I know what you are thinking. Seriously, how can anyone wish for that?! Who wants a world full of suffering teens who are ridden with irrational worries? A world where teens are paralyzed 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.
In my therapy practice, I have sat across teens with all sorts of issues year after year. I have listened to the oppositional teen. I have tried to help the unfocused teen. I have problem-solved with the depressed teen. But it is the anxious teens who remain in my heart and in my memory.
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 their 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 causes them to be anxious, helps them to be considerate.
The same genetics that causes them to feel self-conscious, gives them the awareness to notice when other people are upset.
The world could use more kind, considerate, empathic 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 affected those around them? If everyone thought of other people, and not just themselves? I would love that kind of world!
Anxiety is a package deal. We cannot separate out those wonderful qualities from the nasty beast of anxiety – I wish we could, but we can’t.
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 that they have much to offer the world. That they are special. That along with their anxiety comes some beautiful qualities. Beautiful qualities that will shine, once the clouds of anxiety are lifted.
Do you know an amazing anxious teen? What wonderful qualities do they have? Share in the comments.
Know someone who has an anxious teen with these wonderful qualities? Share this article with those that love them!
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A teen support book on anxiety that your kid will actually read:
If you are at a loss as to how to help your child manage anxiety, take the e-course Teach Your Kids to Crush Anxiety taught by a child therapist. Learn all the tools she teaches kids and teach them to your child. You don’t have to feel powerless.
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