These are times that call for courage. We’ve been pelted with constant change, trauma, and loss. Fear can have its way with us, leaving us questioning our capacities for healing and resilience. When life tests us, it can be natural to retreat or set too rigid of boundaries as a way of coping. Or to become risk averse because we’ve already been stretched too far. But research has shown that the exact opposite can help us work through fear and regain momentum.
This is something I’ve seen repeatedly as a behavioral scientist, human resilience researcher, and through nearly three decades as a psychotherapist. That hiding never serves us well. That when we expose ourselves to discomfort, we can grow tremendously. Just as the difficulties we’ve endured have added up, so can “microdoses” of bravery: the small, sustained actions we take to help us expand. Giving in to anxiety and fear only allows it to have a stronger grip on our lives.
While we are wired for strategic change that allows us to move beyond our fears, it is not a passive process. Overcoming risk aversion takes time and careful execution. Many risks are worth taking, helping us to become more comfortable with the uncomfortable, and generating momentum to overcome the fear and anxiety swirling everywhere we turn.
During times of peril, we imagine needing a complete overhaul to realize meaningful personal and social change. We picture having to take dramatic action to achieve results. Yet research reveals that those willing to engage in strategic, sustained risk—whether speaking up against injustice, setting boundaries, trying something new, or living colorfully as your true self—are more apt to move forward to a place of healing and liberation. This is unlikely to work if we try to do it all at once or in grand scale fashion. A step by step approach can help us maintain progress, instead of finding ourselves in frustrating fits and stops.
I know this in my marrow. Even during a global mental health crisis, while we’re marinating in fear and trauma, we can change our mindsets, behaviors, and habits to be able to live more freely and fully. This doesn’t happen through feel-good slogans or pop-psychology tactics . Bravery comes bit by bit through deliberate shifts in mindsets, behaviors, and habits supported by science. When we can engage more openly and fully in life, it can serve as a tremendous protective factor towards our mental health and well-being.
How to Safely Engage with Risk
Engaging with risk can at first seem provocative. Yet “playing it safe” can diminish the very qualities that allow us to adapt, create, and serve our purpose in life. This doesn’t mean jumping unabashedly out of planes or betting it all at the Bellagio. It means taking small values-aligned chances towards a bolder, more colorful, adventurous life.
First, we need to unlearn what we’ve been taught about risk. It often has a bad rap. It’s most common connotation-that it is something scary, dangerous, or impractical can cause us to avoid taking strategic risks that help us grow and flourish.
We cannot skirt risk if we want to live a life of meaning and impact. It’s important to realize that risk-taking isn’t random or impulsive. Instead, we can strategically take risks that align with our values. When we have clarity about how we want to contribute to the world, and what we care about the most, it primes us to endeavor risk. Not for the sake of taking chances, but to advance our capacity to grow and give within the world.
For example, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t want to passively watch unfairness and injustice, you might not be ready to take dramatic action, or know quite what to do. Perhaps you worry that you could get fired if you speak out at work, or that you might hurt feelings or ruffle feathers if you aren’t careful in your communication approaches. Microdosing bravery in this instance could involve carefully evaluating potential ways you can speak up constructively. You might look close at the situation and realize that you could offer your time, talent, and skills to improve what concerns you. Or you can talk to someone you trust and brainstorm ideas so that your plan has been carefully evaluated and you’ve considered a strong course of action to help make the difficult circumstances better, or at least begin moving them in a better direction.
Similarly, if you are a person who strongly values relationships and are struggling with standing up in a situation that is hurtful or upsetting to you, you might not attempt to have a huge three hour talk to air all your grievances. Instead, you could come up with a short list of things that are important to convey, and slowly test the waters. It can help to start by saying that the person matters to you, and that you want things to be better, and by holding back your take on the situation, you don’t want to close off the opportunity for deeper understanding and connection that can come through honest conversation. Starting small, and then working from there can help build additional courage and momentum to face circumstances in our lives that are suboptimal, but have the capacity to change.
One more example: let’s say you want to improve your public speaking skills but have a terrible fear of doing so. Instead of jumping into a high-stakes, large audience situation that instantly makes you break into a profuse sweat, consider practicing with a small handful of trusted friends or colleagues and asking for conscientious feedback. Or attending a Toastmasters meeting to start observing and learning skills that you want to develop. Or even starting alone in the mirror, with the promise that you will eventually venture into practicing with someone you trust.
