It is one thing to be told something by others who have witnessed certain behaviors or patterns in you, but it is another thing completely to come to that same conclusion on your own. The latter being a much more painful and lengthy process.
I had one of those moments yesterday. I was trying to dissect my feelings and emotions which I honestly don’t recommend because, although a small percentage of the time it proves to be beneficial, the majority of the time it is simply frustrating and leaves me more wound up than I otherwise might have been had I just decided to let it all go in the first place. I came to a conclusion which, admittedly, I have been told on multiple occasions by a variety of different sources, but like I said – to hear someone else say it and to come to conclude it and believe it internally yourself, are 2 very different things.
So here it is: I’m terrified of being successful. I am absolutely petrified of doing well in my life and just generally, in my day to day endeavors. I am the queen of self sabotage…because if I don’t succeed at what I do then people can’t be watching me, noticing me, or looking up to me. Now, success looks very different to everyone and what you and I may consider “success” could be very different, as in the case with almost any 2 persons you ask the question of, “What is success?”
I want to do well…but I want to do well QUIETLY. I want to achieve good grades for the sake of learning (I really only care about my GPA in terms of keeping financial aid/scholarship things). I want to be a great musician for the glory of God – but please, PLEASE don’t notice me or give me too much credit. I want to build an impressive resume of summer festivals, repertoire, accomplishments – but not at the cost of feeling the pain of rejection, falling short, or being hurt in general by an outcome be it lack of financial opportunity, lack of “talent” (I put “ “ around that seeing as talent is and of itself is extremely subjective.)
I want to thrive – but I want to do it quietly. Somewhere along the line of growing, maturing, and learning I got a few things mixed up. I was preached at “be humble”, have “quiet grace” and yes, those are amazingly great tributes to have especially in a profession where they are sadly, very rare and hard to come by. But there’s a difference between being humble about accomplishments, accepting disappointments with quiet grace, and just straight up preventing yourself from taking advantage of potential opportunities due to fear of failure or letdown.
I don’t have this entire concept figured out. But I wanted to write out what I do know, not only to share with others who may have the same types of confusion, but just for myself therapeutically as well. I’m in a place currently, where I THINK I know what direction I want to take with my life and what type of job or profession I will want to be in (now of course, I’m 21 years young and this could all change within the next 4 years of schooling – let’s be real, it honestly could change by this time next week haha.) It’s terrifying to admit that, despite knowing it could change. It seems so concrete and final. And to be honest, it’s especially scaring because it’s not an avenue I had ever initially considered taking before and not only does it surprise me, to be honest, but I KNOW it will surprise others and probably even cause quite a few raised eyebrows. What’s especially scary is that I have no idea HOW to go about achieving what I aim to do with my life or what it will look like.
This isn’t just a concept which is applicable to long term achievement (or the potential lack-thereof). My current teacher (who is awesome – check him out here: https://www.stlsymphony.org/en/musicians/orchestra/david-halen/ , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR-GlSEArGk) is suggesting avenues for summer programs, repertoire, and just generally speaking of me and my potential in ways that I had always previously viewed as unattainable. And this should feel AMAZING…it should feel great to hear someone speak so highly of me and to have such confidence in my capabilities and what they could become – but to me? To me it is the scariest thing to hear. It gets me a window seat on the train of “what if’s”.
What if I’m not good enough?
What if I fail?
What if I let him down?
What if I let ME down?
What if it’s not right?
And on and on and on…STOP THE TRAIN, I WANT TO GET OFF!!!!
At the end of the day, I think this might all boil down to a trust issue. (and maybe an anxiety one, as well). I know God already knows where I’ll be…4 years from now and 10 minutes from now! He knows my capabilities, my potential, and I will be exactly where He needs me to be, doing exactly what He needs me to be doing. Despite knowing all this – it’s scary. It’s terrifying to think of the potential success, because when you consider success it’s virtually impossible to not also consider failure.
Life is a work in progress. I am a work in progress. I am growing, learning, and becoming. This is my journey – this is my truth.
“If you focus on the risks, they’ll multiply in your mind and eventually paralyze you. You want to focus on the task, instead, on doing what needs to be done.”
― Barry Eisler
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
― Corrie ten Boom