We are all afraid to fail. It’s human nature. However, feeling fear doesn’t mean that you have to be subject to it and stop yourself from making a move. On the other hand, suppressing fear when you have it isn’t healthy, either, for what you resist persists. In fact, unlike what many people may think, fear of failure is not at all verminous to your success but bears rich meanings that help you to decipher life and to know yourself. The seven perspectives below might give you a hint on how to embrace your fear of failure and let it ease your life.
1. The Fear of Abandonment
The fear of failing can be by a handful of reasons, such as being highly critical of oneself, low self-trust, or insecurity, etc. In my opinion, however, in many cases, fear of failure can be attributed to the fear of not being loved.
We were born with infinite worth and deserving of unconditional love, no matter what we do or don’t do. The idea that we have to succeed to be loved and accepted comes from the society and our caregivers. When we were little, they made it clear that we would be praised and rewarded (a form of love) if we did something right and be scolded and punished (a form of abandonment) if we made mistakes. As we grew up, we adopted this belief and have stuck to it as a golden rule for life—success means we are “good” and we will be loved, and failure means we are “bad” and no one will care about us. Often, when we fear failure, what we fear is the dreadful horror of disapproval and rejection from others.
If you fall into this category, cultivate your sense of worthiness and deserving of love before working on your fear of failure. The Universe is a giant mirror of us, indiscriminatingly reflecting our thoughts and feelings back to our reality by way of our interactions with others. Therefore, if you want others to love you, you have to feel loved first; if you want others to approve you, you need to appreciate yourself first. Neither has anything to do with whether you succeed or fail.
When you can finally believe in your worthiness and love yourself unconditionally regardless, you will no longer be so serious about the results. And you will just go ahead with whatever excites you the most with a big smile on your face.
2. Transform Negative Beliefs
Whether it is learning a new skill, kicking off a new project, or starting your own business, if what you are going to do is simple and straight, you probably won’t feel fear, will you? Then there must be some difficulties that render your project a bit more challenging that you would like and they make your stomach rumble. But realize that many looming obstacles are conjectured by your mind based on past experiences, beliefs, and the conditioning you have received from your caregivers, society, and the environment where you grew up—they aren’t necessarily true. For example, your mom may have inadvertently mentioned that you had a bad voice; you felt shame about it, and as you grew up, you either avoid singing entirely or feel dreadful whenever you need to sing in front of others even though you have a secret yearning to be a singer. Nonetheless, has it ever occurred to you that what your mother said isn’t true at all? Have you ever allowed yourself to sing a song out loud to hear the purity of your voice?
We may all have a hidden financer, violinist, dancer, writer, artist, orator, or engineer at heart; but we never gave them the chance to develop as they were unacknowledged or even mocked when we were young, and we have since been too embarrassed to bring them up. However, the passion and love that we have for a certain occupation, skill, or language, are exactly the indication that we have a gift for it; and we all can cultivate it regardless of what others say. When the fear of failure strikes you because you lack certain qualities to achieve your goal, try digging through your memories and past experiences, find out whether they have led to the limiting beliefs that hold you back, and change them into positive, empowering ones.
3. Trust the Universe
Those of us who like catastrophizing things suffer from fear of failure inevitably, because everything we do will probably fail. However, by predisposing ourselves to failure, we are also acting the part of a fortune teller and assuming that we know, with a high level of certainty, what the future will look like.
We might be over-confident of our predicting ability in this case. No matter how much we think we know, our three-dimensional mind can only perceive, focus, and pay attention to a tiny portion of all information relevant to our tasks at hand—the remaining, which we fail to recognize or notice, might point to completely different outcomes.
Future is never as fixed as we have imagined based on our limited knowledge, but a probability distribution of an infinite amount of possible outcomes. The moment that you set an intention to achieve a goal, the Universe starts to make arrangements and bring people, resources, and circumstances that can be of help to you. All you need to do is to trust your instinct (the means through which the Universe communicates with you) and act on it without fear. Once you have taken your first step, you will then be led to other channels that facilitate your success. You will keep receiving guidance in this way until you reach the summit and revel at the view, all the while being amazed by how you have been helped along the way without anticipating it.
4. Own Your Fear of Failure
When fear arises, ignoring it only serves to prolong the fear—what you resist persists. The suppressed fear will not go away but stay in the subconscious mind, continually magnetizing people and events that invoke the same fear until you face it.
Acknowledging that you’re afraid of failing does not make you weak; on the contrary, it is when you own your fear that you have the power to transform it—you can’t change something that does not belong to you. When your eyebrows raise, heart pounds faster, your mind goes blank, or your body freezes, don’t exacerbate it by telling yourself “This is no big deal. I’m not afraid”—no situation is too trivial to invoke fear. Own your fear and embrace it as an old friend: pause for a moment, locate the tension, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to feel the fear. Visualize the feeling, give it a name, a color, or even texture. As you immerse with it, the fear begins to alleviate, and you will see it dissipate bit by bit.
Avoid deciding on next steps while you’re still feeling afraid, as fear vibrates low and prompts you to make low-vibe, hasty decisions that do not align with your highest good. Raise your vibration by dissolving fear first, and your state of consciousness will lift; then you will be able to see the problem at hand with clarity and come up with the optimal solution.
5. Make A Self-Loving Decision
Anytime when the fear of failure pays a visit, it is the perfect time to practice self-love, as typically you will be faced with two or more options: one of them self-loving, the others ego-driven. A self-loving decision does not mean you spoil yourself by staying in the comfort zone and giving up trying—your true self might believe you can achieve your goal and urge you to act despite your fear and discomfort. At other times, it is the ego that craves for mundane benefits and social conformity and lures you to do things where there are serious risks. In either case, you will not know the answer until the moment you ask yourself: “What would I do if I loved myself?” Feel the answer and act upon it. Your ego might protest; remind yourself that a self-loving decision is the one that gives you the biggest joy, has the highest vibration, and maximizes your long-term benefits—even though you might not see it in that way at the time.
6. How Much Do You Love It?
We sometimes want to achieve something not because we have a passion for it but because everyone else is chasing for it. When you fear, it is the time to reconsider whether the matter at hand is something that you truly love doing and how much you can commit to it. The perceived challenges and obstacles create a little bit of mountain to climb and deter those who aren’t deep in love with the views on the other side. It’s almost like the Universe is testing you: “Is it what you want?”, “Are you really into this?”
No one but you will know the answer. For something that is important to you, the daunting fear of failing will eventually surrender and let you reach for what you wish.
7. Let Go of Results
Society would have us believe success is the ultimate goal and there is always a “there” to reach, but this is not the whole truth. The physical world offers us a platform to experience, evolve, and expand, and through experiences, we come to know ourselves and Source knows itself. Failures are no less valid as experiences as successes. Change the negative connotations that we habitually assign on failing—it is weaved in our journey and a necessary tool to help us grow.
The fear of failure arises when we use the past to predict future. Therefore, when we let go of results (the future) and release our beliefs (formed from the past, as mentioned in #2.), we will be able to stay present, and the fear of failure will subside. Instead, we feel excitement, love, and joy—they are the indications that we are aligning with our Higher-Self. It will nudge us onto the path of least resistance towards success.
No matter how hard we try, our fear of failing is here to stay. Therefore, the first thing to note if we want the fear of failure to work for us is to stop wishing that we can get rid them. Instead, be grateful for its presence and the lessons that it shows us. It’s when we manage to create a harmonious, balanced relationship with our fear of failing that it will no longer inhibit us from reaching our full potential and living the life that we want.