The Amazing Thing That Happened When I Stopped Being Afraid of Everything

Stress is really just fear — fear of not making a deadline, fear of failure, fear of not making enough money, and fear of not feeling good enough.

If stress is, in fact, in direct correlation with fear, how do we train our minds to stop fear before that all too familiar and uneasy feeling of stress takes over?

When my confidence became (very unexpectedly) compromised a few years ago, I felt lost, numb and most of all, scared. I literally did not recognize the person in the mirror and I didn’t know how to come back to life.

Granted, I was experiencing multiple life transitions, all at once, which I knew was the root cause of that lost confidence and that feeling of worthlessness — But I had no idea how to get it back. Would I get it back?

Being confident was my thing. It was what everyone around me praised me for. Only at the time (which was quite literally my entire life before it suddenly vanished) I didn’t even realize that having confidence was a compliment, or even something that others didn’t possess because it was simply who I was. It came naturally.

Upon realization that confidence comes and goes, and is largely dependent on one’s mindset, I made the decision to get it back, since it wasn’t coming back on its own.

I started doing things that made me feel like me again. I took time to figure out what genuinely made me happy instead of focusing on why I couldn’t figure it out. I spoke up when I wanted to instead of staying quiet out of fear that what came out of my mouth wouldn’t be smart enough. I wasn’t letting other people’s opinions dictate my behavior anymore. I told my friends I was struggling with this internal battle, which admitting out loud to people I trusted was the freeing feeling I was so desperate to find.

The ironic thing is that what got me over that incessant feeling of fear came from doing the scariest thing of all — I let people know that I was hurting. Admitting defeat opened my eyes to the reality that everyone has fears, and moments where their self-esteem is destroyed and times when they feel like nothing will ever be right again. I wasn’t alone anymore.

Putting yourself out there for the world to judge, online and offline, is terrifying. But it is so completely liberating and worth it.

That feeling of low self-esteem, which was inherently caused by fear, which turned into debilitating stress and anxiety, could have gone away much quicker had I just opened up sooner. It was a conscious choice I made to make a change that inevitably opened new doors.

In time, my carefree spirit returned. My positive outlook on life was back. My confidence was back. Although, it wasn’t the old confidence that came back — It was a newfound, more mature confidence that made me the new and improved me that I can now easily speak to.

Standing up for who you are, no matter who that person is, what you look like, what your interests are or what other people might think, is the only thing that matters, and is the one asset that will propel you forward in your career and in your life.

Because other people aren’t you. You are you. And only you know what brings you happiness.

Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great. https://ashleyalt.substack.com/

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