Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Fear Of Failure

Yesterday's post reminded me of the quote, "what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

I've talked before about how much of a perfectionist I am, how I set myself up for "failure" by striving towards standards I can never meet, how I never feel good "enough".

When I was younger, I worked hard at school and my music and would interpret it as a major catastrophe if I didn't excel...even 100% wasn't enough. I always felt I could have done better. Since my eating disorder became a major issue in my life, aside from the perfectionistic drive towards food/weight goals, things have changed. I'm now almost scared to TRY because I *know* I won't meet the standards I set. The thought of not being good enough has prevented me from doing countless things- applying for jobs, going back to school, etc. The times I HAVE taken on jobs or returned to studying, regardless of how well I am doing, the fear that I'll be "caught out" as some kind of fraud who is deep down completely useless, is paralysing. My anorexia has flourished during these times- it just seems easier to have to quit the job/drop out of school because I am sick rather than wait for a time when I have to face the fact that I am too stupid/lazy/useless. I should point out that I've never waited very long- I can be getting 100% on every test, but it feels false, like NEXT time I'll fail, and it hasn't been a risk I've wanted to take. By retreating into the shadow of anorexia, I have a valid excuse to not go any further and avoid the risk of failure.

I'm not quite sure how to get over this hurdle. I need to figure out a way to stop worrying so much- it doesn't MATTER if I am not absolutely perfect. Nobody IS! So easy to say, yet so much harder to believe and accept. I need to find a way to value myself outside of external achievements...to know that I deserve to eat, be healthy and happy, regardless of what position I hold/what awards I have won. To take pleasure in the things I do, and like I mentioned recently, ENJOY THE RIDE without so much anxiety over the ultimate results.

Question of the day: What have you done recently that you were scared of even attempting in case it didn't go to plan?..

6 comments:

dancelikenooneiswatching said...

i knw what about anxiety, i get paniky about going out now, as i dont want to be judged, qustioned or seen as boring etc...but you know what, our imperfections are what makes us unique and so special...the other day i was talking to my boyf about what we loved about each other, at least 3 things he said, were things i saw as imperfect or weaknesses but he LOVES them..it shows we can be far to hard on ourselves we need to be trusting and if we fall, just get back up and learn from our experiences..have a lovely day xxx

Sarah said...

"Try again. Fail again. Fail BETTER."

I really like this quote...it acknowledges that we might try something and not succeed like we first hoped...and then we might try again and STILL not end up with the "perfect" results we envisioned...and that is OK...and not only ok, but wonderful. It is what makes life beautiful, unpredictable, and worth living!

Danielle said...

I like you set goals that I never would be able to meet, and if I do I never give myself the congratulations I deserve. Others might be extremely proud of me but I never am.
I think this only whole journey towards being healthier is something I assumed I wouldn't be able to do, granted it's only been a month and a 1/2 and so far so good, but at the same time I'm just waiting for me to drop the ball, it's hard to feel accomplished when you are so hard on yourself.

Lauryn said...

i am SO with you on this, i am a perfectionist through and through. i am trying to counter these thoughts by telling myself that I AM ENOUGH. i am perfect the way i am, i am GOOD ENOUGH and SMART ENOUGH and BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH because i am ME. it's definitely easier said than done, but i am tired of trying to reach the allusive state of perfection -- because we know it doesn't exist! good for you for thinking this through and becoming more and more self aware!

Sam said...

I also never feel good enough. And the fear of failure, the uncertain, the unknown has held me back from doing many things.
One thing that I have done recently is eat dinner with my husband, and I mean actually make a dinner and sit down at the table together. I avoided it for years. And you know what? I LOVE IT! I enjoy our meals together, it is a great time to talk after work.
I think one important thing to do is not to fight the anxiety. Just do something that may be uncertain without worrying about the anxiety that accompanies it. Welcome the anxiety...and with time, the anxiety will go away.
And it is okay not to be perfect.

Elle said...

I finally sought help for my eating disorder a little over a month ago. One of the reasons it took me so long to admit my problem was that doing so felt like a failure in and of itself. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, and every day I've been trying to remind myself that tackling this disease head on is not an admission of failure but a testament to my resolve and strength.

Your posts are really thought-provoking and insightful, and I'm looking forward to reading more.