I know what you’re thinking. Who wants a world full of struggling teens, who are ridden with irrational worries? A world where teens are frozen with fear and avoidance? But if you know teens with anxiety, you also know a different side of them.
Along with a heightened sense of awareness, comes a heightened sense of empathy.
Along with the burden of being emotionally sensitive, comes the desire to not hurt other people’s feelings.
Along with the fear of what other people think, comes the desire to make other people feel good.
Along with a tendency to be overly cautious, comes the ability to problem-solve.
Along with a keen awareness of others, comes the ability to pick up on other people’s emotions.
Along with the impulse to keep life from feeling chaotic, comes great organizational skills.
Along with being hurt by other people’s actions, comes a selfless, giving friend.
They are the ones who always remembered my name and asked how I was doing. They are the ones who refused to say anything mean to bullies because they didn’t want to hurt their feelings. They are the ones who spent some of their session worried about people other than themselves. They are the ones who offered comfort and advice to their friends. They are the ones who warned their friends when they had unsafe ideas. They are the ones who saved their money to buy family presents. They are the ones who talked about how to make the world a better place.
Yes, the world needs more people like them. You see, despite their anxiety, their inner beauty radiates. The same genetics that cause them to be anxious helps them be considerate. The same genetics that cause them to feel self-conscious gives them the awareness to notice when other people are upset.
The world could use more kind, considerate and empathetic people. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone had the ability to be tuned in to other people’s emotions? If everyone had the awareness of how their behavior affects those around them? If everyone thought of other people, and not just themselves? I would love that kind of world!
Anxiety can be a package deal, and these wonderful qualities sometimes go hand-in-hand with the nasty beast. But we can teach our teens to crush their anxiety. We can give them the tools to obliterate the dictator in their head, so they have an opportunity to let those wonderful qualities shine.
We can teach them they have much to offer the world. That they are special. That along with their anxiety comes some beautiful qualities, qualities that will shine, once the clouds of anxiety are lifted.