Admit it: You’ve spent most of your life coloring inside the lines. You constantly justify your lack of action by blaming your responsibilities. Meanwhile, they’re not really in your way, but thinking they are means you don’t have to do anything about it. You’ve also used the word “should” one too many times, i.e. “I want to do X but I should do Y.” You know, even though Y makes you want to drink bleach.
But now you’re totally disgusted with yourself. You’re fed up. You’re bored. You don’t just want to step outside your comfort zone, you want to put in your 90-day notice and move the eff out – and you want to be a total badass and write your notice in pen.
Congratulations. You’ve just had your Scarlett O’Hara moment. You can finally stop living behind your denial. You can finally stop being afraid. You can finally transform your life.
Here are 15 things you should stop being afraid of. Like, stat. Unless, of course, you enjoy wallowing in regret.
1. Being Yourself
This is a lot easier said than done, but it’s the most important thing to stop being afraid of. Otherwise, there’s no point in reading the rest of this article. You should be 100 percent who you really are at all times (like Sheldon Cooper, but charming). Think about everyone you admire and why you admire them: It’s not because they’re perfect or because they please others. That’s not why people will admire you either, but first you have to let them see the real you.
2. Standing Up for Yourself (or Others)
In order to have the life you want, you have to stand up for it. Others are going to resist the changes you’re trying to make because that means in turn their dynamic with you will change. You can stop being afraid of this by creating boundaries, stating your case, and not backing down. Tell them to take it or leave it. Trust me: You’ll feel so much lighter when you do!
3. Being Honest
To stop being afraid of being honest, keep in mind that doing so doesn’t have to equal hurting other people’s feelings. They might be shocked at first (especially if you’re not known for being candid), but you’ll quickly earn their respect.
4. Getting Rejected
Rejection is part of the package no matter what you’re going after. Know it’s not personal: They’re just stating the case for their own career/life goals. If you don’t fit the bill for them, it doesn’t mean you’ll never fit the bill. It just means you have to work a little harder.
5. Being Criticized
If you don’t stop being afraid of criticism, you’re never going to accomplish anything. Ever. There are two different kinds of criticism: Constructive criticism, where someone offers you pointers on how to do better and improve, and pointless criticism from “haters,” where someone picks you apart just because they can. When being criticized always consider the source and discard the information that won’t improve your life. If Miley Cyrus can hack it, so can you.
6. Making Mistakes
Mistakes are mandatory: They’re the only way you’re going to learn, grow and evolve into the person you want to be. I believe it’s called “earning it.”
7. Owning Your Flaws
I’ve always felt that flaws should only apply to inanimate objects. We’re multi-layered and complicated, not flawed. The only way you’re going to stop being afraid and holding yourself back is to accept yourself in your entirety. It’s impossible to suppress certain aspects of yourself and pretend they’re not there. Not only that, but they’re part of your charm. Perfect is boring. Don’t be boring.
8. Going After Something Big
Seriously, what else is there? If anybody tries to poo-poo on what you want for your life, I order you to slap them (especially if they start talking about “responsibilities”).
As much as we strive to be amazing at everything we do, we should only strive to be amazing at what we care about most. For example, I gave up on my basketball career the first day of gym class. Do what you love amazingly well, admit that you don’t give a rat’s about the rest and stop feeling guilty about it. Besides, you’re going to become so successful you’re going to be able to outsource the foofy stuff anyway, right? (Hint, hint.)
You’re human. You’re going to screw up. Stop being afraid to apologize for your mistakes. It’s going to get really boring hiding under that rock all by yourself.
It’s actually easy to stop being afraid of failure since, you know, there’s no such thing. You haven’t given up, have you? You learned a lot, didn’t you? Then you haven’t failed.
A weird thing happens as you become successful: You’re so used to struggling along like a drunk person who can’t remember where they live that the better things go, the worse you feel. You end up constantly looking over your shoulder or waiting for an anvil to fall on your head. While I totally understand, what’s there to be afraid of exactly? You’ve succeeded once. If you had to, you’d succeed again. You know you’ve got the goods, so why worry?
13. Letting Go
It’s really hard to let go of the habits that hold you back, especially since 99.99 percent of our everyday habits are automated by our subconscious. During stressful situations especially, we tend to revert back to our oldest and not-so-dearest habits since they make us comfortable – even if they’re self-destructive. If you focus on changing one habit at a time until they’re automated, you’ll have healthy habits to fall back on and will finally stop being afraid to let the bad ones go (because there won’t be any).
14. Taking Risks
There’s only one way to stop being afraid of taking risks, and that’s realizing you should be more afraid of not taking them. Seriously, picture the risk you want to take and bask in how the changes to your life will make you feel. Pretty cool, right? Now picture not taking the risk and everything staying right where you hate it…did Psycho Strings just start playing in the background?
15. Moving On
Okay, so you’ve known Whiny McAlwaysNeedsYou your whole life. So what? So many of us are way too loyal to people who don’t even deserve it. If there are people in your life who bleed you dry of energy, emotion, money, or all three, snap out of it. Please. You can’t see me right now, but I’m begging. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from the train wreck that was my 20s: Nobody is worth your health and well-being. Not one person.