Several weeks ago I wrote about not being broken. And I really do believe that we, I, am not broken. In my head, I genuinely think this. In my heart, I struggle every day. I know that I am growing and learning about how to move beyond the trauma, but I am also still struggling with a sense of who I am and what I am capable of doing. As well as how do I allow myself to succeed.
I have long since let go of all the hate and anger that I have towards those that so heinously abused me. I have moved into a place of peace as far as they are concerned. That did not happen overnight. It took years to find that place. The thing I struggle with now is my sense of self-worth and fear of success. I have been limping through an MFA writing program. I am working on a novel. At first, the scope of the book was comprehensive as I tried to desperately tie all the aspects of my life into the story in anonymous ways. That did not work out so well. I was trying to share so much of my story in a fictionalized way that it became a vast “oversharing moment” disguised as literature. The second draft was fewer characters and stories and more on the thriller side of things. That also didn’t turn out as I wanted it to. I am now on the slimmer and more finely tuned version. Whether this one works or I just go back and fix version two is still up in the air.
Why am I telling you this? Because my greatest fear in life is to succeed, it is also my greatest desire. To that end I find myself comparing my work or my life to other people’s lives. I see where they produce what appears to be relatively flawless work. I don’t know how much time they spend on their work or how long it takes them. All I know is that I see what others are doing and feel lost in the struggle. I choose to let myself be overwhelmed by my own desire to succeed and stop working.
I am supposed to be writing a relatively short book to submit at the end of the month for consideration of publication. Do I have the story mapped out? Yes. Do I know what I am going to write? Mostly. Have I done any of it? Can I count the two pages I keep writing and deleting? In other words, I sit down at the computer. Look at the screen and see my failure before I have begun. The book I am writing is not meant for the NY Times bestseller list. It is also not intended for consideration of an award. It is a simple story of two people. A story that is meant to entertain and perhaps make someone smile. Because those are the books that saved my life. And that is what I want to give back.
I have the house to myself today, and I plan to write. With the dedication to overcome my ADD, I can accomplish this book. Send it off. And see how it goes. Whether that book makes it and is published is not really as important as the fact that I overcame the resistance and lethargy associated with my fear of succeeding. I have had other successes in life. But I did not give my all to make them happen. They were to me moderate success. Because I knew I held back. This time I need to give my all and accomplish this book. Writing is my dream and my love. It is time I lived my goal instead of always preparing to live my dream.
Do you let your fears keep you from your dreams or do you just step off that ledge and give it all you have? Let me know how you move past your fears.
4 thoughts on “Is it fear of failure or success?”
What I remember about your writing and thinking when you were studying psychology is that you were a very very good writer and thinker. And I don’t say that to just anyone. Your blogs are always moving. Just saying…..
I struggle with the same thing. The only thing that fuels me is this desire and as I approach it nothing scares me more. I get riddled with the feelings of inadequacy and spin in circles reworking numbers, reworking lists, journaling about it….such small steps and so much energy lost to angst.
How do I deal with these daily and often moment to moment feelings? I have been taught to stop the urge, the action to fix it. I have been taught to slow the reaction down, give space for the feeling, the sensations associated with the feeling and then to ground contain so I can move past tolerating it to relaxing around it.
It is painful, terribly uncomfortable and yet the doing and redoing actually feeds the fear. It creates this horrible feedback loop fear I can’t do, freezing in the pattern, actually not doing what I in fact an adequate to do, then the shame.
In actually stopping and giving space to my feelings, perception of inadequacy, in allowing the feeling a voice, without interruption it lessens. I can approach. It has shifted my presence in many settings when I would have gone into the background and given.
The fear still grips me in the chest as if someone is lifting me off the grioundby the neck of my shirt. But now I know what it is, the path it takes if I give it power, the path it takes if I resist a or ignore it. Now I know I can surf it and relaxation can come in the surfing the breathing into it.
Small steps but any step is such a huge relief. To be able to breathe with it is a gift.
Thank you so much for sharing this. Small steps, any steps are often a relief.
Hi My Friend,
Thank you for sharing this post. Paralyzing perfectionism has been a major part of my life. Recently I was ready to give up on a large project thatI felt inadequate (and frankly too tired) to accomplish. Fortunately a person that I had previously mentioned the project to offered to help me. I was initially tempted to decline (as I had mentally given up), but I caught myself accepting the offer. With that acceptance came collaborations that greatly improved my project and made up for my inadequacies. My take away from this experience is to continuing sharing my goals with others and not doing it completely alone.
I appreciate you post giving me causeto reflect on this experience. So glad to benefit from your expertise.