Fear, Gratitude and Trust. How can I help you shine your light?
Have you ever experienced something really great and then been paralyzed by fear?
Fear of loosing what you’ve gained, fear of waking up and realizing it was just a dream, fear that you won’t be able to keep it up and that you will end up disappointing people?
There’s a reason why successful musicians usually spend a lot more time working on their second album. And there’s a reason why famous and successful people often self-sabotage by either quitting what they’re doing, create a public scandal or just change tracks completely.
I think it’s because they can’t handle the pressure.
Since I grew up with my nose in a book, I will use an example from my own academic experience.
For my first year of law school, I (quite unexpectedly, at least to me) got a double A on my exam. I don’t want to brag, but out of about 600 students sitting the exam, there were 11 of us who got two A’s.
It was huge.
And don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful and proud of my own achievement and this has opened the doors to a lot of interesting opportunities. But doing so well in my first year has also been a burden to carry thoughout my studies. Because with achievement comes fear.
Fear of screwing up a really good opportunity. Fear of not being able to do it again. Fear of disappointing myself and others. Fear that it will only go downhill from here.
And so I have been struggling my way through law school with huge and very unrealistic expectations of myself. Which has not been healthy. And I haven’t done as well as I wanted to do, because I have been so afraid to fail.
Because I didn’t know how to handle the pressure that comes from being good at something.
(And yes, I mean this literally. I have been so afraid of not being able to keep it up that I have seriously expected nothing but the absolute perfection of myself. And when I’m not able to be perfect (which, is like, never!) I seriously think I’ve failed the exam. Every time. Which of course never happens.)
When I posted my story a few days ago, I had no idea what to expect. Maybe a few comments, maybe an e-mail or two. Not in my wildest fantasies did I ever expect being met with so much love and support. I don’t have words to express my gratitude. For the first time in my life I feel like I’m not alone. And it means everything to me – it really, really does.
But with support, praise, success and love comes that sneaking fear of screwing it up.
What happens when they realize I’m not really that awesome after all? What happens when they realize I’m not always inspiring, not a consistenly good writer, not good enough? What happens when it becomes apparent that I still struggle? Will anyone still listen to me? Will anyone still like me? Will anyone still accept me?
Because when you are used to suffering, to being the most unlucky person on earth, to being rejected – being supported, loved and accepted is overwhelming. And frightening. And too good to be true.
Have you ever felt this way?
Another thing I have learned from Brené Brown, however, is that the best way to accept joy and happiness is to focus on gratitude. Because gratitude always is more powerful than fear. And so this is what I’m working on right now.
But how do you show your gratitude without acting like a complete fool? Without saying thank you a million times and by that undermining the truth that lies in the love, support and the praise?
I mean, does being baffled, speechless and completely overwhelmed by the fact that people (and by that I mean you!) seem to like what I do only re-inforce the view I have of myself as an unworthy and less acceptable person?
(As you might have noticed by now, my mind never gives me peace.)
After seaching my soul and working on accepting and being grateful for the support and love, I have found that the response that is true to my spirit and mission is to continue being myself. Freely. Completely.
It’s about trust.
Trusting who you are, trusting that people actually do like you, trusting that the love is real.
And so the response true to my soul is to continue to be of service. Which is why I want to ask
How can I best help you on your healing journey? How can I support you in making your dreams come true? How can I help you live the life you want to live? How can I be your light, lifeboat or your ladder? What do I seem to know that you most want to learn? What do you need rigth now?
If you can think of anything I can do, please comment or send me an e-mail to Marthe@thefreedomexperiment.com.
Being of service is the medicine I can give to the world that will also heal me.*
(*Credit to Danielle LaPorte for this beautiful phrase)