When you embrace risk taking, it involves intentionally being willing to face fear, step out of your comfort zone, and try to make improvements. This isn’t just about giving yourself a major jolt of adrenaline for the sake of disruption. Risk taking is so much more.
You can begin with careful examination of what you want to accomplish, and why. This is the subject of much of my most recent writing, and here you can find more about why strategic risk taking is valuable, beneficial, and influential. I’ve also shared some thoughts on the psychology behind risk, what kinds of risks matter, and how to craft your own plan to integrate them more fervently in your own life. Finally, it’s critical to enlist support. When we have trusted confidants, mentors, and those invested in our growth, it helps us during those inevitable times when we wished we’d played it safer because the discomfort is at a peak, and we haven’t quite seen the benefits.
One of my favorite renegade artists is Georgia O’Keeffe. She was a well-documented strategic risk taker. She was said to feel emboldened by the risks she took, which contributed highly to her art and quality of life. She was quoted as saying “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life, but I’ve never let it stop me from doing a single thing I’ve wanted to do.” Besides loving her art, this quote captures the duality of our human experience with such poignancy and accuracy. While we may be flooded with anxiety or trepidation, it doesn’t mean that we have to let it sabotage our lives. We can move from a place of fear and worry to greater valiance. And this doesn’t come with a flip or switch or through some kind of tired advice from a motivational meme. There’s real science that shows we can make values-based behavioral change a reality in our lives.
Discover the Rewards of Strategic Risk-Taking
When we hunker down and try to live in a bubble of safety, we can cut ourselves off from the richness and joy life has to offer. In Worth the Risk, my latest book, this is a central theme. I share my research and clinical expertise, grounded in principles of Exposure Response Prevention and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment that emphasize the value of building bravery through deliberate care and action. The metaphor I chose to describe these evidence-based principles is “microdosing”, since small acts of bravery and connection can build and nourish us. We can regain the self-confidence and resilience we need to live full and meaningful lives instead of giving in to our fears. By taking a bit by bit approach, we can integrate the discoveries and nourishment, readying ourselves for further change and growth.
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) is a modality that focuses on fears and phobias. Today, many of us struggle with social anxiety. Living in a world with constant social comparison can have detrimental effects on us. We might opt to isolate and avoid other people in fear of embarrassment or unworthiness. But not facing it only makes it worse. And the longer it goes on, the harder it can be to break through. ERP allows a person to slowly provoke themselves by doing the thing that is hard, in small morsels, to experience the discomfort, learn to tolerate it, and then take another step.
This steady, strategic approach can help desensitize fears and triggers. It is best approached by a licensed, trained practitioner who can craft a plan to help you approach this skillfully and with the right guidance and support. It also is enhanced when you have people in your life who are brought in the mix to offer their support. It’s worth reading more about this approach to learn its premise and how you might take the concepts and apply them to your own situation. It’s exciting to see the ways ERP has been a catalyst for overcoming fears that can leave us stuck and unable to fully participate in life.
I invite you to consider how you might approach this way of engaging with your fear. Playing it safe can diminish the very qualities that allow us to adapt, create, and serve our purpose in life. Microdosing risk lets you take small, values-aligned chances that increase your ability to thrive. You are not your trauma, labels, fears, or raw emotions. You are wired for resilience. Your human spirit is indomitable, and if you are scared, it likely reflects that you are highly aware and conscientious, and having a proportionate reaction to life’s challenges. It’s not a moral failing to be afraid, yet we have to resist letting it become paralytic and disruptive to the life we seek to live.
Consider risks you’ve taken. Why have you attempted them? What have you learned? Which ones have been worth taking? As a professional speaker, I love working with audiences around the world, teaching how to apply the science of behavioral change to improve the quality of life, both at work and outside. And as you might imagine, I didn’t just jump on a stage and orate with gusto and grace.
It began with my English teacher, Mrs. Deborah Herrmann, who wanted to put my chatty nature to good use. She also knew that at age sixteen, I was quite passionate about social injustice and felt it was important to avoid being a passive bystander. She suggested I enter a speech competition, with the prompt “If I could change one thing in the world”, and my theme was on racism and stereotyping. We practiced and I was able to make it to the regional level of competition, with a memorized script, and convey my points with conviction. I was scared, but taking a public platform at such a young age was a formative experience that laid the groundwork for my life’s work.
