Failure. The most scary and vulnerable place I have ever found myself is at the door of failure. And I've been there so many times. I've done a lot of belly button gazing over my 45 years, and for me this fear comes down to the simple (but so, so, complex) belief of "people will not love me if I fail." Where this comes from I am not sure, because I was never told this or shown this as a child, the messages I remember are all that I was enough as I was. And yet, here I am, 45 years old and still struggling with failure. But when you broach that subject with people who have succeeded, what they tell you is very interesting. Everyone is scared of failure. It is a horrible place to be, but it is in the learning to use it as a learning experience that you transform it into a check point in your journey rather than a full stop than your final destination.
I often find myself standing in front of people, holding my breath, trying very hard not to say the words that I am feeling? These moments are laced with fear. Fear that I will burn my bridges, get my card marked, appear like a victim, appear like a bully, lose control, be wrong, be right, cry, stumble, say the wrong words, be laughed at, be ridiculed, be rejected, excluded, humiliated. The list goes on, and it is long!
Our biggest challenge to speaking our truth is our belief that being vulnerable is weakness. Vulnerability, that moment when you put yourself out there with no safety net, risking judgement and rejection is not weakness, it is courage beyond belief. Practising that courage is painful. But there are boundaries you can work within to survive doing this hugely important but difficult work in yourself and with others.
LJ Sayers is a restorative practitioner, trainer & consultant, mum, partner, mediocre saxophonist and excellent chocolate quality controller.