When you suffer with anxiety or panic attacks, it is important to be really good to yourself. I know I preach this, but my natural tendency is to put myself last on the list (I put everyone else in the family’s needs before mine). So when I joined my local gym the other week for yoga, I was really proud. Proud that I didn’t cheap out on myself as usual, and proud that I actually went.
Learning to stand up for myself is another part of being good to myself, and this too is something I’m learning one day at a time. I need to explain the new gym thing to get to the standing up for myself with anxiety, so stay with me here….
The other day I went to a yoga class and not one but Three of my really cliquey neighbors were there also in the class, one of whom does not talk to me or acknowledge me for reasons that are really bizarre (she hates my dog and got pissed at me a few years ago because I don’t walk him with a muzzle.)
Anyways, when I walked into the class and saw the mean girls standing there, I did have a panic attack on the spot. I was thrown completely off guard, I sure as hell didn’t think they would take yoga as none of them strike me as the serene, peaceful type.
Anyways, my first instinct was to RUN, leave the class, escape, you know, the usual stuff that happens when we get a panic attack. I’m proud to say I didn’t. I decided I had to face my fears, and act as if I was not nervous. I was shaking, but I stayed and did all my poses and tried the best I could to focus on my breath and the teacher. It wasn’t perfect, but the fact that I stayed despite the panic attack and the girls that bother me was a *huge*success for me.
Now onto today, and how I stood up for myself…
I was at Kohl’s picking up a few things I needed. They were having a big sale so there were more people than usual. I had sneakers for my husband in the cart and was looking for a pair for me. I left my cart and went a few shoe aisles over to try on a few pairs that were on sale.
When I went back to my cart, there was a lady standing next to it. Her purse was in the it, and my husband’s sneakers had been removed. It was so obvious she had taken the cart- maybe she thought someone had abandoned it.
In my nicest voice I said, “Ma’am I’m sorry, but I was using that cart.”
Her response was weird.
“This is my cart! I got it in the front of the store!!!”
(Um, Ok…so why are you screaming at me?)
I was really angry (fuming) but I did what I usually do and just backed away from confrontation. It wasn’t a huge deal, but she was being a bully and I wimped out. Feeling like a coward, I went to the front of the store for a new cart. There were no carts left, so I was left using a double baby stroller connected to a cart, which was ridiculous since I don’t have any babies, but whatever.
I was now in the girl’s coat section looking for winter coats, and mentally beating myself up for being lowly as usual.
And that’s when I saw the shopping cart thief coming up the aisle.
I guess I felt empowered by staying through my yoga class the other day even though that neighbor that hates my guts was there. I just needed to say something to stand up for myself.
As she was going by me, she gave me a big smile. I gave her a big smile back and said,
“I know you took my cart back there. It’s not a big deal, but that wasn’t very nice.”
She argued back that it was her cart and blah blah blah, but the point is that I stood up for myself- even though I was anxious.
I didn’t engage with her any further as I was not trying to get into an argument. That wasn’t the point. I just wanted to make a point- nicely but firmly– and I did. My heart was pounding in my chest and I felt scared but I did it anyways.
Here’s a tip I learned in Al-Anon: Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean. I am starting to learn to stand up for myself, even though I feel anxious when doing it. And it feels really good.
I left the store feeling lifted- it gave my self esteem the boost I needed today.
How are you when it comes to standing up for yourself?
I wish you peace,
Want to know how I’m doing so well after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for so long? I recommend and use Panic Away. Click on the link to get started today and reclaim your life from fear.