• rachaelkool

Self-sabotage with fear of failure

All weekend long I have been trying to bring myself to work on a few things and I thought that my fear of failing at it was what was keeping me stuck and constantly looping over the same stupid crap over and over and over.  When fear of failure is at play - I over edit and overthink.  I did work on a few things but it was the classic scenario where I didn't actually finish anything but just sort of worked on a whole bunch of things.  This does not lead to a very productive day at all and actually can sometimes overwhelm me more.

I came to work today and googled the definition of failure because I was sure it was going to make me feel heard by the internet because it would describe me perfectly.  

Failure:lack of success. 

This definition did not lead to feeling heard but actually made me more perplexed because that doesn't fit how I feel at all.  So I totally took my own advice as a therapist and consulted my wheel of feelings and disappointment stuck out like a sore thumb. (Yes, I totally therapize myself sometimes ha).  So I looked up that definition.  

Disappointment: sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one's hopes or expectations.  

Well, I definitely had great displeasure about the non-fulfillment of what I set out to do.  I still am quite certain fear of failure had a lot at play here.  Here is how I see it breaking down. 

1. Possibility of failure: "What if I blow it? What if nobody likes it and they all criticize me?" 2. Feeling unworthy and becoming overwhelmed: "I'm freaking out! I can't handle this!" 3. Procrastination is a way to tune out unpleasant emotions: "I'll just wait a little longer to work on this.  Then I'll start when I feel better."  4. Sabotage ourselves so if we fail we can avoid feeling unworthy by blaming our failure on not enough time: "Well now I ran out of time so it's not my best work"

Our feelings can dictate or indicate.  If they dictate, it starts to control our actions, our thoughts and our behavior.  If we choose to view them as indicators, we allow ourselves the opportunity to learn from them and learn about ourselves.  

I noticed that I was feeling disappointed which is indicating I have fear of failure at play here.  If I choose to let it dictate, it starts sounding more like I'm a disappointment which is not true and I know that.  So I was able to bring some reality into the situation and recognize I felt disappointed because I might be afraid of failing - but I didn't fail that day.  I was being dramatic.  I did accomplish things just not to my expectations.  Maybe what needed to be adjusted was my expectations - not giving up or not trying.  

The more I recognize how I need to bring a little logic into my emotions the more confidence I get in managing them which results in more confidence in being me.  And who doesn't want a little more of that sometimes?! :) 

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