Last week I wrote about how my life changing news threw me into disarray. This got me thinking about big life changes in general and how many of us, not just those suffering with anxiety, find it difficult to cope with being thrown into the abyss of the unknown. But should we avoid change because of fear of failure? Is it really better the devil you know or is there a way we could learn to deal with life changes in a more constructive manner than our minds often revert to?
I am working on a more general article on how to deal with huge life altering changes, but for today I thought I’d share some of my own personal feelings.
On Wednesday I shared with you all some of the best news of my life. After 12 long weeks, the emotions of finally being able to see that little face on the ultrasound and meeting our baby for the first time, were truly beautiful and overwhelming. But it doesn’t always start off that way.
Before the scan you don’t have much in the way of proof that there’s an actual baby growing inside of you, and there is this huge part of you that, despite all the sickness and mood-swings and weight gain, is terrified that you’ve made it all up in your head! It is an agonising nearly 3 months, and it is usually during the first trimester that you feel your worst, so not being able to tell everyone to explain why you’re being a tired, temperamental and pretty pathetic lunatic is pretty hard.
On top of that, it doesn’t really sink in that you’re having baby because, as mentioned above, there’s no proof: there’s no bump and you just feel rubbish. It can create an array of mixed emotions and fears.
When I started on this journey to become self-employed I knew that one the hardest things to deal with would be other people’s opinions on what I was doing. I knew that the road I was about to embark on would strike a chord of fear amongst many because I was doing the opposite of everything we’ve been taught that would lead to a ‘successful’ life. Fighting against a lifetime of education aimed to do one thing, is not easy.
I knew that to realise my dream I would need to surround myself with people who were a positive influence. People who encouraged and believed in my dream rather than those who would project their own fears on to me in an attempt to be down to earth. To be rational. But why does this fear exist?
“Just because you feel it, doesn’t mean you have to act on it and it doesn’t mean it’s reality”
Sometimes feelings of “I’m not good enough”, can overwhelm me. Like today 🙁 It’s good to talk feelings out. To not give them ultimate power over you. But it’s also ok to have a down day. I won’t feel guilty for it and hope that this diary entry today will show that there’s no shame in feeling inadequate. Because at some point we all feel that way.
You may have noticed a lack of posts lately, maybe even a bit of a disconnection with me, its author.
A few weeks ago, I posted a vlog about how to let go of anger, in which I talked about the mountain of stress that had been coming my way. I also spoke about how my emotions and coping mechanisms seem to shut down in order to manage the overwhelming pressure I put myself under. It is like my mind is saying, “ENOUGH, I need a break!”
You see, on top of building this site in order to start living my soul purpose (which as all you bloggers know, is a lot more work than just posting an article every now and then), I’ve also been planning a wedding, started a life-coaching course, am organising a 3 months travelling excursion as part of our honeymoon, and am writing a book (well, I’ve kind of started 3…). We’re also moving out of our house a week before we get married and I’m trying to do all the housework because I feel so guilty over not earning any money.
And I have given myself a timeframe of 4 months.
Sometimes my fear of failure is so big that I feel my whole body shutting down on me, almost in a way to protect itself. It isn’t even necessarily fear of my dreams not working out. It’s that I’ll self-sabotage myself and make the wrong decision. I so often wish I could fast forward 6 months and see the outcomes of my decisions, just to have some peace of mind that what I’m doing is the right thing.
This got me thinking about failure and why it is we as human beings are so afraid of it. I once read about how we bring this fear into adulthood from learning it as children. Good grades and good outcomes in every aspect of a child’s life are always praised and encouraged. And so they should, but are we inadvertently teaching our children that anything but success isn’t valuable. Doesn’t with failure itself also come experience, modesty, compassion and a chance to be better?
So what do we define has having failed? I just looked up the word failure in the dictionary on my mac (to see if there was another word for it so I don’t keep repeating the same word!) and it states failure to be ‘a lack of success’. That kind of took my breath away a little, but I understand a dictionary’s need to be literal! But surely all failed outcomes haven’t been a 100% negative experience? Take a driving test for example. Failing the test at the end doesn’t mean you haven’t learnt to drive does it? So even though the outcome wasn’t what you wanted, to have a full driver’s licence, you have still succeeded in learning to drive.
So I think therein lies the key. To realise that failure doesn’t really exist, because there isn’t only one outcome to our experiences; we don’t just pass or fail. Everything is made up of little successes and/or little opportunities to either do better or to lead us on to something else. Once you realise this, that there is no fear of failure, that the fear is about something else for example how it will make you feel, you free yourself up to trying more things, to leave your comfort zone and to have faith that it isn’t the end result that matters, but the journey.