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In order to get over your fears you need to face them rather than avoid them, and from someone who has faced many of her fears in life and overcome them, I can tell you that this statement is 100 per cent true.
Motivational speakers and inspirational quotes tell us to “do one thing a day that scares [us].” Well, I just did a whole summer’s worth of something that terrified me and came out the victor: I did math.
I know that for you numerically literate folks that doesn’t seem like much, but math and numbers have never been my strong suit, and while I have always excelled at social sciences and language arts, I have failed equally at anything entailing mathematical concepts and reasoning. I like to think of myself as an out-of-the-box thinker, and while I am very logical in most of my thought patterns and belief systems, I have just never been able to conquer the world of mathematics. In fact, while most of my grades consist of A’s and A pluses, I have never attained higher than a C in math…until now.
I was terrified when I began my course this summer. I needed to upgrade my math to enter into the program I will be taking this fall, and I was almost sure I wouldn’t make it. Needless to say I put in more hours studying for math tests over the past few months than I have ever put into any one class. I pushed myself -for hours and even days on end- to study, practice and re-practice until I was able to wrap my head around the content. With many nerves shot and seemingly on the edge of a mental breakdown, I wrote three midterms and was surprised to get the top mark in my class: A 98 percent average overall!
Elated just at that, my professor then informed me last week that I (along with just one other student) had achieved such a high mark on all of my exams that I am excused from writing the final exam (worth 40 per cent).
While I have faced many of my fears in life already -ie. diving, bungee jumping and barrelling down a mountain on two sticks (a.k.a. skiing)- before I began my math course I would have rather taken my chances with sharks in open water before having to write a math test. But now that I’ve done it and excelled, I feel my self-confidence building to pre-anxiety heights. Any self-doubt that I had is waning as I feel like I have already achieved what I once thought was impossible, and if I am capable of achieving the impossible, then I must be capable of achieving anything I set my mind to!
We all have our own fears, worries and reasons for self-doubt in life, some of them logical, and some not so much. And many of these insecurities are precisely the reason behind our anxiety and even depression. But the only way we will ever be able to overcome what scares us is to do what scares us. For me, I still have a ways to go before I can truly say that my anxiety is behind me, but achieving what I have so far this year -especially in a subject that I thought was beyond my capabilities- has proven to me that I’m smarter, more able and generally worth more than I often give myself credit for.
So what’s the next step? Well, after I get through my next and final math course this fall, my partner and I will be travelling to South Africa to face my new ultimate fear: cage diving with Great White sharks. After that I just need to conquer spiders and I will literally be invincible. Until then, I am but a mere human with fears like everybody else, working to be a better, stronger and more mentally stable version of myself every day.
Hashtag: Feeling Confident:)
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