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Anticipation and Anxiety

by Mark Metz about a month ago in anxiety

how to combat it

Anticipation and Anxiety
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Anticipation is often hard on the soul. It creates within us an anxiety over decisions we do not have direct control over and yet the outcomes of those decisions can have major impacts on our lives. Consider when you've applied and interviewed for a new job or promotion and that time in between the presentation of ourselves and the ultimate decision. We have to sit and we have to wait; we're having to wait to hear what our future holds and there's no longer anything we can do about it.

Sure, we had control over the decision for a time. If it's a promotion we're seeking then the work we've done leading up to that point is a great way of showing how ready, or not ready, we are for a new challenge. If it's a new job, we have control over how well we do in the interview process and how effective we are at presenting ourselves in the best way. But once that's all said and done, and we've put ourselves completely out there, we're now in a vulnerable space and have to depend on other people to make a decision that affects our life.

And as I mentioned, that vulnerable space -- that time in between -- is a killer. We think back to mistakes we've made, no matter how small and how much we've learned from them and grown as a result of them, and how they could possibly be what prevents us from getting what we desire. We wonder if we've done enough, if we’ve said enough. Or maybe we said too much? We want that decision to come right away, yet if it's a no, we don't want it to come at all. Time, silence, and the unknown eats away at us. Anticipation.

But when that time finally does come, it rarely seems to hit us as hard as what we imagined. Sure, it's a big deal in the big picture sense as our lives are most likely changing or staying put in some way. But the actual moment, the moment we finally hear our answer, often feels kind of small and anticlimactic considering the pain and suffering our mind had been putting us through. This shouldn't surprise us, though. Because what we are doing during that time of uncertainty is placing way too much importance on the uncontrollable. We feel as though constantly thinking and worrying about the outcome will somehow directly affect the outcome. Of course this is wrong and irresponsible; unfortunately, it still feels unavoidable.

But maybe it's not as impossible to avoid as we think. Maybe we start by practicing lessening our concerns about the smaller uncontrollables in our everyday lives. The guy who cut in front of you on your way to work? Instead of giving him that finger, do nothing in response and continue on driving. The lady whose cubicle is next yours at work who talks way too loudly on the phone? Press on and keep doing your work. Pushing through will eventually be the most effective tool you have in tuning her out.

You may wonder how this can help with those painful time periods of waiting and anticipation. I believe that by doing this we can start to build up a stronger tolerance and healthier mindset that will ultimately help us when those times come; practicing this mentality on the daily will help prepare us for those bigger, life-changing moments. We won't be perfect and some form of that anxiety inducing anticipation will always be there. But we can be better. And we can save ourselves from unrelenting stress over the unknown.

And finally, when we do get that answer, whether it be a yes or a no, we should feel privileged and blessed to be able to go back to what we can control. We either get to work on something new, or we get back to work and try to get better.

Mark Metz
Mark Metz
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Mark Metz

Hello! I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan and I'm a freelance writer. I focus mainly on politics, personal growth, and short stories that are typically fantasy or futuristic.

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