What Fuels Your Fear of Failure?
Life is often turned into a competition it never needed to be in the first place, either by us or by the people around us.
Parents compared us to our peers when we were children, which resulted in spending the rest of our lives comparing ourselves to others in terms of achievements. Driven by this intense desire for success, many develop a crippling fear of failure.
But, is there more to it? Could there be other underlying reasons that fuel this fear?
Denial of the Inevitable
Do you often quit if you don't excel at something immediately?
Success is the result of a prolonged process of trial and error. Therefore, to expect yourself to immediately excel in everything you attempt is not only naive, but also arrogant. Your competitive side may compel you to set high expectations for yourself and become your harshest critic — one that always expects you to come out on top, regardless of the circumstances. Hence, in your quest to avoid failure, it becomes easy to forget that it is, actually, an inevitable part of life.
The discrepancies between expectations and reality can take a serious jab at our self-esteem, thus resulting in a deep-rooted fear of failure.
We all wish happiness for our loved ones, especially our parents. In an attempt to make them happy, some of us set out to achieve the goals they've set for us. Although extremely noble, this practice can often prove to be a burden.
If your first thought upon facing failure is "How will my parents feel about this?" then perhaps you're striving to make them happy before yourself. This reaction is understandable as sometimes the expectation of the disappointed look, accompanied by silence, feels a lot more dreadful than a full-blown lecture.
However, is it realistic to always meet others' expectations? Is it fair to judge yourself solely based on somebody else's perception, without asking what you think of yourself? The sooner we realise the absurdity of this approach, the easier it'll become to overcome the fear of disappointing others.
Tying Self-worth with Success
In this cutthroat world, you may often find yourself subconsciously measuring your worth with the amount of success you achieve.
We see people posting their accomplishments all over social media — there's always somebody that got into their dream university or landed a highly rewarding job. The success stories around us can convince us to overlook our own accomplishments and fixate on failed attempts.
Believing that you're inherently incompetent upon facing any form of failure may be a sign that you have tied your self-worth to your achievements. Perhaps you've started to believe that your victories and defeats are the only things that define you, which is why you are terrified of failure and resort to disparaging yourself when you inevitably face a few defeats in life.
It's perfectly normal to feel sad, confused or even frustrated when faced with rejection or failure.
As a matter of fact, it is healthy to allow yourself to feel these emotions rather than trying to bottle them up. However, it is important to try and be in control of our emotions, rather than to allow our emotions to control us. What we can do is let ourselves sulk, but pick ourselves back up in time, to ensure that our fear of failure does not prevent us from growing.
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