I'm afraid of competing.
When I was a child, people called me "bossy". My mom, my dad, my friends, my friends moms and dads. You get the point. I grew up with this feeling like "people won't like me if I'm bossy," or "too bossy," like somehow there was a gradiating scale of bossiness somewhere that everyone seemed to reference.
So I stopped.
I tried not to be bossy and tried to be more complacent, especially as a young woman. I didn't care about winning either because it meant that if I wanted to win and I lost, then it was not good for me. And if I wanted to win and I won, then someone else lost and how could I stand fully in the glory of winning when someone was losing?
I thought wanting to win was wrong and felt ashamed when I saw others so fervently passionate about winning, like, "How could they?"
Watching Dancing with the Stars with my mom several weeks ago, I noticed this feeling of anticipation rise up in my chest when a new couple was coming up to perform a piece they'd worked so hard on. I instantly noticed this feeling of tightness in my chest and the thought raced through my mind: "Oh, I don't want to watch them. What if they mess up?" I instantly felt myself go back into my energetic shell to a place of not wanting to try so hard at something like practicing and performing a dance piece on national TV because if I tried so hard and messed up, that would mean I was a failure and that was definitely not a good thing to some part of me in that moment.
Oooo, I shudder at this thought, at all the times I wanted to win that game, to do my best, to shine like a star, and then hid a little bit when the accolades came, or shied up when it came time to give it my all or believed my mind when it said I couldn't do it.
This idea that messing up or that making mistakes is bad is something my mom and I were just talking about earlier that night, before Dancing with the Stars. I remember our gymnastics meet when we were about 8 years old. Dressed in our red leotards, my twin sister and I went out there and competed in every event. We walked away with some ribbons, and what I remember hearing our mom say, as we asked how we did outside in the parking lot was: "you could have done better."
Upon telling my mom my recollection of this story the night we watched TV together a few weeks ago, she said, "No, I would have never said anything like that to you!"
For some reason though that is what I remember from that situation. Standing in the warm, sunny parking lot after the gymnastics meet, I felt empty in that moment and I wonder now, how much of the fear of failure or the fear of success was in that little girl then? Did she really try and give it her all or did she stay within her comfort zone, not knowing how to move beyond that which she knew or which felt safe?
Just a few months ago, a young man told me in breakdance practice: "Come on, do it," when I tried a break dancing move and didn't quite make it.
I always wanted a coach, someone who could help me move through my own limitations and blocks to reach MY personal best! Suddenly, I felt enlivened and reenergized by what this young man said.
"I can do it," I thought to myself and went back out on the floor and did it, I got into the move I had just unsuccessfully tried moments ago.
Sometimes when I'm dancing, I notice how easily I give up if I feel a wobble in my balance or if I don't quite stick that move. It's almost like, at times, my mind has already decided I won't be able to do it. But, when I reframe and readjust my thinking, telling myself I can do it, manifest the energy of others, like the "Shaolin Girls" I manifested to do better back bends this past year, or just remember to be IN MY BODY while I'm moving, I'm able to do it, and often way better then I expected!
I've been so scared of messing up, making mistakes, living life recklessly and then paying the consequences. I've felt so afraid of wanting to win so bad and losing and looking like a fool, feeling embarrassed, or just-plain-old losing.
I've felt so afraid to fail because if I "fail" then who will I be, who will love me then?
Much like my mom said to me tonight, "If you make a mistake, it's ok." And I followed up with, "It's what we do with the mistakes that matters."
What's been holding you back from living your best life, believing in yourself, putting your best foot forward?
What one step are you going to take to live out loud TODAY?
I am going to remember to be IN my body and center in the truth of who I am when I feel fear of failure coming around.
All I need to be is ME!
What about you?
Share below in the comments section. Seriously, I want to hear from you!
Thank you so much for being.
I love you!
Soul Shining, Sarah
Free to Be Life Coach
Director, Salsa for the Soul, Latin Dance Company
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