Are You More Afraid of Success than Failure?

“Often our fear stems from a fear of success, not failure. Is there a parent, friend, business partner, sibling, child or lover that you are hesitant to “surpass?” Is there someone you think may be offended or may reject you if you are more successful or happier than they are?”- Ashley Turner, “Overcoming Self-Sabotage.”

Yesterday, I was reading a post by Ashley Turner on The Daily Love entitled, “Overcoming Self-Sabotage.” The quote above struck me and I realized that I’ve been guilty of serious self-sabotage throughout my life. I have a true fear of success. I always thought it was because I didn’t want the responsibility that comes with it. I thought I was had a fear that it would bring a burden of people expecting more of me. When I really think about it, that’s not what scared me because I thrive when I’m needed. I realize that the fear is that someone will think that I think that I am better than them because I am more successful. It sounds crazy when I write it, but I realize that it’s deep-rooted from my childhood.

I can remember so many instances in my life where someone noticed my talents. Being that I can pick up on people’s emotions, I could always sense when someone wasn’t excited about the fact that I could do something. I can remember feeling waves of negative emotions even while the person was smiling in my face. I remember comments like, “Well, you just know everything, don’t you?” After hearing the condescending tone, I would fold into myself and hide my talents. I was a people-pleaser and I didn’t want anyone to feel that I was better than them. I wanted to fit in, not stand out.

As I grew older, it was too hard to hold back. I embraced my ability to stand out, but I walked a fine line. I didn’t show all that I could do, but I did accept recognition for what I allowed people to see. It’s one of the reasons that I abandoned my writing. I knew it was a talent, but I wanted to listen to everyone else and believe that I couldn’t do anything with it. It seemed like it was easier to drift through life using distraction and things as a means of excitement. But, the thing about a calling is that it never leaves. It waits for you to understand your own greatness. It will strip everything from your life until you have no choice but to turn to your purpose. So, I am finding that writing is more important than what anyone thinks about me.

What I’ve realized is that your talent is not about you being better than anyone else. It’s what you were born to do. It’s your passion. We are all born with something that lights us up and we are meant to shine. Imagine if a bee decided that he wasn’t going to be a bee because he was worried about what someone was going to say. It would ruin the whole eco-system. It sounds silly, but we all have a role that we are meant to play. Maybe, playing small is missing an opportunity to inspire the people in your eco-system. What if someone won’t be elevated because you aren’t elevating yourself. The reality is that when you are using your talent, you’re not in competition with anyone. You are living your purpose and that is what this journey is all about.

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”- Marianne Williamson