You surely did experience the fear of failure, at least once in your life: fear of failing in the most important relationships, in a new work project, in completing an important task that you set yourself (or your boss did) and everything else you can imagine.
This fear, the fear of failure, the fear of not being up to the situation, can be literally devastating to someone's mental health.
Fear can make you feel and act like frozen for so long and it may let what you fear the most come true: the inability to face with the right serenity the situations that your life presents to you every day.
The biggest risk you run is to sabotage your relationships and your most ambitious goals, one after the other.
But don’t worry, the good news is that the fear of something bad happening in the future is one of the things that make us human.
Yes, you might be thinking that even the animals fear an immediate danger, but they do it as a form of natural reaction to something potentially lethal that is happening right now, while we humans fear something that just might happen, that isn’t happening right now, that isn’t even showing its ugly face at the moment.
In other words: the majority of our fears are simply unjustified. This human fear is natural and necessary, as it prevents us from doing something stupid. Indeed, most of these fears are unnecessary, baseless, holding us back from achieving something important to us, something we need, desire, dream of.
I personally think that the fear of not being good enough is actually at the root of all the others. We fear we will fail because we are not good enough. We fear we will lose our relationships, that we will be abandoned, that we will be rejected, because we’re not good enough. We fear intimacy and love to another human being for the very same reason: I might get rejected because I am not good enough. Even the fear of not being successful is based on the worry that we’re not good enough.
Now, here’s a question that could change your way of thinking about fear in general and fear of failure in particular:
"What is the positive message that this fear wants to deliver to you?”
Fear always wants to protect you from something, all you have to do is seize the precious indication that it carries with it.
Now think about one of your biggest fears for a second.
You got it?
Ok, now ask yourself:
"What is the message that this fear wants to convey to me?
What is its positive intention?"
I believe that when we fear something we are simply receiving a gentle knock from our subconscious. In that precise moment, we are being encouraged to take care of ourself. We are receiving a message of Love, the love we are not showing to ourselves, the unconditional love each one of us always deserve and that only I can grant to myself.
Yes. You should start now loving yourself, deeply, unconditionally, sincerely.
Here’s my promise number ONE: “why it is important to love myself” will be the topic of one of my next articles.
In the meantime, I want you to know how important is to listen to the message your fears are delivering to you.
In my experience, most of times fear used to show off only in some specific situation, like a sort of regular appointment. Thus, I focused on that situation and I eventually realized that it was time for me to change that situation or just to be aware that I surely needed some more time to get more prepared, more focused, more conscious, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t capable of handle it in the proper way.
Now, understand and embrace the message your fears are telling you, make it your own and allow those fears to finally let go of you.
In the meanwhile, when the unjustified fear comes, in the form of a panic attack, for example, or perhaps simply by a generalized status of anxiety, what can we practically do?
Of course, there is no universal solution, suitable for each one of us. But I do believe that comparing each other’s experiences and possible remedies could be at least of great relief.
Personally speaking, I have been using some “tips” that work very well, during the last years. The most important one is, for sure, the one that follows. I am talking about breathing.
Breathe deeply to “quell” anxiety.
Think about it: when you are calm and relaxed you breath deeply and slowly as your unconscious action of breathing simply follows your personal “rhythm”.
Isn’t it true?
Well, we just have to take advantage of this simple rule and make the opposite, so that by focusing and breathing in the proper way, we might feel calm and relaxed, right after a couple of minutes of practicing.
We can start breathing “normally”, we inhale slowly through the nose, make a pause of 3 to 4 seconds and then exhale from the mouth, focusing on each movement of our lungs and belly; if we can, we do it after having found a comfy place to sit and relax a little while with our eyes closed, but even if this is not possible we can make this breathing exercise also continuing our normal daily activities, simply being aware of our breath. The concept of being aware is extremely important, as most of times we act without being really aware of what we are doing, thinking, eating, saying and so on.
We should learn to be aware in order to take full control of our thoughts and - as a consequence of that - of our life, by avoiding overthinking and other mind-related bad habits.
And now, at last, here’s my promise number TWO: the importance of being aware and the main mistakes we let our brain commit will be among the topics I will discuss in my next articles.
London, September 2019