If I had given in to the nerves, I would have never set foot on the podium. I was fortunate to have Mrs. Herrmann, my parents, teachers, and friends cheering me on. Without them, I wouldn’t have dared. But just as important was my cause. My values of trying to use my voice for positive influence was a driving force. I never would’ve gotten up there to give a talk on butterflies. It’s not that butterflies aren’t pretty, but they aren’t at the core of my values. By focusing on my deepest held beliefs and hopes for the world, it helped me push through the actual manic butterflies raging in my stomach and stand strong in my convictions.
What causes do you care about? What do you want your legacy to be? How can you approach risk with greater boldness but holding central the values you hold? What kinds of risks do you envision will be most gratifying when you approach risk in this manner?
Reflecting on these questions can help us to recognize the many opportunities for risk taking available in our lives. And the good news is we don’t need to jump in head first, deep end, into a pool without water. We can set ourselves up for success by understanding the science of behavioral change and how it can help us advance our values and goals.
The Psychology of Behavioral Change and Attempting Strategic Risk
As behavioral scientist BJ Fog points out, when we are setting out to make changes, self-punishment is unproductive. People don’t change by listening to their toxic inner critic or setting goals that are unrealistic and then stewing in shame when they’re not met. Thus, setting out to change behavior in the realm of risk taking involves letting go of old habits and scripts that are self-defeatist or imply that we have to go big or stay home. Instead we can foster courage and momentum to craft goals that allow for small wins.
Even trying to change can feel like a risk. We ask ourselves what if I fail? What if I make a fool out of myself? Yet, risks can invigorate the process of behavioral change, promoting greater connection and engagement with life. Strategic risk brings us to a deeper level of engagement with life. While many self-improvement methods out there focus on individual progress, risk allows us to inspire one another and build a deeper community because we are not so mistake averse that we stay in isolation. It relies on having people we can stay accountable with and encouraged by to carry forth our intentions.
Although risks are associated with potential harm or danger, strategic ones can benefit us in many ways. Taking risks is an essential part of building resilience gradually. We can cultivate bravery in small doses, gradually developing the courage we need to embrace the fullness of life, rather than remaining in our comfort zones.
The thought of taking risks may make us cringe, so it’s helpful to start with less provocative ones and gradually become more daring. Often, our fear of what might happen causes us to hesitate, but the outcome we worry about isn’t always inevitable.
Moreover, risks can be enjoyable. They expose us to new experiences and possibilities. The brain benefits from novelty and variety, thus we can approach behavior change and risk with a spirit of open-heartedness. Unlike many attempts for improvement that involve self-punishment, risks allow us to be creative in pursuing something beyond the typical and uninspiring self-help advice that’s difficult to follow.
As Katy Milkman, co-director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests, making difficult tasks seem fun is a more effective strategy than emphasizing their importance.
Scientific studies demonstrate the numerous benefits of being bolder in our decision-making. Often, we need to push ourselves to make wise choices, fostering meaningful learning and personal growth. The key is to start small, and to relish in your progress. And when setbacks occur, it’s vital to avoid self-criticism. Instead, we can learn from mistakes and life’s messiness. When we are willing to look at it closely, we can glean important insights that allow us to readjust our expectations and create strategies that position us to yield better outcomes.
Understanding Your Comfort Zone
We all know the cliche advice “get out of your comfort zone!” But sometimes it’s hard to know what the return on investment might be. Your comfort zone is a behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that appear to minimize stress and risk. But while routines can be highly beneficial, playing it too safe can be a risk unto itself.
As Daniel Pink points out in his writing, research shows that many people regret the things they didn’t attempt in their lives, versus feeling bad about things they tried that didn’t pan out as hoped. He also emphasizes that it’s okay to play it safe in some areas of our lives, so that we can be bolder to take chances in other areas. We don’t have to be universally daring in every corner of our lives. In fact, that can be detrimental. For example, a highly creative artist might want to quit their day job and go full barrel to pursue their interests. But they hold onto it for the time being to bring a measure of stability that allows them to be more daring in their art forms and ways of living and expressing. This illustrates that holding on to some comfort zones so that we can leave others can be a highly strategic way to make progress without creating so much disruption we suffer unintended consequences in other areas of our lives. In other words, choosing risk carefully can help us take constructive steps towards change without completely overwhelming ourselves.
