The only time that you should ever be looking back is to see how far you’ve come. The reality is, that for many of us, each and everyday we must overcome small obstacles in order to be the best versions of ourselves. The following AskReddit users open about the small victories they have made that signify a move in the right direction and personal growth.
Source list available at the end.
I was an intense germophobe. I couldn’t touch anything. My hands were burned from all of the hot water, and I could barely pick up a piece of paper in class. I wouldn’t shake hands with anyone. I could barely even turn on the shower. I couldn’t even put on my clothes without taking a long time. I realized that it was going to kill me at some point because I couldn’t eat. I eventually was able to function normally again. I read up on the immune system and all that, and it helped ease my mind about touching things. I had avoided contact with people for roughly a year-and-a-half. Then one day, I got up and hugged my mother before work. She was shocked. I shook my dad’s hand, and he smiled back because he knew how far I’d come. I also punched my brothers, that one felt good.
As I kid, I had a really bad speech impediment. I was ashamed to talk to anyone. When I was twenty, I was elected president of the debate team.
After 10 months in a wheel chair, I walked around the block today. I’ve been walking around my apartment (max 10 to 15 steps) for about 2 weeks now. Tonight was the first time that I went for a walk outside. It was rough. I had to sit down a lot and I’m winded, but I did it.
Everyday that I don’t drink is a little victory. It seems like everything is a trigger and the urge to pick up the bottle is always looming, but I’ve been sober since August 18th and I plan on keeping it that way. Has it been a long time? No, not by any means. In fact, I fear having a relapse all the time. But with perseverance, motivation, and pure stubbornness I intend to conquer my addiction from here on out.
I took a one semester of public speaking classes in school. It changed my life. One the first day, I was shaking, stuttering, and staring at the ground. By the last day, I gave a speech with only 5 minutes prep and managed to command the room and make everyone laugh. Practice makes perfect.
I’m still alive.
I failed the 9th and 10th grade. So getting into college was an accomplishment for me. Graduating on time with 3 majors and 2 minors was even better…
I am no longer keeping track of how long it’s been since I last cut myself. I realized today that I no longer remember when the last time was and that to me is a victory in itself. I think my next relapse is either a long way off or non-existent. Hopefully the latter.
A few years ago, I couldn’t even say the word “Cancer” without believing I would get it by doing so. Now, I can say it without a sense of doom. No one would probably understand, but this was a huge victory for me.
When I entered high school, my self-esteem was terrible. As a result, my sense of humor revolved around self-degradation and making fun of myself. Now, although I’m still somewhat shy and self-conscious, I’m a lot more confident, and I usually joke about something more positive.
Last spring, I suddenly developed an extreme anxiety disorder. One day, I started feeling panicked, and it wouldn’t go away. I had a constant feeling that the world was ending. The first few days, before I told anyone, were the worst. I was curled in a ball on the sofa and telling everyone that the reason I looked sick and wasn’t eating was from the flu instead. Luckily, my mom noticed something was wrong quickly, and I got help shortly after. In all, it was only about 5 months, but it felt so much longer. I lost 15 pounds in the first few weeks, and I’m an average weight, so it’s not like I had a lot of excess to lose. I’ve been to therapy, been put on different meds that made me feel like nothing was real, and been through a personal hell.
A few months ago, I couldn’t even leave the sofa, let alone leave my house. I went back to school this fall, even though it was really hard for me. I’ve even traveled to the beach and to a concert. They’re small victories, but I’m so proud of myself because I thought about giving up so many times, but I told myself that I never would. I’m so close to being myself again.
I’ve come to terms with who I am. I’m a little crazy, a little lonely, and a little irrational, but I’m starting to accept that and have that shape my future. I am also using it to achieve my goals, whatever that is. I really have no idea as of now.
After a year and a half of fairly consistent attempts, I’ve finally written and produced a song that I’m truly proud of.
After nearly failing my Excel class in college, I retaught myself everything and rebuilt a spreadsheet at work. I try to tell people about it, but no one gets excited about it. I even managed to come up with formulas and structures that my old Excel teacher didn’t think were possible to use. It feels good, man.
I look at myself in the gym mirror and am finally starting to see my body shape up the way that I want it to, and my gut is pretty much non-existent.
I developed anxiety/panic attacks from PTSD when I was a freshman in high school. The anxiety went misdiagnosed (the doctors kept telling me that I was depressed, but I knew that I wasn’t) for years. It wasn’t until a few years later that I connected the dots, and someone told me about anxiety related to PTSD. For years, I had daily or at least weekly panic/anxiety attacks. The first time I moved out on my own, I was so anxious I couldn’t even leave the house. For a bit, I was on anti-anxiety meds. I honestly only used them if I had to, and I worked really hard on finding my triggers and dealing with them. Four years later, I can say I am now essentially panic attack free, and whenever I start to get anxious, I can manage it without medication.
I have issues with remembering and saying nouns. Anytime that I can complete a sentence without going “umm” and/or “uhh” for a few seconds is a plus.
Every time I go three days without drinking alcohol, I consider it a personal victory.
Every single time that I order my own food, it’s a big victory for me. Not so long ago, I would have rather starved than had to interact with strangers.
I just recently joined a Toastmasters club in my area about 2 months ago, and it’s probably one of best things I’ve done to improve myself. I’m extremely shy and terrified of speaking in front of people, but as a business student in my third year, I’m having to make a ton of presentations for almost every class now. To get over my fears of socializing and speaking in front of others, as well as, to get better at networking or interviews, I joined Toastmasters (at the recommendation of one of my teachers who I greatly respect). It was honestly the best thing I could’ve done. I’m not only getting better at all of the things I actually wanted to work on, I have a lot of fun too, and I’ve made some great friends.
I used to have trouble sleeping because of my anxiety, but I’ve learned how to realize when I’m feeling on edge, settle myself down, and get to sleep. That doesn’t mean I always get to bed on time now, but at least, it’s not because of that.
From elementary school to middle school, I was fairly awkward, nerdy, and shy. I had very few friends and all of them were from baseball. Talking to girls wasn’t even tangible to me. I had a bowl cut and lacked social skills. Now, I am a junior in high school with plenty of friends, no bowl cut, I play baseball on Varsity, and I have little trouble with girls (I have a really good one right now) Little do they know about what I went through, and the low self-esteem that I used to have through then (and still have every once in a while).
I’ve been sober from coke, alcohol, and self-injury for 2 years and, in that time, I’ve not had one bipolar symptom.
Two years ago, I got some shirts from my girlfriend’s little brother. He had gotten two big for them, and I was smaller than he was at the time. I couldn’t even get them on (much less wear them), nonetheless, I kept them. Today I tried them on, and they fit like a glove. This just reminded me of how much progress I’ve made in the past few months.
As a child, I had such bad OCD and anxiety that I started to pull out my hair. This resulted in spots that were hard to hide. Nowadays, I get complemented on my thick head of hair all of the time.
Going into college, I was your typical introverted, socially awkward engineering student. I started taking dance classes specifically with the intention of building my comfort in social situations (among the other benefits).
Just a few months in, I had a fellow be genuinely surprised when I told her that I was an electrical engineering major because, “You guys are usually really awkward.”
I haven’t had a drink in 388 days. Whenever I go to the supermarket, I stand in the beer isle for a minute or two just to prove to myself that I can. I walk out of there feeling like Clark Kent.
Post are edited for clarity.