Fear is a human thing. And sometimes, fear is the only thing that keeps us alive. It’s the sense of fear that keeps us out of dangerous situations. Maybe most people are afraid of heights. Some people are afraid of the dark, others of spiders, and yet others, snakes. Maybe we’re afraid of death.

It isn’t uncommon. What am I afraid of?

I’m afraid of never being loved.

Of course my family loves me. But outside of my family, I am legitimately afraid of never being loved. I have never told anyone outside of my family that I love them and no one has ever told me they loved me. I wonder a lot what it feels like. To be someone’s first choice. To be someone that someone is dying to see. The person they look forward to coming home to at the end of the day; the first person they want to share all of their good news with.

I am fully convinced that 99 percent of the relationships I cultivate in my life – both friendships and romantic – are only because I put in the first effort. If I don’t talk first, we don’t talk at all. If I don’t propose plans, we will go weeks, maybe months, and possibly years without seeing each other.

I want to know what it feels like to be the most important person in someone’s life. Someone’s person. And I am absolutely, positively terrified that I will never experience that. What I fear is never hearing those three little words: I love you.

Sometimes I convince myself that if I try harder, if I push myself more, if I put in yet even more effort, that they will want me, too. And yet, nearly every day, I am convinced that there will always be someone better. A better friend they prefer to hang out with. A better girl to date. And I’m standing here, in the dust, somehow convinced that it’s my fault.

Though I am paralyzed by this fear, I have to tell myself this: Someone else’s inability to see your worth doesn’t not make you less valuable nor does it actually lessen your worth.

But sometimes, it’s not enough. I’ll hole up in my apartment for days and not talk to anyone and because I don’t talk to anyone, I don’t hear from anyone. And so begins the cycle.

For now, I’ll dream. I’ll dream about being with someone who wants to be with me. I’ll dream of being with someone who puts me first, who respects me and my feelings. Or maybe I’ll just have to accept that fact that I will never be good enough for anyone. I will never be better than the next person or the other option..