Where did that anxiety you feel in your stomach come from? You were going along just fine, and then suddenly you began to feel fraught with anxiety about what you said or what you wrote or what you did, about how you could have done it differently, better, how you could have spoken up or not spoken at all, how you may have over-asserted yourself or not asserted yourself enough. The list could go on. There is no lack of recommendations for despair. You find an old list of errors you have made or might have made. You reread and reread this list, as if somehow despite its appearance, it might be helpful to you.
Helpful to you? Of course your anxiety-provoking list is not helpful to you. Quite the opposite. It is to the detriment of you.
You thought you were free of all your anxiety, yet somehow, little by little, it has crept its way back in again. Insidious is this little snake anxiety. How camouflaged it is as it slinks its way in, and you, you are not aware until suddenly it's right in front of you, and it has eaten away at your very foundation. Because of this anxiety, you feel undermined. You have gone back to that old and frayed shopping list. There is nothing worth buying on it.
I shall write you a new shopping list. Throw out the old one once and for all. Replace it with this one that I give to you now. This is your new shopping list I give to you. Understand it well:
"I am a fine person just as I am.
"I mean to do good, and I do.
"I no longer second-guess myself. I leave myself alone. If I don't like now what I said or wrote or did, I cross it out from all lists now, once and for all. What I did or didn't do doesn't matter. It is in the past. I know that the sun comes out, and that rain dries up. I am probably the only person thinking at all about this that I regret. There simply is no percentage in thinking of it, not even once. No matter how recent, no matter how big or how small, when I allow nagging thought from the past, I subtract from the strength of loving myself.
"It is important that I love myself. It is important for my sake and for the sake of all around me. I must not regret nor must I find fault with myself, for I am the leader of a parade, and it is for me to lead a calm content parade. My parade goes through all the side streets and the main ones too, and it goes according to the tenor of my thoughts. I want to lead the kind of parade I want to lead. I refuse to lead a dismal one.
"When my thoughts cause me anxiety, I drop those thoughts. I do not keep them for even one minute, for they are destructive thoughts. These thoughts worm their way in and don't want to let go. They have to be evicted, and I am the one who must evict them.
"This is easy to do now. I shake them off. I hardly give them a backward glance, and I say to them clearly:
"Regretful anxiety-provoking thoughts, you have no business being here. You don't belong here. You don't belong anywhere. You are like black-out shades, and you have pulled yourself down, and you have blocked my view.
"You want to keep me small and anxiety-ridden. But I see you now for what you are. You are a malcontent, and you like to step on my sense of well-being and sneak yourself and your other buddy thoughts in.
"You are invasive and erosive.
"You can't stay here any longer. You have to leave, and you have to leave now.
"So now, without further ado, leave. In God's name, I throw you out, and, in God's name, you cannot come back."
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