Asian male hiker victorious on the edge of a cliff.

Heights, bills, pop quizzes, illness, heartbreak – there’s always something to be afraid of. The good news is you can take control and turn things around when you face your fears. Here are all the gains you can look forward to when you stare it in the face and tell it to hit the road.

1. Helps Distinguish Reality from Anxiety

Mark Twain once said, “I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” When you take a step back and assess your situation, you learn to separate fact from fiction. Sometimes your fears are valid, but often they are in your head. Take time to check yourself before your hypothetical worst-case scenarios .

2. Pushes You to Create a Plan of Action

Now that you’ve identified your fears and weeded out fiction from reality, you can come up with a plan. Sensing a threat will switch your brain to alert mode. You’ll be able to aim more accurately and focus on what matters. When fear arises, instead of letting it paralyze you, take action.

3. Reveals Your Capabilities

When you face your fears, you push your limits and do things you never thought you were capable of. Thinking of asking your office crush out? Give it a shot! Even if you fail, you learn something new about yourself – that you’re not afraid to try.

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4. Makes You More Compassionate

Developing compassion is another thing that happens when you face your fears. Having experienced the worst puts you in a better position to help others in the same boat. When you push hard for what you want and achieve your goals despite adversity, you develop a heart for others and help pull them through .

5. Builds Resilience

Let’s face it. Life doesn’t get any easier. But hey, after each failure, guess who’s still standing? You. When you face your fears, you build resilience, and that’s worth flexing. Recognizing your fear is the first step, but dealing with them will make you tougher than any obstacle that may come your way.

6. Brings You Closer to Your Dreams

Everybody has dreams, but not everyone dares to realize them. The bigger your dreams, the bigger the change, and can be scary for some. Sure, playing it safe is risk-free, but it also boxes you in and keeps you from evolving. When you face your fears, you inch closer to your goals and a better version of yourself.

7. Keeps You Free of Regret

There’s nothing worse than wondering what could have happened if you had faced your fears. Overcoming them will keep you from looking back on things you can’t change. When faced with a scary situation, ask yourself, will I kick myself for not doing this? Failure is a much easier pill to swallow than regret.

8. Empowers You to Take on Bigger Goals

The more you face your fears, the better you get at seeing them in a more practical sense. Fewer hurdles will seem insurmountable, and you will eventually gain the necessary skills to overcome bigger challenges in the future. As they say, practice makes perfect. You won’t get it right 100% of the time, but you’ll get 1% better with each fear you face. And that makes a huge difference.

It’s not easy to face your fears, but you might surprise yourself. Start with small things, like speaking in front of a small crowd or mustering up the courage to kill that flying ipis. Facing your fears can be a transformative experience that empowers you to overcome challenges and reach your full potential. By stepping outside of your comfort zone and confronting your fears, you gain valuable life skills necessary in what can sometimes be the scariest fear of all – life itself.