Illustration by E. Delgado Toledo

How to conquer your fears

By Kamryn Bouyett

Before I start, trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I know what you’re going through when you question whether or not you can do it. You can. Trust me, but before you do…this thing that you fear to do, let me give you some pointers.

Your teachers, mentors, advisors will tell you to strive for a goal. Writing down these short term or long term goals will help you focus on what you want in the end. Has this ever helped though? Don’t do that, don’t have a goal at all. Think about the thing that you want to do, whether it's academically, physically or mentally and think about what would happen if you don’t do it. If you don’t study for that test, get up early for practice, or attend your weekly therapy sessions. You feel that overwhelming sensation of failure? Yes, that is what you need to conquer your fears.
Use that sensation to focus. To ease your anxiety.

Let me use an example for the ones that still don’t understand. You’re afraid of heights. That feeling when you’re in an airplane is very unsettling and causes issues with your desire to travel. It started when you were young when you fell off of the top of the swing set trying to impress everyone with your climbing skills. Alright, take that failure of not being able to climb the swing set. Think about what your mom said when you came home with a bruised knee and the disappointment in your mom's tone. Take that and apply it to your fear of traveling in an airplane. If I can’t anxiously ride this airplane what will my mom think? If I don’t ride this airplane what is the worst thing that can happen? Yes, it could crash but really think…is that the worst?

A slight variation of this tactic would be having confidence. I can go on about how to have confidence but in this situation let's pretend that you have it already. Use this confidence and tell yourself that you can’t fail because you’re you. You're the baddest female dog ever, you’re the hottest tamale and you can conquer that fear. I do this everyday, so I can continue to walk the Earth with no fear. I look in the mirror and tell myself I am the best, hottest, good looking-est woman that has ever walked the Earth before I set foot in anyone's presence. What do you say in the mirror? Have you conquered your fears yet? Let’s continue to the people in your life.

This is one of the most important aspects in conquering your fears in the long run. You need people around you who are the same as you. You need to remember you are the best, no one else can top you, but with the best comes the worst. If you have people who go against your morals, or judgment, or who don’t even know you they will not help you. Instead these people will make you even more afraid of the things you want to achieve. They will compete with you on your successes, take your lingo, they can even exhaust your time, and your mental health with their negativity ultimately limiting your power to conquer your fears. Sadly I’ll have to bring an ex-partner into this. His presence was charismatic (that's how they get you), loving and kind but underneath it all he was the most controlling person ever. It was tough trying to conquer my fear of writing. Of course he didn’t do this intentionally, he just slowly convinced me that my desire to conquer this fear was unattainable (which is always untrue). Find your best people, avoid the “worst” and stick with them as you conquer your fears…trust me you will conquer them.

Let's talk about a special case of fear. Money. I know a lot of individuals have this overwhelming urge to either hoard or overspend their money causing them to feel fearful in losing it or using it. Money does not matter. Say that 10 times fast. In history class we were learning about how tombs would hold special items of the dead so they could have them in their after life (I think). These Egyptians had gold, jewelry, their favorite items of clothing, etc… but they’re dead (rip). What I’m trying to say is there is no point in being fearful of money. It holds absolutely no value when you’re gone (lol maybe a little). I know you’re smart enough to know how to use money, I’m not talking about not being responsible. I’m only talking about the thought of money and its possibilities. You will have some, you won’t have some, period.

You must have a life motto. This motto will allow you to not only conquer your fears but it will push you to conquer many other fears you may have. Yolo is mine. Yolo stands for “You only live once”. When I go about my daily life, I sometimes come across decisions that I need to make immediately. Social anxiety is a big fear of mine. When people ask me out to eat, to come to a party or a social event my life motto comes into play- Yolo. I go just because I may not be able to see these people ever again. I also go back to my first tip. Thinking about what's the worst that could happen?

Overall, overcoming your fears is all up to you. Each decision you make in regard to your fears will either hinder you or uplift you in the future. Yes, I will admit there will be days where you just want to cry, curl up in a ball and wonder why things never change but if you cower from anything that makes you uncomfortable you will never get to where you want to be. I ran away from my first grade crush and now I can’t even talk to someone I like without wanting to jump out of my skin. We need to put an end to childish behavior that is holding us back from achieving the impossible.

Society will tell you to not take my advice. To continue to pass down the sad advice of entrepreneurs that make you pay to hear them speak. Trust me, my advice is free. Take my tips to heart for a week let me know if you don’t conquer your fears.