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Learning to heal in Final Fantasy XIV helped me gain confidence outside of the game, too – Destructoid

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During my time playing Final Fantasy XIV, I’ve overcome a lot of anxiety. Not just in the game but also outside of it, and certain things that I’ve experienced within Eorzea have transferred into real life. 

Of course,, the story and characters stay with me; their words echo around my mind during times when I’m struggling. But things that I’ve managed to achieve during my game time have given me pause for thought in the real world as well. If I can overcome things that terrify me and push me in Eorzea, surely I can push myself in real life. 

I’ve already talked about my experience overcoming tank anxiety in FFXIV before going on to be a Dark Knight main. That experience, in a strange way, taught me about taking life by the horns and doing things that push your boundaries. Healing, on the other hand, is something that I once found truly terrifying and had zero confidence doing. 

Playing as a White Mage in Final Fantasy XIV
Screenshot by Destructoid

Except now, all of my healer jobs are sitting at level 90, and I’m actually excited to increase them all to level 100 when Dawntrail drops at the end of June. I’m more than happy to jump into any content as a healer, though I might fumble my buttons to start with if it’s been a while. Getting to this point, though, was not easy. 

I actually started playing Final Fantasy XIV as a healer. A Conjurer, to be precise. The trouble was, I had never played an MMO before and I had no idea that playing that job would place me in a party as the healer for everyone else involved. The green icon didn’t give me any clues, either. Like I said, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even take the hint when I started to gain healing spells, simply thinking, “well, that might come in useful one day,” while going about my day using Stone and Aero to take down foes I encountered, like an idiot. 

Playing as a White Mage in Final Fantasy XIV
Screenshot by Destructoid

It wasn’t until I queued, on my own, for Sashtasha that I discovered the weight that I’d taken upon myself by choosing the Conjurer class. I didn’t know I was supposed to be healing, I didn’t know that was my role, but it quickly dawned on me when the party died and everyone blamed me. I’m not ashamed to admit that I dropped the dungeon and all but ran to the first city-state on the teleport list to pick up a new class, which ended up being Rogue. 

And so it went on, I leveled Rogue and all of my other DPS classes, including ones which unlock later like Samurai and Dancer. My Conjurer remained at around level 19 for over a year, untouched and feared. Then, and if you’ve read my tank anxiety article, you’ll know what’s coming: my FC at the time got involved and pushed me to pick up Conjurer again. Thankfully, this was before the tanking experience, and they were much gentler with me than they went on to be with the whole Paglth’an debacle. 

White Mage in Final Fantasy XIV
Screenshot by Destructoid

It started with FATEs, something that I could do without worrying too much about those around me. We ran up and down Western La Noscea, taking on every FATE we encountered, which not only gave me experience but also levels and new spells to go with them. I very slowly started to actually heal the people around me, though learning how to juggle DPS and healing was definitely a learning curve. Pretty soon, I was level 30 and able to go and pick up my Job Stone, turning myself into a White Mage. 

By this point, the notion of healing wasn’t horrifically scary to me anymore, though I was far from good at it. But I still avoided it as much as I could. Eventually, I left that FC for one reason or another and set out on my own for a long time, not healing but also not fearful of it, until I saw someone with a specific weapon which I absolutely fell in love with — Canopus Lux. 

Canopus Lux Astrologian weapon in Final Fantasy XIV
Screenshot by Destructoid

This weapon is beautiful; there’s no denying that. Like the Amaro mount, which eventually drove me to tanking, this weapon was the driving force behind my finally overcoming the barrier that was keeping me from healing—my own lack of confidence. 

And I did. I swallowed my pride, I picked up Astrologian, and I apologized to everyone I ended up with in a dungeon, telling them that they would likely die and they were welcome to kick me if they wanted to. I wasn’t griefing, I was just terrible at healing. Those first dungeons were hard, but I never got kicked. Like with my tanking journey, most people were very understanding, and some even gave incredibly helpful advice. Slowly, I gained confidence, but also skill. 

Manderville Sage weapons in Final Fantasy XIV
Screenshot by Destructoid

Eventually, I started to crave the rush that healing gave me. I’m not saying that I enjoy having people’s lives in my hands, but I enjoy being able to keep people alive and prolonging the battle long enough to win. It’s a thrill, and I’ve since learned that, like tanking, the different healing Jobs aren’t all that dissimilar to each other. Of course, each has its own nuances, but they follow the same pattern – if people are dying, you heal. If people are good, you do DPS. 

With all that said, I’m never going to be a particularly good healer. I know what I’m doing, and I can keep people alive while doing some damage, but I still get confused between green and pink cards while playing Astrologian (I’m not looking forward to having to relearn the Job after its Dawntrail overhaul), I still accidentally spam Cure sometimes when playing White Mage and I’ll admit that I fall into the trap of over-reliance on Holy. 

Playing as Sage in Final Fantasy XIV
Screenshot by Destructoid

Sage is my strongest healer, and if I have to heal, it’s the Job I will always choose. If you asked me to play Astrologian or White Mage right now, I’d have to ask for 10 minutes with a training dummy to figure out what I was doing, and if you wanted me to play Scholar, I’d be clueless because I’ve always leveled it through Summoner. Like I said, I’m not a good ‘all-around’ healer, but if you want a Sage, I can do that for you. 

I also introduced my fiancé to Sage, which is now his main Job alongside my Dark Knight. He, too, was terrified of healing, but thanks to my own experience overcoming that fear, I could help him overcome it, too. I’ve helped others beside him, as well, thanks to my Mentor status. Talking of which, I was playing as a healer when I finally gained enough Commendations to pick up the crown, which makes the role pretty special to me. 

Playing as Astrologian in Final Fantasy XIV
Screenshot by Destructoid

Now, how has all this helped me in the real world? Well, I’ve learned that while new things might be scary at first, there’s a lot of enjoyment that can be gained through learning how to do something. Gaining the confidence to try and ultimately do pretty well at something that absolutely terrified me in FFXIV showed me that learning something new doesn’t have to be something that I fear. I don’t need to shy away from something just because I don’t fully understand it. Figuring out how to do something isn’t just rewarding, but the experience of learning itself can be fun. 

While my healing experience in FFXIV hasn’t caused me to go out and train to be a doctor in real life, it has given me a new perspective. I stopped shying away from bettering myself and took on training courses and new opportunities, including writing, which previously scared me to death. 

Fear is natural, but it doesn’t have to define your actions, and you shouldn’t let it. What was it that Eleanor Roosevelt said? “Do one thing every day that scares you”. Your comfort zone may be cozy, but going beyond it is what helps us to grow.


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