Comfort zones provide a state of mental security. They can foster psychological safety-a sense of belonging without fear of being berated, scrutinized, or punished. Interpersonal comfort zones are vital to our well-being. We need connection and community to feel safe and that we can be ourselves. For some, this is a big risk-revealing our true identities and emotions. When people are terrified to be themselves, it can block connection. Thus, it’s critical to pursue relationships marked by kindness and mutual support.
While routines offer benefits in obvious ways like a sense of order, reduced stress, and a steady level of performance, we still need to maintain the ability to adapt to change and disruption. Thus, when we step out of our comfort zone, we are expanding our skills and capacities to tolerate distress and be able to maintain resilience during trials.
Its important to evaluate the pros and cons of comfort zones to maximize well-being and outcomes. Yes, routines offer a sense of security, but thy can also breed complacency and stagnation. It is in this space that limiting beliefs often take root. Limiting beliefs are the self-imposed notions we hold about our abilities and potential, which confine us within our comfort zones.
These beliefs, although seemingly protective, often hinder our growth and prevent us from reaching our optimal performance. By acknowledging and challenging these limiting beliefs, we can push our boundaries and step into a realm of enhanced learning and self-discovery.
Limiting beliefs are thoughts or opinions that one believes to be the absolute truth. These are usually negative, hindering your ability to succeed in life. These beliefs may relate to the self, others, or the world, and are often used as an excuse for staying within your comfort zone.
Examples of limiting beliefs include “I’m not good enough,” “I always fail,” “People will laugh at me,” or “It’s too late now.” Acknowledging these beliefs is the first step in pushing your boundaries and expanding your comfort zone.
Identifying Appropriate Risks
In order to foster mental growth without causing unnecessary stress, it’s important to differentiate between positive and negative risks, and to assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of each.
Positive risks, often referred to as opportunities, are situations that can lead to beneficial outcomes, such as taking on a challenging project at work, asking for a promotion, or learning a new skill.
These risks involve stepping outside of your comfort zone in a way that could lead to growth and success. Negative risks, on the other hand, are those that could potentially lead to harmful outcomes, such as reckless behavior or decisions that jeopardize your safety or well-being.
Once you’ve identified a risk, it’s crucial to weigh its potential benefits and drawbacks. Consider the best possible outcome and what it could mean for your personal or professional growth. Then, consider the worst possible outcome and how it could impact your life.
If you want to know how to take risks, this assessment will help you decide if the risk is worth taking. Remember, appropriate risks are those that push your boundaries without causing undue stress or danger. They’re risks where the potential gain outweighs the potential loss, fostering personal development while still prioritizing your well-being.
Gradual Exposure Techniques
Gradual exposure is a proven technique for pushing your boundaries and expanding your comfort zone safely. Therefore, it’s a fantastic way to appraoch risks.
It involves systematic exposure to the object or situation that causes fear or discomfort, allowing for increased tolerability and decreased avoidance over time.
Research overwhelming shows that exposure to discomfort fuels growth. Consider how you might approach this in a systematic way. Think of ways you might engage in taking “micro-risks”. Micro-risks are small actions that push your boundaries just slightly beyond your comfort zone. They are manageable and less likely to cause significant distress.
This could involve asking a question in a public forum, volunteering for a new project at work, or trying a new hobby. By taking micro-risks, you start to increase your comfort with uncertainty and change, laying the groundwork for taking on larger risks in the future.
Building Confidence through Incremental Challenges
As you become more comfortable taking micro-risks, you can gradually start to take on larger and more challenging risks. Building confidence through incremental challenges means slowly expanding your comfort zone by consistently introducing more considerable challenges into your life.
For instance, if your micro-risk was asking a question in a public forum, a larger challenge might be giving a presentation to a small group.
Each small victory achieved helps to build your confidence, proving to yourself that you can take risks and succeed. Applying this technique of gradual exposure to risk-taking empowers you to grow mentally and emotionally while maintaining your safety and well-being.
