• Ciara Ungar

Facing Fear Makes Us Better People

Facing fear isn't easy. Picture this...

What you may not know about me is that I have an intense fear of water that goes back to childhood. I didn't grow up near water, so I attribute a lot of my fear more to the unknown of it than any real rational reason. I can recall being near the water once as a child when my family went to Florida on vacation. As a little child, I would be terrified of the water even touching my feet, panicking that there were crabs in my shoes every time it did.

But it wasn't just the ocean or not being able to see the bottom.

Even growing up into young adulthood I found myself terrified of the water. I had a lot of anxiety going into large pools that my friends had. I don't recall there being a reason for this, such as a near drowning experience, I just recall always having anxiety over water.

Fast forward to the last few years...

I've come to realize that the longer we live in fear of the unknown, the less we learn about ourselves. If we paralyze ourselves too long, we miss out on understanding a world with diversity, energy and beauty.

I moved to DC for Grad School in 2012 where I began a life of living on the coast. Slowly, I've become more comfortable being in the water but it takes a lot of mental focus to overcome my fears. Over the last few years I have been barred to my apartment due to Lyme Disease and learned a lot about missing out on what life has to offer. I've had life taken away from me and the only way to overcome that loss is to take back what I can.

For those who have known me long enough, to learn that I actually went surfing this summer was a huge shock. You see, I got to the point where I decided to overcome my fear and just take a leap - or a ride. And it totally paid off. Surfing was incredibly fun and I couldn't wait to get back to it.

Lesson learned: When we stop fearing what we don't know, we become better people, more fulfilled, and more filled with joy.

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