The forums helped me understand the importance of anonymity and being able to speak freely. I had no one in my life that I could talk to about my politics or my fucked up sense of humor without fear of them abandoning me or turning on me. On the forums I can speak my mind, make crass jokes, and outside of pissing off an autist I don't have to worry about someone ending my career because I made a joke about women.
It helped open me up to different viewpoints and ideals that I would not have normally been exposed to if I had kept exclusively to Twitter or other circles. It also helped me to grow thicker skin and not take everything as seriously.
Also, as someone who, a very long time ago, had thoughts of getting deep into the furry fandom, the farms' threads and discussions about the matter has shown that I'm better off keeping a distance from that shit and that the drama surrounding it can actually be pretty fucking funny at times.
It's certainly made me a lot more cognizant of the dangers of oversharing. Most of the lolcows on this site wouldn't be here if they just shut the hell up and stopped sharing details of their life story.
I hate trannies more than I did. Also made me make a greater effort towards protecting my identity online. Not that I ever posted anything that'd get me a thread here, it's just a good measure to take.
No matter how weird and abnormal I think I am or how bad the various situations in my life are, the farms have given me comfort in the fact that there are many examples that I and my situations could have turned out waaaaaay fucking worse. It's also taught me how to take better stock in who I am and what warning signs I need to look out for when it comes to hanging out with other people
I used to be a holier than thou piece of shit, now I'm a piece of shit that calls people out for acting like retards regardless of which side they're on because letting that shit fester hurts everybody. Basically, I'm an hero.
The farms also taught me, more than any piece of media, that you shouldn't trust people just because you like them. Everyone is a lolcow, the variable is if/when they get milked.