It was 2:00 in the morning, two weeks before my college graduation. I was sitting on a bench outside my apartment, my head in my hands, tears streaming from my eyes. I was struck with a paralyzing fear of the future — a fear of abject failure.
I was terrified that I would fail my senior project.
I felt myself surrendering my sense of control as the wind whipped my hair across my face and the night air chilled me to the core.
My future no longer felt like mine.
My future felt bleak.
I wanted to run.
I wanted nothing more than to leave college, to escape the stress and the uncertainty and the self-imposed pressure to be perfect. To escape my fears.
But there was something luring me back inside my apartment, drawing me back to my senior project — back to my fear. A force far stronger than the nippy night air. An energy more powerful than my trepidation over the future.
I wanted to succeed. To succeed, I needed to face my fear of failure.
I did not run.
I did not escape.
I walked back into my apartment, briefly edited my senior project, slipped into bed, and drifted into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.
Two weeks later, I confidently strode across the stage at my college commencement ceremony. I graduated with highest honors.
I faced my fears.
I did not run.
I completed my senior project.
I walked in my college graduation.
Your fears snake into your mind, convincing you not to try, convincing you that you will fail, convincing you that you are unworthy. They persuade you to run, to escape, to hide from anything that could possibly lead to happiness and fulfillment. But if you run from the harsh whispers of your fears, internalizing the lies they sway you to believe, you are deprived of the opportunity to realize your full potential. You are stripped of everything that could enrich you — every moment that could transform your life for the better.
Even when rejection seems imminent, failure seems certain, or risk seems unrewarding, stand firm and conquer your fears. Push through your mental blockade. Quiet your doubts, your “I can’ts,” and your “I will never’s.” Confront your trepidation with a smile. Do not run. Do not escape. Do not hide.
Your decision to face your fears will enhance your life in ways you have never dreamed possible. You will develop a deeper connection with yourself, with others, and with the world. You will gain the courage to undertake any challenge and the resilience to persevere in the face of adversity. You will recognize your strengths and celebrate your capabilities. You will believe, beyond any doubt, that you can transform impossibility into possibility.
Go out into the world and do the things that scare you.
Travel to the country you’ve always wanted to explore.
Go on a date with the person who makes your heart skip a beat.
Apply for the job of your dreams.
Finish the project you’ve worked on diligently.
Do not run.
Do not escape.
Face your fears, and you will blossom.
Kelly is an avid writer and mental health and disability advocate with a focus on personal growth. She is passionate about using her life experiences to help others. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference in the world — no matter how small. When she is not writing or educating others about life with disability and mental illness, Kelly can be found listening to music and cuddling her cat.