A man behind me in the checkout at the grocery store seemed very rushed to me. I was taking my own OCD time to get my items on the conveyor belt the way I wanted them. And they were still finishing up with the lady in front of me, so I thought I had some time. And it really doesn’t take me that much time anyhow. But he seemed a little agitated and it felt like he really wanted to get his stuff on the belt ASAP.
Then I finished and the clerk started with me and my items started moving to free up space. At that point I realized the problem was not that he felt I was taking up too much time or space, but that he needed even more time and space – because he was very extreme OCD! He wasn’t just organizing his items – he was putting each item down in exacting fashion, all totally lined up precisely and never touching.
He was likely never concerned about me at all. He was simply anxious because of his own peculiarities. And that really is what anxiety is about – our own fears. We may tell ourselves its what others think about us, or even our own perceived shortcomings. But its actually about our not adequately coming to terms with our own peculiarities. Anxiety is really just about not completely accepting ourselves.