In my earliest memories as a child, I remember being very shy. Anyone that knew me growing up would probably say that about me. I’m sure people would say that about me to this day. I have always been rather quiet and even scared to open my mouth at times. Unfortunately, the shyness and fear I had in my childhood, I had carried into my teenage and adult years. I’ll admit, it still takes me a little while to warm up to people. I’ll usually give myself a pep talk before meeting someone new. I’ll tell myself to stay open to conversation and to ask questions so I can get to know people. I’m usually very uncomfortable in these kinds of situations, but I press on because I have to.
I tell you all this because it wasn’t until recently that I realized how much shyness and fear has held me back my entire life. I’m sure somewhere deep down I already knew this, but I had finally admitted it to myself. For me, my shyness has always been related to fear, and fear of what exactly? Fear of what people might say about me or think about me. What if I say something stupid; what if I cause confrontation; what if people don’t like me; what if I fail; what if I get hurt; what if I end up humiliated? All these fears have burdened me since I can remember. Fear has held me back from speaking my mind, it has allowed others to walk all over me, and it has kept me from pursuing many of my interests, dreams, and goals. Fear has allowed me to keep people at a distance, and it has kept me from experiencing new and fun adventures. Honestly, I am fearful every time I go to click “Publish” on this blog. Fear is crippling and it robs you of who you are meant to be. We are all meant to live big and meaningful lives, lives that influence and change the world. We are called to leave this world better than it was when we entered it. We should always be looking for ways to improve ourselves, others, and the world around us.
We should not let fear keep us from forming new relationships, making new memories, exploring new adventures, and most importantly, we shouldn’t let fear keep us from realizing our dreams. We all need to press through our fears — myself included — make something of our lives and make a difference in this world. I know I will probably be fighting fear for the rest of my life, but my hope is that it will get a little easier each day, and maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll conquer it.