight is dating one of the soccer boys, so naturally, a bit of our conversations tend to revolve around them. I've discussed with her many times about the gnawing feeling I get in my stomach when I start wondering how guys like them could ever want to be my friend. And how it's not even that I don't trust them, it's that I don't see my own worth and that I don't trust myself. I ask myself a million times "How long until I mess this all up? How could I possibly deserve their friendship?" I freak out over the slightest mistakes that I make, second-guessing everything I say, wondering when I'm going to scare them off.
But something my counselor has helped me to realize is that I'm allowing myself to continue thinking these irrational things. And I have just as much power to tell myself what is actually true - that these guys are not the guys from my past. They are not the people who abused me for so long. They call me their sister and tell me I'm a part of the family for a reason. They stick up for me because they care. When they tell me they love me, they mean it. I have good to do and give to the world. The people who are in my life now (for the most part) are good people who know grace and forgiveness and what it means to see someone's heart beneath their flaws. My friends appreciate who I am and my heart for them just as much as I appreciate them.
It hit me when I was listening to The Eagles tonight, to their song "Already Gone". There's a line in there that says So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key. Yes, there are pieces of my anxiety disorder that I cannot control, but my thoughts are something that I can. So I've been working very hard at cutting myself off when I start thinking those sort of negative things about how unworthy I am, because if I want better from other people, I have to start by giving better to myself.
I have the key to unlock this chain. I'm gonna start using it.