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From Teens

A healing of social anxiety

From the October 21, 2019 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


During my sophomore year of high school, I really struggled with self-confidence. It was hard to talk to people because I felt shy, anxious, and uncomfortable. 

My dad, who is not a Christian Scientist, tried to help by encouraging me to talk to people with whom I wasn’t close or didn’t feel comfortable. While I was able to put on a façade of confidence, it didn’t solve the problem, and I ended up feeling like I wasn’t being honest about who I was. 

So, socially things were hard. I felt like everyone around me was progressing, and I was just staying the same. My friends started to make new friends I didn’t know and, honestly, didn’t really care to get to know. 

All of this turned my self-doubt into self-loathing. Whenever I had free time to think, my thoughts would inevitably return to the suggestion that I was a failure and always would be. It wasn’t long before the self-loathing turned into depression, and my family started to get worried. My dad decided it would be a good idea to take me out of school. My mom, who is a Christian Scientist, encouraged me to rely on what I’d learned in Christian Science to better understand my value and my place in the world. I temporarily stopped attending my high school and traveled to the other side of the country. 

Every morning I spent two hours by myself out on the water, thinking about God’s love and care for me and trying to understand how to find healing. I’d had small healings before, like when I’d been sick or gotten hurt, but those had seemed more obvious somehow in terms of what I needed to pray about. In this case, I wasn’t even sure where to begin. I felt confident about my appearance and had good grades, good friends, and an amazing life. But still, I hated myself. I didn’t know how to change that. 

It became effortless to talk with people, because nothing was holding me back anymore.

I had spent days trying to understand what I was doing wrong, when a thought struck me out of nowhere: God didn’t make me wrong. God is pure good, pure Love. He couldn’t make wrong, so where was the “wrong” coming from? The answer was so clear to me: The “wrong” wasn’t coming from anywhere because there wasn’t anywhere it could come from. This passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy sums up my realization: “God is the creator of man, and, the divine Principle of man remaining perfect, the divine idea or reflection, man, remains perfect” (p. 470).

I realized that no matter how real the self-loathing seemed, it had no source or power, and therefore no sway over me. That was all it took. With that one inspired thought from God, the constant self-doubt was gone. I was so happy to be me and to understand that there is nothing that can stop or interfere with the joy God is expressing in me. 

When I returned home, people began to notice my new demeanor, and students I didn’t know would approach me and say things like, “I love your smile.” Or, “You always seem like you’re having fun even when things are boring. How do you do that?” It became effortless to talk with people, because nothing was holding me back anymore.

This was all the result of prayer. I learned that the good I reflect from God can never be overshadowed. It’s what’s real and true about me, and the moment I recognized that, I was completely free. Today I’m a much happier person, and my confidence is soaring. I’m so grateful for this healing.

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