Embracing Failure as a Catalyst
Failure, often viewed as a negative experience, can actually serve as a powerful catalyst for personal growth and development when approached with the right mindset.
To transform failure into a stepping stone for success, the first step is to shift your perspective. Instead of viewing failure as a setback, view it as an opportunity for learning and growth.
Adopt an experimental mindset where each attempt, successful or not, yields valuable data that can guide your future actions.
This way, failure is not the end, but rather an integral step in the process of development. It’s not about falling down, but about getting up again, equipped with the lessons learned from the fall.
Every setback or failure comes with its own set of lessons. By analyzing what went wrong and why, you can gain valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses, and the areas you need to work on.
This introspective analysis not only aids in personal growth but also builds resilience, preparing you for future challenges. Moreover, each failure can provide a sense of direction, guiding you closer to your goals and showing what paths not to tread again.
It’s not the failures themselves, but how you react to them and the lessons you extract, that shape your path to success. By embracing failure as a catalyst, you can turn setbacks into stepping stones on your journey of mental growth. This is a topic that I invested a great deal of time in through a grounded theory research study that focused on ways we can reimagine and reframe so-called success and failure. If you are person who is perfectionistic, mistake averse, and highly conscientious, you might relate to be exceptionally hard on yourself. This is natural, and a sign you care. But, when we get stuck in the mire of our mental chatter that comes with difficult times, we can miss the chance to use the learning as a catalyst for growth and skill refinement.
Cultivating a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset plays a vital role in risk-taking and personal development. This refers to the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, effort, and hard work. It’s the antithesis of a fixed mindset, where abilities are perceived as innate and static.
A growth mindset lays the foundation for taking appropriate risks and embracing failure as a learning opportunity. It fosters an attitude of resilience and adaptability, urging individuals to step out of their comfort zones and face challenges head-on.
Those with a growth mindset understand that progress involves taking risks, and that setbacks are not indicative of their abilities or worth, but simply part of the process.
Fostering a growth mindset involves cultivating a positive approach towards challenges. Instead of shying away from difficult tasks, view them as opportunities to extend your knowledge and skills.
Embrace challenges as chances to grow, recognizing that struggle and effort are essential components of learning and development.
This shift in perspective not only promotes a healthier approach to risk-taking but also encourages continuous learning and progress. By adopting this mindset, you’ll find that challenges become less daunting, and success becomes a journey of constant growth.
Overcoming Fear of Judgement
Fear of judgment, a common obstacle to risk-taking, is often intertwined with social anxiety and a high concern for others’ opinions. These fears can limit one’s willingness to take risks, hamper personal growth, and hinder the achievement of one’s potential.
In many cases, fear of judgment stems from social anxiety, which involves intense fear or apprehension about social situations, often driven by concerns of being negatively evaluated or judged by others.
It can manifest in a variety of situations, such as speaking in public, engaging in social gatherings, or even contributing to a meeting or group discussion. It’s characterized by symptoms such as rapid heart rate, trembling, and a strong desire to avoid social interactions.
This can often make it challenging to take risks, particularly those involving social scenarios or public exposure. Unfortunately, social anxiety is on the rise, particularly post-pandemic. But the research is clear of the direct benefits of socialization and relationships. Isolation and loneliness only make our fears and anxieties more intense.
Strategies to Manage Fear of Others’ Opinions
Overcoming the fear of judgment often involves a two-pronged approach: changing one’s mindset, and implementing practical strategies.
Cultivate a growth mindset, acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes and that these are opportunities for learning and growth, rather than personal failings. Remember that people’s opinions are often a reflection of their own experiences, biases, and perspectives, rather than an objective assessment of your worth or abilities.
These may include techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps identify and challenge negative thought patterns, exposure therapy, where you’re gradually exposed to the fear-inducing situation until it becomes less daunting, and mindfulness techniques, which can help manage feelings of anxiety and promote a more balanced perspective.
By understanding and addressing social anxiety, and implementing strategies to manage the fear of others’ opinions, one can overcome the fear of judgment, fostering a greater willingness to take risks, which facilitates personal growth and the pursuit of one’s goals.
Seeking Professional Guidance
Sometimes, seeking professional help can assist in managing the fear of taking risks and fostering a growth mindset.
