If we don’t commit to anything (or one) we never discover trust in self. If we are too unrealistic or too unself-disciplined, we lose trust not only in ourself but our world: same difference, I guess!
If we never follow through because we never started anything, but stayed in doubt instead of choosing change, then we cannot ever become self-determinate.
Above is something clumsy I wrote back on the second day of January in 2017, shortly after my mother (not tipsy) and my sister (very emotional) had bombed my picture of what I thought I meant to them.
It had already occurred to me that I might be fairly exacerbating at the best of times, in my attempt to help them get right with themselves, but it turned out that I was impossible for them to tolerate and therefore include or even accept as the person I am. Flat out: they just don't like me. This was the conclusion they cojointly drew. For the rest they seemed renounced. Inert about me or their dynamic with me, concerned rather about being left alone.
There was no wish to change. No intentions of either good or bad will. We had reached an impasse of impotence and downright misery, which actually feels like absolute neutral, and though nothing frustrates me more than to settle an unsettled matter in neutrality, it released me, by my standards, from all future duties towards my family. It was my first step out into a Freedom I had well earned.
We are all failing
Neutrality is the very essence of promoting failure in others. It tends to leave one with that feeling that it is all your fault. I am inadequate. I am not good enough. As measured by …. Fairly random and highly volatile standards, actually, if you take a close enough look.
For what else is failure than a ending up with nothing much gained by time and energy ordinarily and legitimately spent? If you were to make an inventory of your successes achieved on the pressures derived from a fear of failure one would mainly note the things that have been abated, averted, avoided and kept at bay on the one hand; or lavish cover ups and the constant white noise of achievements (including escape and material excesses). But fear not! You are not alone. Fear of failure has become the collective sign of our times and I shall tell you how come in one simple summarising phrase:
- We have failed in not having begun to believe in ourselves as spiritual beings.
Resistance seems sensible
By now it seems a risk not worth taking to rebelieve, what has long since been analysed as dimwit primitive superstion.
What is in it for me, one may well ask? To trust I am my own lord and master in but a miniature manner of acting the major domus of my little four-fold body? In the meantime I am continuously harrassed and assailed by my failings! I do not have the time to reasses my belief! Let it come as it comes, perhaps, but surely you cannot ask me to take a leap of faith right here and now?! It is practically 2020, modern times and we have outgrown the Dynasty of Akhnaten or the desire for an Exodus out of Egypt!
Failed before we started
It may well not even be a question of leaping. For we are wise to look before we leap, this is undeniable in the Age of Intellect and Consciousness.
But go figure what life is to us, nowadays, anyway: by its very nature it is a failure; for does life itself not convene with the core definition of failure (lack of success) in death? Does it not all boil down to expenditure with ultimate loss? At the moment of death, the very last breath spent, one tends to add up one’s blessings in the mundane achievements of property or effects, and divides this up amongst one’s greatest successes of best choice ever (the spouse) and best creative exploits ever (the children). What does the sum total look like for you at the point of your inevitable demise and disintegration?
Fear of failure is currently mainly about excess not lack
and as such the remedy lies in stripping back to the naked self and sitting with fear rather than trying to fight it by getting "it right" to avoid it.
The life lived out of a fear of failure sets into a fundamental mood of soul, which is detrimental to personal progress. The pilgrim however may have chosen this mood (ironically), once upon a time, for a failsafe (against pride or indifference and repetition). Hopes were pinned on understanding fear through one's failings. Instead fear may have become petrifying, espeically without the loving support of an elder, and more seasoned warrior of fear. In the long run this creates a permanent (subconscious) state of anxiety. One turns becomes hard, inflexible and loveless. Reach for Holly and complement with Mimulus, or Rock Rose, or possibly Cherry-Plum or Aspen!
Life naturally, actually, encourages you and your self-confidence grows with every little success you make (otherwise known as learning - to walk, talk, read, identify, reflect, alter, accept etc.). It is fearful people who make their children like-wise fearful. At the root of this fear lies ignorance (and often the arrogance to ignore this ignorance). I call it the Primal Sin of Negligence.
Fear of failure is a lack of confidence - which has meant (ever since 1400) ”assurance or belief in the good will, veracity, etc. of another”. This definition is quintessential to all further understanding of trust and the path that begins from that starting point.
How do we learn to trust? It ought to be found in every sure step we take, under the very soles of our feet, right where we stand. It is to be firmly rooted in our very soul nature, for better or worse, trusting that either makes for a necessary path which we can man our chariot across.
By learning to trust ourself in following our own path of unfoldment, we infuse our every mundane exploration and experiment and further investigations and inventions with trust and are not motivated by fear or encouraged by hubris. To guide us in this feat is the singlemost important job our parents have been assigned with. They are meant (by example) to instill trust in oneself: in the workings of our bodies and minds. In the spiritual potential that is not of this world. They do this lovingly and teach us to delight. But they too often have been lacking in example and adopted ways of excess to mask it. When we fail to love them (respect and appreciate them at best) and in fact miss their warm bond and vested interest in our true nature, we will be set up for life to work on the fear of failure, rather than let this natural childhood state melt away into a confidence in Selfhood.
Principle of Limitation
A lack of delight is a sure sign of a fear of failure, and it sets the saturnine scowl in the miser, who forever feels robbed and empoverished without a certain measure of money to account for his being.
It makes old men grumpy at traffic signs and the price of bread. It makes women nag and it breaks all our backs eventually.
There are many symptoms of this fear of failure becoming inherent to the human nature. Our collective soul content is obfuscated by it. We are losing touch with who we are, and this feeds back into the loop that is the impossible escape from fear itself. We have chained ourselves to the devil, with far too heavy catenations we wear like necklaces! We have put upon ourselves false limitations.
As long as we tell ourselves limits exist to be overcome we will remain trapped in a lie to self. Rather we must question the nature of success and demonstrate the fallacy of failure in principio. The fear of failure then can evaporate or show itself up as the heffalump-trap that it is.
Illustration of Pooh looking down a heffalump-trap, drawn by Ernest Howard Shepard found in Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne.
Calling Braveheart to tackle this demon!
The fear of failure cannot be fought as such, but needs to be revealed for what it is. It needs to be discovered (uncovered, uncloaked) as an impediment to knowing the Real Self.
As an adult it wears many cloaks. Sometimes it comes dressed as apathy and lethargy, inertia and dullness; or as explanation, justification, excuse, resistance and procrastination. Sometimes it is indellibly innate owing to a pathological deficiency (Autism). Not seldom it comes in the more flamboyant party dress of rages and hatred. If the list goes on (and it does), then keep it simple if you prefer and know they are all the opposite of love. The solution to the problem of fear is always to love it better, rather than keep on trying to get it right.
This obtacle to self-love that is a fear of failure was something set up for you by either your karma (disposition in childhood, which largely manifests as shyness) or the general environment you were born into (including the influence of your parents and all the other suppposed support systems). There is however, a clever design of the soul in allowing this to occur. It is made with the aspiration to fortify and expand courageously and discernedly.
This courage, again, is not a battle tactic, or a clever ploy. It is not meant to overcome anyone or any situation, and to gain success; but to lead out of the shadow into the light. It is a path of communication with your Higher Self. It is a path of trust that you have such a True Self.
We are kind to ourselves like that: and offer ourselves cruel existences for the sake of betterment, or the greater good (or redemption, if you like).
I wish you success in forgoing the notion of failure!
Top: ink illustration Ernest H. Shepard (British, 1879–1976) "I saw a Heffalump to-day, Piglet"