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The Two Positive Gifts My Social Anxiety Gave Me

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I’ve lived my whole life with social anxiety, and over time I learned to hate it. There were too many challenges. I had trouble talking in school. I couldn’t stand up for myself. Every small mistake was agonizingly embarrassing and made me want to disappear. I couldn’t get a job. I had difficulty relaxing. In short, I couldn’t live my life the way I wanted to.

Now, I’m tackling my social anxiety head on and doing things I never dreamed were possible for me, with the help of therapy and medication. It’s as if my life suddenly turned from a nightmare to a dream.

If I could go back and change the past, would I remove my social anxiety? No, I would leave everything just how it is because it made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.

When you take away the anxiety, the two gifts I’m left with are my empathy and resilience.

I often call myself an empath, simply because I am fine-tuned to the emotions of others. I have the wonderful ability to absorb their joys and sorrows like a sponge. I feel the emotions of others so that no matter what they are experiencing, they don’t have to experience it alone. I will understand any mistake and pass no judgement. I enjoy helping others and making them happy.

And I am resilient because I have been in so many situations that I thought I would not survive, but I did anyways. I now know my own strength, and that makes me unstoppable.

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Thinkstock photo by ipopba

Originally published: March 17, 2017
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