Once upon a time, I wrote about a version of myself that once was in the past. I used to be extremely shy. I used to hide behind a facade, denying the hurt and frustration inside. I used to be scared of love and hate and the unpredictable future. I used to be this, and think that.
Until recently, I believed what I had written about my past self was true. Yet, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was wrong, my entire article a faux.
Not long ago, I had an epiphany determining the fact that I still am that shy, introverted person I thought I left behind in the ninth grade. I haven’t become someone new, I’ve just improved upon the person I used to be.
I still have moments of paralyzing fear, where I become too afraid to speak to anyone that I don’t know. There are still some things that I refuse to tell anyone, that not a soul has ever heard or ever will hear. I’m certainly the most indecisive person you will ever meet, for fear that I might choose the wrong option in a situation. Yet, despite all of this, I still push myself harder every day to become the best version of myself.
I believe that you can do anything you set your mind to, even if you have just seven seconds of insane courage. And in contrast, allow yourself five seconds of fear to get comfortable with that emotion.
And if you’re frozen, too scared to move or fight for what you believe in, don’t worry. Fear is a huge factor that holds us all back in our daily lives. Fear is an unpleasant emotion that none of us enjoy experiencing. Yet, everything you will ever want in life is on the other side of fear, so why not embrace it and fight for what you desire?
Nerves, anxiety and excitement are all arousal emotions. When you’re experiencing any of those three emotions, your heart beats faster and your body prepares for action. So why can’t we take our nerves and turn them into excitement?
The next time you’re afraid to do something, ask yourself two things – Will you regret not doing this later? What’s holding you back?
Answer those two questions, then decide if you’re going to take your nervous energy, turn it into excitement and do that thing.
It’s called anxiety reappraisal – when you look at something so terrifying, straight in the face and say, “Hell yeah. I’m excited, let’s do this.” Tell yourself that you’re excited when you feel nervous; it works almost every time.
According to the The Atlantic article, ‘Turning Anxiety Into Success,’ “Anxiety and excitement are both aroused emotions. In both, the heart beats faster, cortisol surges, and the body prepares for action. In other words, they’re arousal congruent. The only difference is that excitement is a positive emotion, focused on all the ways something could go well.”
Reframing anxiety as excitement can drastically improve an individual’s outlook. If you maintain an opportunity mindset and focus on the positive rather than the negative, you improve your chances of success.
Whether it be speaking in front of a crowd or jumping from an airplane, don’t dwell on poor performance. Stay optimistic and you’ll be okay.
If you don’t believe anything that I’ve said above, if you’re still hesitant to speak in front of that crowd or say hello to the new person in class, do it afraid. Be afraid.
Confront your fears head on. If you don’t, what good do your fears do for you, other than hold you back?
Think about it this way – the time will pass anyways, you’re still going to live to the next day and go about your daily life as normal. So instead of wasting time contemplating the pros and cons of applying for a new job or learning how to play guitar, just go for it. Use fear as your motivator. Don’t let it be your downfall.
I believe in you. But more importantly, do you believe in yourself?