A New Perspective, Three Beliefs, Worry, and Anxiety

Have you ever learned something about yourself that suddenly explains so much of your life? It’s the type of revelation that comes too infrequently, the type you wish you had more of. In a flash of brilliance, your worldview changes. You feel like you’ve walked out of a hall of mirrors and are stood in front of just one, recently wiped down with Windex. All you see is your reflection.

When this happens, you initially feel a sense of relief. The end of the project of your life – understanding it – appears on the horizon. Everything between you and as far as you can see is brightly lit by the glow of the setting summer sun. The shadows cast belong to the past.

You’ve been crowned…

…heavy is the head.

I remember the first time I wore glasses. The world was slanted for about two days. Correcting my vision made me dizzy and forced missteps as I tried to climb inclines that didn’t exist.

These days I can’t not announce that I have astigmatism whenever I’m asked about my vision. It’s a condition in the spectacled world that’s equivalent to being a vegan.

“No, you can’t try on my glasses.”

“How do I look?”

“I can’t see.”

Without these corrective lenses, the world is a blur. I’d be able to survive without them about as well as I can swim — not terribly well, but there’s a chance I’ll make it to shore. My vision was fine before I got glasses until it wasn’t.

Learning something truly fundamental about yourself has the same effect. It’s destabilising at first because you have to adjust to a new point of focus. All along, you saw the world as you had learned to see it. Now, there’s a reflection that you can’t ignore — the shop window. All that you’ve bought into looks different.

Everything is nice when you can afford it.

Recently, I learned something about myself that left me dumbfounded. It struck me like a ball to the face and has been with me like a stone in my shoe since.

My indecisiveness and avoidance of decision-making it a result of three underlying beliefs that I didn’t know I had. They are, in no particular order: that it’s unfair that I have to make a decision; the outcome of any decision I make will turn out badly, and; I won’t be able to cope if things don’t turn out the way I want them to. These beliefs are a relative of my perfectionism (also a new insight) that lead to worry and anxiety and worry about my anxiety.

When I look back on the decisions that I’ve agonised over in my life, it’s hard to argue with this description of who I am. Instead of focussing on the experiences that I could be having, I waste my efforts on the potential of my options.

Shit of it is, I thought I had it right. I thought that I was being calculated, rational, flexible, and accommodating. Turns out, I wasn’t.

The lenses on my glasses have to be as clean as possible. I clean them a few times throughout the day. I don’t like having anything interrupting my vision. It doesn’t help me see what’s happening behind my vision. My glasses corrected my view of the world I see but not of the world that I live in.

“No, I don’t want you to try on my glasses.”


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