We spend an absurd amount of our lives afraid of things that never come to fruition, yet torture us on the inside. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve freaked out about paying bills or worried about how I’m perceived on social media or agonized over how a friend interpreted something I said out of the goodness of my heart.

I’ve stressed myself out to the point that I’ve made myself physically sick, while anyone not living in my brain had no idea I was stressed about a thing.  Why?  Because I have an ego and I was so terrified of being exposed that I did everything I could to hide my inner monologue…until I didn’t.

In October of 2016 I nearly took my life. I was in a dark place emotionally, financially and spiritually and it all became too much too bare on my own, so I thought ending it all was my only way out. I was so wrong.

I clearly didn’t end up jumping out my 10th floor bathroom window and thank God for that, because what I learned on the other side of my darkest moment has brought me to a place of joy I didn’t know I could find. The time since that night has been a journey that I’m still on, but here are the 4 things that have helped me grow from that moment and expose my true self.

Stop Lying

Stop lying about who you are, stop lying about who you want to be and stop lying about the things you want out of this lifetime, because those lies are benefiting no one. We’re all given one crack at this thing called life, so live it openly and honestly as the person you were created to be. What are you afraid of? You might discover a version of you who’s pretty awesome!

Start Moving

I’ve learned that the moment I stop moving towards a goal, I begin to fall back into old patterns that always lead to depression. Whether you need to physically go for a walk to get moving or spend time with an old friend to get moving relationally, it’s all the same. We were not created to live stagnant lives, so get out there and get moving! Show the universe you’re not afraid to put yourself out there and the universe will move in your favor.

Eat Healthier

I’m not saying you need to live on a diet of rice cakes and lettuce, but we can all agree that buckets of fried chicken and cupcakes aren’t exactly the pathway to a long, healthy life. Where I come from, everyone sort of eats the same way, partially out of habit, but also out of a fear of the unknown. To many people, trying a new food is a scary thing, but how will you ever know what you love if you don’t try something new from time to time? Expose yourself to new ingredients or maybe try a new cooking technique every now and then and expose yourself to a new world of exciting culinary possibilities. 

Check In with Yourself

If you’re anything like me, this one might feel a little odd at first, but it’s so important! I come from a long line of really awesome people who are great at caring for others and awful at taking care of themselves, but I’ve decided to break that pattern. If you’re afraid that you might look selfish for taking some time to yourself every now and then…WHO CARES! You are the only one living in your brain and if you don’t take care of it, you’ll never be any good to anyone else, so shut down those feelings of guilt and draw yourself a nice bubble bath or go get a massage…you’ve earned it!

To be honest, this list could go on forever, but I’m only two years into my personal journey and these are the practices that have helped me to embrace my own fears and actually befriend them. Instead of spending my life worrying that the real me could be exposed and even worse judged, I decided to expose myself and take the ability to judge away. As it turns out, I was afraid of a whole bunch of things that only ever existed in my head. Is it possible you’re doing the same?