More often than not, anxiety is an inward struggle. Thousands of people deal with anxiety and self-confidence issues on a daily basis, but the people around them may have no way of knowing the challenges they face. Because others are unaware of their struggles, people with anxiety may feel isolated, misunderstood, and possibly even judged. These feelings often contribute to increased feelings of anxiety and lack of self-confidence, which only perpetuates the problem.
In my work as a mental health counselor, I have worked with several people who felt stuck in this downward spiral. I generally don’t talk about myself, unless I think my personal story will benefit a client. However, I have had personal experience relating to inward anxiety and self-confidence struggles, and this week I would like to share my story with you.
I was in a serious car accident almost two years ago. It changed my life in ways that no one can understand unless they’ve been through it. I “look fine.” I don’t walk around telling the world that I’m in pain. In spite of this stoic demeanor, however, every day is its own challenge.
Last week I went hiking in the mountains with a group of friends. I have always been more of the “outdoorsy type,” and I truly enjoy the opportunity to get outside and be active. I felt great when we started, but as we hiked, I could feel myself growing weaker. We took a few breaks, but eventually it became clear that I needed to allow my body to rest. Finally, I bit the bullet and told everyone I’d sit back and wait for them. The athlete in me was screaming, “You can do it! Keep going!” but I listened to my body instead. Catching my breath on the side of the trail, I watched everyone else continue on without me.
Eventually, they returned and we finished the walk back down the mountain together. On our way back down, one of the guys in our group (a serious athlete) said to me:
It takes more guts to do that than to keep going.”
It’s easy for me to help others, but it’s much harder for me to identify the patterns at play when I’m dealing with them myself. Hearing his words of encouragement felt so good. I was really sick the entire day as it was, and who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t allowed myself to rest. I’m grateful that I listened to my body and stopped when I needed to stop, and I’m incredibly grateful to my friend for offering me those few words of encouragement. It served as an important reminder that doing the right thing usually means doing the harder thing.
Everyone Is Facing A Battle We Know Nothing About
The truth is that everyone is facing an internal, silent struggle – even the people who seem to have their lives perfectly together. The shining star in your office may come home to an abusive partner, or the beautiful girl next door may force herself to throw up after every meal in order to maintain her figure. It’s impossible to know what battles the people around us are facing, but sometimes all it takes is one voice to make a world of difference.
Be The Difference In Other People’s Lives!
Helping other people overcome their personal struggles is immeasurably rewarding. It may be impossible to predict when someone is truly in need of emotional reinforcement, but you can never go wrong with offering a sincere compliment or a few words of encouragement. As an online mental health therapist who has personally experienced the power of unexpected affirmation, I can promise you – it means more than you can possibly imagine.