13 Fears To Conquer Before You Turn 30
Many of us are led through life by the crippling grip of fear. Before every opportunity, before every decision, before every step, is fear — stubborn and static. It squanders our confidence, belittles our sense of self, and keeps us from getting to know ourselves. Some of us are born with it, some of us have mustered it, all of us struggle with it.
As a child, I never thought of myself as a fearful person. I was always relatively outgoing, and would try anything to make my friends laugh. But when I found myself in my mid-20s, fighting for a relationship that was being called to an end when my fears got in the way of it, it was time for some reevaluation. While the relationship might not have been meant to be — I like to think that the right partner would have stuck it out — the fact that my fears were getting in the way of my life and my happiness really bothered me.
The only problem was, I didn't understand my fears, or the roots of them. Was I scared of swimming in the ocean because I thought it was dangerous? Or was I scared of making myself look silly because I've become insecure? After taking the time to sort through it with a therapist, I came to realize that the root of most of my fears stemmed from embarrassment — a theory that contradicted the carefree nature of my childhood. The fear of failing and what losses that might entail, kept me from trying. If you don't try, you can't fail, I told myself. The problem is, the definition of failure is "the state of not functioning." Not trying is not functioning.
And so I've made a pact with myself to work on conquering my fears before I turn 30 — not because it's an arbitrary age, rather because I don't want to waste one more year of my life not trying and letting fear define me. These are 13 fears to conquer before 30:
Fear Of Failure
It's scary to put yourself out there and put in a solid effort, because it if doesn't work out, it might hurt, it might feel like a loss. But failure builds character and teaches you more about yourself than anything. If you try something and fail, there's always something else to try. Failing doesn't hurt as much as missed opportunities.
Fear Of Making A Fool Of Yourself
Don't allow yourself to feel like a fool. If you have a good attitude and believe in yourself, it's hard to embarrass yourself. You're your own harshest critic. You can slip on a banana peel and turn red, or you can slip on a banana peel and laugh it off. It's all about how you respond to yourself. You can't take yourself seriously all the time.
Fear Of Rejection
Rejection hurts. Sometimes it can feel debilitating and make you regret putting yourself out there. But rejection is part of the process. It helps guide us towards what's best for us. And rejection goes both ways — you have to have the attitude that if someone doesn't want you, they're not right for you and it's their loss. Sometimes the truth is hard to digest, but it's always what's best.
Fear Of Intimacy
If you want to be intimate with someone, sharing your body with someone and developing a sexual relationship with them can be terrifying. But depriving yourself of something you want out of fear of being judged is a waste of the precious time you have, and a waste of the one body you were given. There will be plenty of reasons to hesitate when it comes to intimacy — don't let your confidence be one of them.
Fear Of Commitment
Maybe your mother told you never to put all your eggs in one basket. Maybe you're unsure of the future. Commitment is never not a risk, to some degree, but if you trust your instincts, you won't make the wrong choice. There's always a way out. Even tattoos can be removed!
Fear Of Heights
This can be a totally rational fear. Great heights are often great dangers. But conquering a fear of irrational heights like rooftops and hiking trails is a must. Allow yourself to see the world from above, because there's nothing more humbling. Find someone you trust and go on a safe hike and take in the views.
Irrational Fear Of Animals
Some animals, like poisonous snakes and spiders, are meant to scare us. It's an evolutionary fear that protects our survival. But fear of benign animals can keep you from living a carefree life. If you were bitten by a dog and are now skittish around them, take the time and the patience with yourself to work through the fear. A dog might be the best addition to your life you never considered.
Fear Of Public Speaking
The body can have a very strong reaction to public speaking. Sometimes your heart races, your skin flushes, your lungs tighten, and you feel like you literally cannot speak in front of people. Try working on this in front of small groups over time. The fear of sharing your voice with the world will keep you from connecting with people who might enrich your life.
Fear Of Honesty
Nothing makes you feel exposed like telling the truth. Work on getting over your insecurities about the things that make you you, and get more comfortable with sharing the truth. If someone decides they don't like you after hearing the truth, they're not meant to be in your life.
Fear Of Flying
This fear will keep you from getting out there and seeing the world. Study the statistics, take short flights, work on relaxation and mediation. You only get one life, don't waste it being scared of what might happen on your way to living it.
Fear Of Getting Hurt
This is a rational fear. Of course we should be scared of getting hurt, but not so much that we cease to live our lives. Life will give you scrapes and bruises, but it might be better to rough up your knees while you're young and limber than regretting taking more chances when you're older.
Fear Of Social Situations
Social anxiety is so crippling. But staying home and turning down plans because you're scared of what it will feel like to be around people only perpetuates the condition. Slowly and steadily give yourself exposure therapy and immerse yourself into a social life. The more you spend time with people, the more comfortable you'll be around them. And though you might feel like the only person in the room who is uncomfortable, if you take the time to talk to people, you'll soon find that most people feel the same way.
Fear Of Happiness
No one wants to be the happy idiot. Being happy is being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is opening yourself up to joy, but also harm. I've spent so many years being scared of identifying happiness for the fear of how it might feel if it's taken away. But it's better to risk giving into happiness than never letting yourself feel it at all.