Anxiety: The seven- lettered demon

by Remington Layne

laynere@mnstate.edu

First of all, hello fellow MSUM students and welcome back to our Dragon nest, where we all have a few things in common such as wanting to further ourselves and chasing our dreams.  We do this by trying our best to be perfect in our studies and to do flawlessly in our little society here. We do this by forbidding ourselves from making any mistakes. That torturous word “mistake” cuts our egos with a sharp knife, screeches deep in our ear canals, and ultimately bestows more power to the demon “Anxiety.” 

However, that’s a beast of its own  that makes us involuntarily care far more than we should about other’s reactions, what they will say, and whatever else pops in our minds. The simple seven-letter word “mistake” does all of these countless things to us, attacking our minds first and possibly our bodies later.  Why do we allow this one word to rule our world? Why do we not overthrow it immediately and get back on our horse, place the crown back on our head, and ride toward the next journey that lies ahead? 

Some of us are completely thrown from our horse, become broken, and are out for quite some time.  Some of us only stumble around, confused.  Some of us use this anxiety or ill feelings and transfofm them into determination to get back what we want.  All of us try to make right what we did wrong, no matter how small the mistake.

The interesting thing is that how we view what is a big deal is entirely dependent on our own experiences.  It’s all perception to an extent. This is why the word “mistake” can bestow more power to the demon Anxiety. As soon as we make a mistake there are people around ready to jump in with their opinions.  They will say things all across the spectrum: From “This isn’t even a big deal” to “Wow, this is terrible!”

This just catapults all of us into more anxiety about what we did. When we hear these things we start to feel bad, beat ourselves up even more, and end up disliking ourselves in that moment more than what we already did because now we feel bad for how we’re reacting.  That makes us feel like we’re making another huge mistake just because we are feeling something.  Which is completely wrong. It is okay to feel.

When we make a mistake in life, it’s not meant to destroy us. It’s meant to build us into a better version of ourselves. Life likes to do this thing called “throw a curveball” at us. In some cases, our intentions were good but it just went wrong. That’s a curveball, because we didn’t expect that.  In other cases we were just carrying on like normal and then a mistake struck.  That’s a curveball. We ask, “Why did this have to happen?” and for a long time we won’t know.

Due to that mistake, we conduct ourselves a bit differently down the road.  We are more aware, more knowledgeable, and our empathetic and sympathetic skills are sharpened. After our mistakes we get this thing called “Wisdom.”  We get to keep this for life too.  Wisdom helps us not only better understand ourselves and figure out who we are but allows us to do the same for others. Our spectrum of understanding is increased because we as human beings make these things called “mistakes.”  We wrongly give this word power when really it’s a just a simple tool used by Life to lead us to become better versions of ourselves down the road. We are individuals and we make mistakes. We will never be able to not make mistakes because everyone perceives what’s right and wrong, bad and good, a big deal and little deal differently.

So, students of our Dragon nest, don’t allow this seven-letter word to throw you off of your speeding horse. Do not let it take your crown. Do not let that demon Anxiety take over your mind, body, and feelings. Most importantly, do not let others make you think that the way you feel is a mistake in its self. We are human beings.  We were born to feel. Let’s not beat each  other up for doing what we were meant to do, because anything that perpetuates feeling can give way to some pretty amazing creations.  Acknowledge that the mistake happened, feel what you need to feel, then ride on to a bigger and more challenging journey because now you’re better equipped and ready to take on whatever’s next.  All because of a seven-letter word.

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