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My Fear of Failure

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My biggest fear is failure.

When I was very young, I was an overly confident child. I thought I was going to save the world one day, and people would follow in my footsteps. As all children, I wanted to be a superhero, and I put my plan into action starting in first grade when I would try to stop the “fights” or keep the bigger kids from picking on the littler ones. I became teacher’s pet because I was so confident in myself that I didn’t feel the need to win over the other kids, I wanted to win over the adults. I would ask lots of questions, speak out of turn, try to speak intelligently; the whole package. This went on until sixth grade as I daringly defied everyone’s view of normal. In all honestly, I was just plain out arrogant.
When I hit the age of twelve I was allowed to enter my church’s youth group, and that’s when everything started going downhill. I all of the sudden felt like no one liked me, no one even noticed me. I didn’t fit in the way I was supposed to. I soon gained a reputation for eating a lot, and I mean major binging. I was so nervous about not acting the right way and one night when I ate more than usual, people finally noticed me. So I let food define me, not caring what was happening to my body in the process. I gained thirty pounds that year…..

At the time, I was still very confident in the youth group. I shared my answers with enthusiasm to the questions my youth pastor asked and constantly participated in games and other activities. And one day it changed. I just stopped talking, didn’t want to participate, from that day on every time I tried to pray out loud I’d just start crying and shaking because I thought everyone would think my prayers were stupid and amateur-like. I became a complete outcast; one time while the whole group was playing volleyball I just sat about thirty feet away in a spinny chair listening to a friend’s ipod. I figured it was better than the alternative of looking stupid and messing up in the game.

As my self-confidence slowly waned, my fear of not being accepted grew. And pretty soon, it seemed as if I was accepted nowhere. I was very naïve and as soon as I started dating a guy from my youth group that changed. He pushed me into a new identity that he had created. I was okay with that because I knew somewhere in my heart that it wouldn’t last and I should enjoy the time I had with him before he left me. I never was the average girl. I’ve never been the type to date or crush on a guy for a little while and move on. If I date a guy, it’s because there is no mistaking the fact that I’m head-over-heels in love with him. My full blown love convinced me to do almost everything he asked and before I knew it I had drifted away from my friends and family. I sank into a year of darkness as I slowly started to hate my parents for not letting me date him. We were so hostile towards each other, it was ridiculous. And it wasn’t just my family! My friends, all of them, had come to a point where they could barely stand me. I got into many fights with one, another was saying I had lost God (which was probably true), one I just neglected and she likely simply got sick of me, and so on and so forth. Now I only had one person who liked me for who I was, sort of…..
And this fear just kept growing and prospering inside me like a persistent sort of parasite. I’d start out something confident and simply feel weaker and weaker with each passing day. I was confident in sports during gym, until people started giving me dirty looks for hitting the ball wrong or not making a basket. Then I shrank to the back and let them lead. I was confident in theatre and music, until I didn’t get any part in the play, or I was never given a solo. I was confident in doing flips on the trampoline, until I messed up once and almost hurt myself. I was confident in my job, until I realized I didn’t fit in with “the guys” and I screwed up pizza orders several times in a week.

And with each of these activities I would tell myself I was going to do great and slowly talk myself out of it by believing the lie that I wasn’t good enough to succeed, I wasn’t good enough to do something right. I failed at everything because my only prediction was failure.

Now, as I prepare myself for learning how to drive, entering high school, making new friends at a new church, I have to convince myself that I have the power to succeed and I don’t have to do it on my own. I have a family dedicated to helping me succeed. And not to mention a God for whom I succeed for. I may not be the most athletic person, the best employee, and I probably won’t grow up to be a superhero. The only thing that is really certain is that one day my eyes will be opened and I will no longer have to fear failure. For succeeding doesn’t mean being the best at what you do, it just means doing it your best. And maybe someday it won’t just be my brain that realizes that, but my heart as well.

My biggest fear is no longer failure, it is the fear that someday I will stop striving to succeed.



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