I mentioned last week, that I would share a bit about my journey in dealing with anxiety. It has been surprising how often the subject of pride has come up in this process so far. As I have delved deeper into some of the causes of my encounters with anxiety, I really did not want to share them as they do not reflect the image I desire to portray – by the way that is called “image management” and is not a good thing.
A lot of good has come out of the last couple of weeks as well. As I have acknowledged the anxiety and began to push past my pride and image management to look clearly at the causes, I am beginning to better manage it when it begins to occur. I recognize it earlier, deal with it head on, and the “spells” are getting shorter and shorter.
Now as to some of the causes that I have uncovered so far. I am an INTJ by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. That means I am someone who processes internally and thinks a lot – a lot. And I spend a lot of time planning and thinking about the future or reflecting on and evaluating the past (not nearly enough on the present). Sometimes that thinking on the future can become “what are all the things that can go wrong” – which is a long list by the way. Reflecting on the past becomes evaluating on past actions which becomes thinking of all the ways I could have done something better. Those two things not handled properly can cause a bit of anxiety.
A year ago, I left Life Action Ministries as I was a deputized missionary (I raised my own funding to pay my salary) and after eleven years the funding dried up, so I was forced to look for a job. Leaving an organization where you have served for twelve years, that you care about and are invested in and know how things work and then going to a new organization (Ambassador Enterprises) where you are the “newbie” among some incredibly smart and talented people was incredibly challenging. I went from knowing my job well and coaching others, to being the rookie – that was hard and much harder than I had anticipated emotionally. Ambassador has been great to me and very welcoming, so it has been my issue not theirs. Again, one root of this is pride as I did not want to be the rookie again, I wanted to be the one who had the answers.
The next cause I will mention today is the “fear of man” (click here to read an article on this subject). I have found myself overly concerned what others think of me, especially those that are my authorities. Here at Ambassador I work for the CEO who is a great guy. He has exceptionally high standards (more for himself than others), very intelligent, and not bashful at all about “coaching” you when you need it. His coaching is usually timely, needed, and accurate, but it still stings. I have often found my self anxious about what he (and others) think about what I have to say and how I do things. That’s not healthy. Of course we want to be doing things well and in accordance with what our authorities (bosses) want, but there is a healthy approach and an unhealthy approach that causes anxiety.
So, so far, I have identified three things impacting me:
1. Allowing my internal processing (future planning and the evaluation of the past) to take on a negative aspect. NOTE: This is, in my opinion and for me, rooted in how closely I am walking with the Lord at that point and how much I am actually putting my trust in Him.
2. Pride – plain and simple. When pride rears its ugly head, the consequences are always negative.
3. Fear of man – this is actually a subset of pride if you will. Overly concerned with what others think of me.
There are more things I am discovering, but this is where I am today.
Blessings on the rest of your week!