In one way or another, I’ve been tripping over this concept this week — Something called Fear of Success. I was like, WHAT? Fear of Success, WTF was that? I understood and completely identified with Fear of Failure. Perfectionists wear that fear like a second skin. It’s familiar, it fits with the right amount of tight constriction around the throat…LOL. But Fear of Success? That was a new one. So I set out to explore this idea, because it sounds suspiciously like what might be keeping me from getting below that 200 pound weight target I set for myself on January 1st. (Quick Calendar check — its MAY already. YIKES!) Well, like the old saying goes….There’s no Better Time than the Present.
Denise posted a curious quote on her Weight Watchers FaceBook page that has alot of us perplexed over this very concept. She said it was a quote she had read once, something like this, “we fear the things we want the most”. Well, ALL-RIGHTY THEN! That is a plate -full of ruffage for a board full of Weight Watchers to digest. Why would someone who has been battling their weight all their life, fear being successful, and finally losing it? This was something I had to go on the hunt to understand.
For a few minutes, lets visit an old friend that we banished months ago — kicked to the curb so to speak — Meet Mr. Fear of Failure. Hi Dude! You look all shriveled up and unloved. Sorry, NOT! Look. We cant be friends anymore. You’re kind of mean, and you make us judge ourselves and make us feel like we’re not good enough at anything, at EVERYTHING. You kinda made me hide in my room when I was a kid, because you did such a good job making me feel so small. As I got older, you were the one who introduced me to Twinkies and SuzieQs…and all those other calorie-laden plastic foods that I still carry around on my hips to this day. Ultimately you are the cause of my Hiding From the World…..simply because I didn’t measure up. Until one day, I was struck by proverbial lightning and it dawned on me…..Who Died and Made You Boss???
Yeah — You were Kicked to the Curb my friend, because I decided to do one simple thing. I decided To Try. To Try everything and anything that I Was afraid to do my whole like. Just to see….what I was made of. It was then that you began to shrivel, And Wither. and Die. Because I discovered through Trying, that I was So Capable as long as I gave myself a chance to learn, and falter, and fall, and get up. That’s all I ever had to do. But I couldn’t learn that….until you were evicted. So —- B.y.e B.y.e Fear of Failure! (Oh, and forget about it — I don’t do break-up sex — you’re gone!)
So, why did we go revisit Mr. Fear of Failure? Well, I wanted to remember (for a moment) what he looked and felt like. Because the other one, Ms. Fear of Success — well, she looks and feels very different. She’s more fragile, more complex. Oh, but don’t let her cute dimples and long lashes trick ya — she’s Bad Ass. She’ll wreck your dreams and keep you from living your best life, AND make you believe she’s protecting you all at the same time. She’s tricky.
Fear of Success begins and ends with the belief that you are undeserving of the good things you desire. SH$T, D@MN, CRAP. That is just about the meanest, unkind thing I have ever heard. I HATE HER already. See, I told you. She might be cute on the outside, but she’ll cut ya.
When you don’t believe you deserve success……your mind starts doing some funky things. It starts looking for THE END. You know, THE end. The point where all your accomplishments self -destruct and all your good work starts to slip away, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it? Oh yeah, THAT end. This is why the Weight Loss journey is so fragile for so many of us. Every little bump in the road, every little stall or plateau hit us like a Ton of Bricks, BECAUSE deep down in our hearts….we’re EXPECTING it to happen. Yeah. Oh, it’s not that we WANT it to happen. No, not at all. But no matter hw hard we try, when Ms. Fear of Success is living in Your House, deep down inside you believe that no matter how successful you are, that its not sustainable. You believe that success has an end…and that THE END will come, and keep you from your goal. So I ask you….when you BELIEVE this (even when its subconscious)…..um. let me ask ya…..exactly how hard are you gonna work toward your goal? Relax, it’s not a trick question. But it IS a tricky situation. Isn’t it.
When you’re hanging out with Ms. Fear of Success — your likely to show a lack of effort toward achieving your goals, OR you might be apt to set your goals too low. Why not? Why try so hard…when its all going to go up in smoke anyway. See how she’s undermining you? We’ve gotta re-evaluate the company we’re keeping. This BFF called Ms. Fear of Success is not motivated to achieve. And even when we are successful, she’s the one who brings around the guilt and anxiety about maintaining that success, that sends you back into the potato chip bag. Shoot — when she owns your thoughts and your beliefs, she wears you…like a cheap suit. She’s gotta go. And I mean Now. Oh, not convinced yet — OK, OK….then I’m going to drive this one home — and tell you the last secret that Ms. Fear of Success wont tell you — because she LIKES to hold this one over our head. Here’s the last Fear she puts in your head. Perhaps its the worst one of all —- because it goes straight to the core of your being.
Ms. Fear of Success wiggles herself close to you, nuzzles her lips really close to your ear, where you can feel her whispers as she says in her soft, but evil breaths..” What if —- what if you do all this work to lose weight, so you can be happy, and healthy, and successful…..but….what if you do ALL of that….and you’re still not happy with your life, with your body, with YOUR SELF?”
SH$T, D@MN, CRAP. There she goes again, spewing her hate-speech. She is the meanest, unkind thing I’ve ever met. I hope you’re as convinced as I am now….she’s gotta go. Just like Mr. Fear of Failure — she doesn’t start to shrivel and die all at once. We’re going to have to starve her to death, by not feeding her our time and attention. Since she’s subconscious most of the time —- we’re going to have to work with our conscious mind to drown her. Drown her out by replacing these unkind beliefs she has placed like Booby Traps in our Minds, with new, goal-oriented, achievement oriented thoughts.
Start with this one goal. And this one is a biggie. Don’t wait to be any weight….to be happy. Work on your life, whatever facets are dragging you down, so you become the happiest you — at whatever weight you are right now. Ok, so — let’s tell the truth. ALL of us have had these thoughts. I know I have. “If I were thinner, I would get more dates. If I were thinner, I would have more friends. If I were thinner , I would go out more. If I were thinner, I would learn to _____. If I Were Thinner, I Would Be Happier. Yup, there it is.
The truth is…….WHEN you are Thinner, you will likely be alot of things you aren’t now. But…just being thinner ISN’T going to magically change any/all of these other beliefs you carry around with you about yourself. YOU need to decide to become the Happiest You that You can be at the Weight you are Right now. Start Loving Yourself, fat, jiggle and all. Love Yourself now, and every day along your journey. If you start now, and start loving yourself with kindness and patience —- this too will be motivating and keep you moving along the journey of weight loss. Your mind will likely join these positive feelings to the experience of weight loss….and they will encourage more positive action.
The last thought I will leave you with — is another quote I found during my journey of exploration. And it was one that gave me a great deal of comfort. Here it is.
“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth” ~~ Pema Chodron
I kinda love that idea. Being afraid sometimes…..is natural. Don’t sweat it. Self discovery to understand the reasons that lead us to be fat in the first place can be scary. It’s Ok to get scared, and to feel uncomfortable as you figure this stuff out about your deepest self. Frankly, its More Than OK —– it’s natural, and expected. Don’t let that rattle you. Stay focused on your goal. Keep moving toward it, one day at a time. And I mean a Goal, a real goal. Not just a Wish, or a Want, or a Nice to Have.
Remember: A Goal is a Dream with an Action Plan.
Ciao for now…..Diane