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Face Your Fears by Changing Your Story

By Siena Webster, Grade 11
Throughout our lives we are all faced with many fears. Some of us have small fears, like when we see spiders in our rooms and get scared, and some of us have bigger fears that we keep inside of us. Needless to say, we all have them, and in some ways, we are all trying to overcome them.

Growing up, I was a kid with many fears. I didn’t know why I had them, or how they began but all I can say is they had a big impact on my life as a kid. And at the time, my biggest fear of them all was thunderstorms.
Some of you might be thinking to yourself, “Really, Siena? A thunderstorm?” But yes. From Grade 4 until Grade 7, I was absolutely terrified of thunderstorms. I can still remember all the times during summer when my family and I would go boating on the lake. After 20 minutes, we would have to turn around because I saw a few dark clouds in the sky and convinced my family that we would be trapped in a thunderstorm. In reality, it was a perfect sunny day.
Another thing I remember, is pulling up to a family barbecue and I just couldn’t get myself out of the car because I was too afraid of the dark clouds that were above me.
I often told my parents how I wished I was like the other kids who could play outside and not care about a thunderstorm.
So, if you couldn’t already tell, my first solution when it came to facing my fears was running away, and I was very good at it. But even though this was my solution at the time, running away always made me feel weak. I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I could never overcome this fear and it would follow me wherever I would go.
But don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. Around this time, my dad told me something that I will never forget. He said, “Siena, in life you always have a choice.” You can wake up each morning and decide to see things positively or negatively. And with time and patience, I finally started telling myself a different story. When I had moments where I was afraid, all I did was tell myself that everything was going to be ok, and I wasn’t going to get struck by lightning. Really all I did was think positively and tell myself I can do this. I realized that all this time I was so afraid because that’s what I was CHOOSING to tell myself.
So guess what: you have a choice. If there’s something that you’re afraid of or if you have fears you’re waiting to overcome, tell yourself a different story. It’s a lot easier for us to think about the negatives, but you have full control over the way you think.
I hope that some of you may be able to relate to this and you can work to change your perspectives on a few things. Oh, and just to be clear, I’m not afraid of thunderstorms anymore.