Sometimes you’re your own monster under the bed.

1. A Fear of Flaws

No one is perfect — not you, not me, not the guy you’re dating — and not all flaws are unattractive. Stop fearing the very things that make you, well, human. Everyone is going to have their quirks and past mistakes, you included. Don’t be afraid of them, embrace them. It’s the only way to learn the better parts of the people you date.

2. A Fear of Repeating Past Mistakes

Today is here, and yesterday’s gone. If you live with this constant fear that you’re going back down a road that once failed you, you’ll never take any roads at all. You’ll stand there looking at all of the options and doubting each step you take. You’ll question everything. Be confident in the ways you’ve grown and the lessons you’ve learned. Stop comparing new loves to past loves. Stop comparing a past you to the new you.

3. A Fear of Commitment

Dating doesn’t mean you’re trapped. No one is going to shackle you in chains to their heart and drag you around against your will. Healthy relationships and supportive people will set you free, not hold you back. When you open yourself to the possibility of positivity, you’ll actually want to be committed. They’re on your team because that’s what relationships are supposed to be — a team, not a prison sentence. Besides, constantly pushing people away when nearing a committing stage is downright exhausting.

4. A Fear of Infidelity

Yes, people lie. People cheat. People steal. People even steal your confidence, but they don’t have to. Being afraid of dishonesty accomplishes nothing but the sheer destruction of every potential relationship you may have. Trust is everything. If you can’t trust someone, it rips apart the best parts of your time together and apart. Lack of trust is the disease that only continues to spread until it’s fatal.

5. FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out)

People like to create scenarios. It’s natural to throw around a few “what ifs” every once in a while. However, the truth of the matter is that they cause you to miss out on the opportunities right in front of you. There is never a perfect time for anything. Dating now doesn’t mean you can’t follow your career, travel or spend time with your friends. Spending time single doesn’t mean you are deliberately missing out on opportunities for intimate relationships. You’re not missing out, you’re experiencing the now, and that’s all we really have anyway.

6. A Fear of Public Disapproval

Everyone wants to feel accepted. Everyone wants the people around them to support who they spend time with. That’s natural. Unfortunately, it’s impossible. We shouldn’t need some sort of social approval to date someone. People are always going to judge you. Who cares? It’s hard enough to find someone you enjoy enough to be with, let alone someone everyone else in your life would want to date too.

7. A Fear of Your True Self

You have to love yourself before you can ever love anyone else. You have to come to terms with your supposed flaws and frailties and know that you’re worth the time and attention you deserve. You can’t be ashamed to show someone who you are. People can see through attempted disguises. They can tell if you’re being truthful and real. I know it can be terrifying to be vulnerable, but if you aren’t real, what are you?

8. A Fear of Being Alone

If you date, date for the right reasons. Don’t date because you feel you need someone. It forces you to make decisions and compromises you normally wouldn’t. Don’t stay with someone you know isn’t right for you because you are too afraid of being alone. Be confident alone. Be confident with someone else.

9. A Fear of Being Heartbroken

We’ve all been burned. We all know it’s a risk to let someone in and let them see you. Sometimes it’s so much of a risk that we almost intentionally destroy our own love lives to avoid the possibility of allowing someone to hurt us. It’s no way to live. Anything, and anyone, you care about has the power to break your heart, yes. But that same power can bring you immeasurable joy. Joy is worth the risk. Joy is worth being fearless, honest and genuine. Joy is worth plunging into uncharted territories, with an enormous smile and an open heart.