Sometimes You Need to Face and Embrace Your Fears

We all have fears in life, some of which are somewhat irrational (I still check behind doors to make sure velociraptors aren’t there) and some that are a bit more legitimate (maybe you’re afraid of heights or animals that are actually still in existence).

While I don’t think we need to subject ourselves to all of the things that scare the daylight out of us (for instance, if you are terrified of snakes, don’t feel like you need to go stand in a field full of them just to see how brave you are), some of our fears definitely need to be faced and conquered.

Cue my freshman year of high school.

When I was a teenager (and for much of my 20s, actually), the thought of letting my crushes know that I had feelings for them made me queasy. I started sweating at the mere idea that someone would know a piece of my heart belonged to him, and I did everything I could to make sure he never found out. The risk of rejection and being hurt was simply too much for my naïve heart to handle.

There was a moment during my freshman year of high school when I had to make a choice to face my fears or to run away. Unfortunately, I chose the latter. I had left my English class to go to the restroom and was walking through an empty hall on my way back. But then the hall wasn’t empty at all—the guy I’d had feelings for since forever ago was walking the opposite way down the hallway.

My stomach immediately started doing flips and flops that even Olympic gymnasts wouldn’t dare attempt.

I had a decision to make: I could either keep walking and say “hi” to him, or I could keep walking right by him and not acknowledge him at all. I chose neither—I hid. I dodged into the nearest classroom, which happened to be a science classroom full of seniors, and stood with my back against the door as the confused sets of eyes all started at me. I glanced over at the teacher and said something along the lines of “just give me a minute,” and I waited until I was pretty sure that unsuspecting boy had passed. Then I bolted.

What would have been so bad about having to interact with someone I had feelings for when we were all alone in a hallway? Looking back, it seems so silly. All I had to say was one word—one simple syllable—and I couldn’t even do that. I let my fears get the best of me, even though saying “hi” would not have given him the impression that I adored him, and I hid in a room full of upperclassmen who likely thought I had lost my mind. I’m glad that their opinions were the least of my concerns, but I’m not proud of the fact that I cared so much about what one freshman boy thought of me.

It took years, but I finally grew out of that ridiculously long stage, and now I am not so afraid of talking to guys who have captured my attention. In fact, I’ve even put my heart on the line in more than one situation by telling guys exactly how I felt for them. I survived those moments, and I even survived the ones that ended in my risky heart shattering.

Ladies, don’t let fear grip you so tightly that it keeps you from going after the things your heart wants. You’re worth too much to spend your life wondering about what would have happened if you were bolder in certain moments of your life.

And you certainly don’t belong standing with your back to a door as opportunity passes you by.

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