I’m Learning to Confront My Fear of New Beginnings

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by Brittany Foster |

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Going to college, starting a new job, finding the right person to love, and getting my first apartment all seem like wonderful life accomplishments. I would have thought that graduating from college and moving into a new place with my boyfriend would be some of the best memories of my 20s.

But the truth is that these milestones caused me anxiety. In so many of these moments, which were marked by happiness, I felt paralyzed by my own fear 

The fear of trying something new or embarking on a new beginning is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. For me, fear of the unknown causes deep-rooted anxiety. 

Emotional and physical trauma taught me that if I don’t expect good outcomes, I’ll never be disappointed. So, instead of hoping for something positive, my mind shifts to thoughts of the worst possible outcome in a situation before it even starts.

Instead of diving into something new with an open mind, I have my guard up. This serves as a shield to protect me from the disappointment that can come with failing. My thoughts have led me to believe that if I prepare for a bad outcome, I will be hurt less when it happens.  

This type of anxious thinking has never helped me. Instead, it only heightens my general anxiety. I obsess over having control over situations in which the outcome is unknown. This has filled my mind with negativity to the point that I felt isolated by my fear.

Fear of new beginnings has prevented me from feeling pride in myself. It has stopped me from enjoying celebratory moments, and hindered emotional and physical healing. When I realized the damage these thoughts were causing to my personal and professional life, I knew it was time to face my fears. 

To do this, I had to recognize a pattern in which my anxiety seemed to worsen. I had to look back at the moments of my life in which my actions and behaviors were obsessive, and when my emotional state was heightened. I also tried to notice this happening in real time.

The commonality I found was that heightened anxiety because of fear happened most often with change. When changes happened, I did what I could to resist them. I caught myself thinking about change as something frightening that inevitably leads to disappointment.  

It has taken a lot of emotional healing and self-reflection to be able to see new beginnings in a different way. I have been so used to fearing change because of the dialogue I created in my head about what change meant. It takes mental energy to go through the worst possible scenarios in my head.

It also takes mental energy to force myself to think about positive outcomes that have happened because of change and being open to new beginnings. When I think about new beginnings, I must stop and think about positive outcomes to remind myself that change doesn’t have to be about disappointment.  

Change can bring about new moments of laughter, a better and deeper understanding and love, and emotional and physical healing. I have been learning to accept changes as they happen, knowing that I can’t prepare myself for everything. I am happy that I have been working on healing my mind and can now look forward to what is to come, even if that means having to start over.  

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