Therapeutic interventions, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can support risk-taking by identifying and reframing negative thought patterns. Exposure therapy, a form of CBT, gradually exposes individuals to fear-inducing situations, reducing anxiety and promoting healthier responses to risks.
Mindfulness-based therapies can also help manage anxiety, develop a balanced perspective, and cultivate acceptance of risk-taking.
Counseling and coaching also play a significant role in encouraging personal growth by providing a safe space to explore fears and anxieties.
They offer strategies to manage fears, enhance self-confidence, motivate individuals to set and achieve goals and provide guidance and support throughout the personal growth journey.
Creating a Personalized Risk-Taking Plan
A personalized risk-taking plan is an effective tool for enhancing personal and professional growth. This involves two critical elements: setting clear and achievable goals, and tailoring strategies to individual comfort levels.
Setting Clear and Achievable Goals
Setting clear and achievable goals is the first step in forging a successful risk-taking plan. Goals provide a roadmap for your journey, offering a clear outline of what you hope to achieve, and the steps needed to reach these milestones.
Tailoring Strategies to Individual Comfort Levels
Once goals are established, it’s crucial to tailor strategies to your individual comfort levels. This does not mean avoiding discomfort completely—after all, personal growth often requires stepping outside your comfort zone.
However, it’s important to approach this growth in a way that respects your personal limits and ensures you don’t become overwhelmed.
This can be achieved by gradually increasing the level of risk or challenge you undertake, thereby slowly expanding your comfort zone over time.
By combining these two elements, you can create a personalized risk-taking plan that is both achievable and respectful of your comfort levels, facilitating meaningful personal growth.
Recognizing When to Pull Back
Sometimes, pushing boundaries can lead to high levels of stress or discomfort. It’s crucial to recognize when to pull back to maintain mental and emotional well-being.
Keeping an eye on your mental and emotional health is critical in maintaining balance when pushing your boundaries. If you notice signs of excessive stress or emotional distress – such as persistent anxiety, low mood, irritability, fatigue, or difficulty focusing – it may be a signal that you’re pushing yourself too hard.
It’s important to recognize these signs and take steps to manage stress and prioritize self-care. This might involve implementing relaxation techniques, seeking support from trusted individuals, or consulting a mental health professional.
Everyone has their own personal limits and it’s important to respect these. While it’s beneficial to push your boundaries and step outside your comfort zone, it’s equally important to recognize when a goal or challenge is too much for you to manage at the current time.
Listen to your body and mind, and if you find a certain goal is causing excessive strain, it’s absolutely okay to adjust it.
Tailoring your goals to align with your personal limits is not a sign of failure, but rather a sign of self-awareness and respect for your personal well-being. You can always revisit a goal when you feel more prepared to tackle it.
In conclusion, the journey of pushing one’s boundaries and embracing risk-taking is a nuanced process that requires a blend of self-awareness, strategic planning, and resilience. Today, we explored social anxiety, strategies to manage the fear of others’ opinions, professional guidance options, personalized risk-taking plans, and pulling back when needed.
These strategies work together to create a well-rounded approach to risk-taking, rooted in respecting personal comfort levels while gradually expanding them.
Risk-taking is crucial to mental growth. It encourages you to confront fears, challenge existing patterns of behavior and thought, and explore new opportunities, fostering resilience and adaptability.
However, you must balance this with mindful self-awareness, being aware of your personal limits and well-being. Ultimately, embracing risk-taking can help you achieve meaningful personal growth, allowing you to thrive and achieve your aspirations.
Therefore, now that you know how to take risks, you can use this information as a guide for your personal decisions. Make sure you spend enough time pondering different alternatives and trying new things to improve every day and get the future you want!
Finally, as you reflect on your own areas to work on, please remember that burnout and demise aren’t inevitable, that we can focus our energy on building courage to face what needs to be faced. My challenge to you is to find a person or small group that can help you along with this. Here are some tiny microdoses you can try to see how it supports your process of strategic risk-taking:
- Introduce yourself to someone new, even if it feels awkward
- Broach a sensitive topic in the spirit of improving a relationship (hint: writing thoughts down in advance can help!)
- Speak more about your struggles with someone you trust; try getting more comfortable with asking for help.
Wishing you much joy, peace, and momentum as you endeavor this process!