Using anxiety for personal growth

Using anxiety for personal growth

by Muhaimin X 18 Jan 2020

There are moments in life when it feels like you are being placed in a dark room with nothing but your thoughts beating and scaring you towards the path of overthinking. Anxiety is never a pleasant sensation and can often leave one feeling overwhelmed and utterly defenceless. Yet, we must realise that the corner in our minds is often one of our own making. As philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti states: "If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoing is a transformation."


Despite anxiety’s weakening effects, it can be used as a tool to effect positive change and growth. Such moments of doubt and confusion can be treated as opportunities for introspection and to realise our own internal solutions. It is an empowering feeling, allowing you to take a two-pronged approach to dealing with your anxieties: discovering your answer and understanding that you have the ability to define them in a way that makes sense to you.


1. Learn to put yourself first.

Start by empathising with yourself because anxiety can be treated as a pathway towards self-kindness. We all know how terrible it feels to be treated a certain way, to be seen as an outcast and treated as a pariah. Social environments play a huge part in influencing our mental wellness. Yet, when you see yourself as someone that matters, you learn to deal with your emotions and issues without outside influence. This creates a precedent for putting your needs first when it matters.


2. You're allowed to feel and react

Sometimes, societal pressure can impede your own feelings for yourself. We all live in a world where expressing your feelings can be construed and mislabelled as incessant whining, hyper-sensitivity or complaining. However, telling someone about how you feel can be cathartic and it makes you understand yourself better. You don’t have to act in a way that is outright unnatural for yourself, but learning to break free from inhibitive social conditioning means that you’re able to express and process your emotions in a way that doesn’t end up feedbacking upon itself.


3. Be comfortable with yourself

Anxiety often causes us to think about how some parts of ourselves fall short of being acceptable or "good enough." Whether it’s about how you think or look, it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of being something you’re not for the sake of others. The fact that all of us are unique individuals is something that deserves to be celebrated and embraced. Instead of worrying about how others perceive you, adopt a “so what” attitude instead. After all, no one’s asking you to be friends with people who don’t really get you in the first place. If you’re there to simply do a job, just get it done the way you planned and let nature take its course.


The world can be a scary place at times and it can throw some genuinely frightening people your way, but it’s nothing worth freaking out over! Finding one’s way through life becomes a lot simpler when you learn to grow into the cracks that pop up along the way. Don’t let your anxieties become your glass ceiling – smash through them and aim for the sky!