Lupus Alae

Spiritflights, fledgling and ancient


What are you truly afraid of?

I've been enjoying my OBOD coursework thus far; I find it both interesting and immensely beneficial in my personal life. I generally pace through at about a lesson per week/week and a half, on my own schedule as I feel ready to progress. Recently, however, I was held fast by a certain lesson for almost six weeks. I was arrested by the tough questions asked, because I was determined to give/find honest answers.

Scorpios don't do anything halfway, you know. ;-)

It's been quite a journey through my head and heart, and trying to follow the thread of truth to its source. I'm still not done (are we ever, with anything that truly matters?), but I thought I'd share what I'm learning about myself, in case it helps someone else out there. (Most of this next part is taken directly from my journal.)

One thing in my life that's been hurting me lately, and for a while now if I'm being honest, is the feeling of a sort of intellectual stagnation, a nagging sense that I'm not doing enough, on a practical level. It's hard to describe. I know I can be and do more than I am -- I'm working on that, regarding the spiritual side of things, with the course I'm taking and the time I spend meditating, praying, listening. But the practical and intellectual facets are still problematic. I reject that. So what can I do?

(and this is the part that took such a long time to piece together)

After much time with that question chewing holes in my sleep and shouldering aside most other thoughts in moments of solitude, it hit me. For a long time I have toyed with the notion of starting a business from home, but I didn't know what I could do that would be successful and still fit my current needs and limitations. For so long, it was as if the idea was on the tip of my mind's tongue but I couldn't ever get it to take solid enough form to taste it, name it, move forward with it.

One morning in the shower, I saw it in my head, clear as day. I knew what I could do! For once, even the nitty gritty practical details were working themselves out, unfolding naturally. I was on fire for this idea. I need this...and even so, I hesitate. I've frozen the plans in my head and have been sorely tempted to backpedal before anything truly happens there.


Again, this answer was slow in coming, but I felt as though I couldn't move on from the questions I'd asked myself without digging at this one (and I definitely wasn't moving forward with my business plan if I didn't push against this new resistance, even though it felt like I was fighting myself -- which is a very complex and painful position to be in!). When I finally figured out the name of the boulder in my way, it felt like I'd been struck by lightning.

Fear. It's fear that keeps me from striving toward my dreams. That's a tough realization; I have plowed through some potentially terrifying stuff in my life without being cowed under. (Spiders don't count!)

You might say, "Well, most people have that fear of failure to some degree; it's normal. We don't like failing." But it's not a fear of failure that keeps my best ideas chained inside my head. I fail. Everyone fails. There's always a lesson in there somewhere, and I appreciate learning, even if I don't like coming up short any more than anyone else does. I'm not paralyzed by the prospect of failure.

I am afraid of success.

Failure is a normal part of life and I know how to handle it. It removes all pressure, and expectations stay the same or become lower. There's a certain freedom in failing, because if you're already flat on your face in the dirt, you don't have to worry about the distance to the ground from where you are; there's no fear of falling down or letting people down once you've already done it. You're poised for anything you do or anywhere you go to be better/higher than where you currently are.

With success, expectations increase and pressure mounts. People keep demanding more from you. More. Better. Faster. Bigger. Failure can be endured; success requires a lot more than thick skin and enough grit to get by. I know a thing or two about success; in the past I had a lot of it. It's overwhelming when no matter what you do or what bar you meet, people immediately look to the next higher one. Nobody is ever satisfied, and the higher you climb, the harder you fall when you finally miss a step and find yourself plunging downward. At some point in my past, there was too much success, and I set about wrecking all of those shining expectations.

Let's look at my high school self as an example: I was virtually guaranteed valedictorian, so I made sure to take classes that would not get me enough Honors credits to win that top spot. Major universities courted me, the best in the country, so I attended a small university in my home state in a relatively secluded area. I chose challenging classes, so my grades wouldn't be quite so perfect and nobody would look at me; if I had to be a smart girl at least I could be just "one of those smart people" instead of top of the top, best of the best. I sacrificed as many of other people's (and my own) expectations and lowered the bar as far as I possibly could without compromising my soul.

Looking back, I can see this pattern through so much of my life; it's driven most of my major decisions and I regret that. I'm not even 30 yet though. I can still change the way it goes from here on out. I find myself struggling to reset those thoughts and feelings; it's a process. And I'm impatient. But I am learning, and I am striving. Fear can't win.

What are you afraid of? What holds you back?

You might be surprised by the answer.


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