I know I should be starting off 2021 with a New Year post (though you should be warned, there won’t be much of the ‘New Year, New Me’ energy that you might see elsewhere), but since I started a new job this week, I wanted to touch on nerves and being nervous. People’s relationships with these feelings can be tenuous and stressful, and those experiences can continue to dictate how we allow ourselves to feel about nerves. This week, I was (and am) definitely feeling nervous, and for good reason. But for the first time in awhile, there’s a sense of positivity to that feeling that I don’t experience often, and I think it’s not only related to this new opportunity, but also reflects how I’m changing my relationship with nerves.
It doesn’t take a therapist to understand why people who live with anxiety don’t enjoy being nervous. Besides the actually anxiety-inducer that a situation presents, it also creates feelings of nervousness and tension that need to be acknowledged and/or managed. I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but sometime during my mental health journey, I developed an unrealistic (and unhealthy) relationship with the concept of being nervous. Nerves were something to be feared and something to avoid. Feeling nervous meant another round of dealing with anxiety spirals or falling into a depressive mood.
The majority of the time, those feelings had very little to do with the situation itself – sometimes, the situation wasn’t even relevant. Things developed into me being annoyed by any feelings of nervousness that would come by way, good or bad. And that’s what made the new, nervous energy I’ve felt this week so exciting. It’s different. It’s a chance to develop a better relationship with my nerves. To a greater extent, it’s a chance to also develop a better relationship with my anxiety.
This might seem obvious to some (or most) of you reading this, but a good kind of nervous really exists. I don’t mean a positive way of feeling, but being able to but a positive spin on how you feel. Why am I nervous? Because there’s an exciting opportunity in front of me. There’s a new chance where I can do improve in many ways, and I think what’s exciting to me is an opportunity to actually be myself – something that can be rare to find.
That doesn’t mean anxieties and insecurities go away; in fact, I’ll like create new ones. But giving context to my nerves takes away some of the fear, and lets me dive into a situation ready to be myself in as many ways as I can. And that’s a new, wonderful feeling for me.