The Fear of Failure

It’s okay to fear new things and experiences. Challenges wouldn’t be challenges if we knew what we were doing. I think what I’m most afraid of, though, is not the challenge itself, but failing. Whenever I fail at something I always have to fight the thoughts that say I must not have been trying my best or this thing you were trying clearly isn’t within your capacity to do. And as always, whenever I start to have these thoughts, I give in without a fight. But giving up shouldn’t be my first response.

If what I am afraid of is failing then I should train myself to expect and accept it. Mistakes happen. Everyone makes them. They are not the end of the world (or career or new-found hobby) and I most certainly have no reason to believe I have been branded a failure. And I’m sure there are a million self-help books that say the same thing: you can only be a failure if you don’t try. But what if I’m afraid to try?

What if I’m so afraid to start I’m paralyzed? What if I’m afraid of disgracing myself in the eyes of…myself. And here, we see my problem. Expectations. Or rather, the expectations I put on myself are way too high. No one is perfect, and I am certainly no exception. So why do I expect nothing but perfect marks from me? Well, to be honest, I don’t know. I know I can do better, sure, but I shouldn’t mistake doing better with being marvelous. I am never going to walk away from a project with a glowing halo around myself and it. It’s just not gonna happen. So why can’t I accept that?

And I think I’ve found my first goal of the new year. To find out what I’m truly afraid of. Disgrace? Or maybe an even greater fear. The fear that I can be successful.

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One thought on “The Fear of Failure

  1. Ooh, finding out what you’re truly afraid of sounds intense and cool. Digging to the heart of it. I think I definitely had a fear of succeeding. I may have had a pattern of self-sabotaging. Do share when you find out what you’re truly afraid of.

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