“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.”
― Ram Dass
The beautiful thing about fear is that it will follow you everywhere. You can’t really take a vacation from it. If you take a flight 3000 kilometers away, it will gladly come with you. Wherever you go, there it is. What if there is this thing I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ll never be able to do it? Forever is a long time.
Thankfully, once two things come into play, it’s possible to start removing fear pretty much immediately. First is acknowledging that you have the particular fear, and second is that you are worthy and capable of overcoming it. Unless your fear actually involves a risk of death, it is something that can be overcome with right effort.
I tried the whole “think positive” thing in the personal development community. “I am abundant”, “I am happy”, “I will get through this”. Unfortunately, the flaw to this strategy is that you’re changing your reaction to a negative thought, and not the cause of it.
If you feel you’ve messed up a lot at something, and your fear is that you’ll mess up next time too, telling yourself “I will get it this time”, consciously, will probably provide space for your subconscious to respond with “But I probably will just fail again”.
If that strategy hasn’t gotten you where you wanted to be, let’s look at what I mentioned above. First, acknowledge your fear. “I am afraid I’ve messed up at this thing, and I may mess up again”. Second, give yourself the resources to overcome it. If you can try something new, do it, and see what happens. If a friend or mentor has accomplished the thing your wanting to do, drop any idea that “they did it, but I probably can’t”, and see how you can integrate what they’re doing into your situation.
Some people are very dedicated at accomplishing a specific task. They will gladly throw themselves head first into adversity. They won’t let fear stop them. Unfortunately, overcompensation is as big of a risk as paralyzing fear. The one who is afraid of job interviews and doesn’t apply to any job, and the one who applies to every job, but doesn’t make any of them count, are in the same boat. It is a little better to throw yourself out there then to be paralyzed into inactivity, but thankfully the best strategy falls in the middle.
You may not feel worthy of a specific accomplishment. A fear of success, and not knowing what to do once you’ve got the thing you’ve always wanted, is a fear that can sneak up on you.
There is a strategy of compassion that will get you much farther, and allow your path out of unworthiness. Start by acknowledging your fear, as a wholeheartedly as you can. Next, acknowledge you may have a way to go, but that you’re willing to put in the effort required. Lastly, take some action in the right direction, and evaluate what happened. What did you do well? What can you improve next time? Take your findings into your next attempt, and repeat this until you see yourself succeed. Defeat fear with kindness, and your journey will take you much farther, much faster.