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Having listened to Russell Brand’s Addiction from Recovery audible book, it got me thinking about my fears and weaknesses.
Without spoiling the book for you (that is, if you haven’t already read or heard it), there’s a part, or rather a process in the book, where Russell suggests making an inventory of yourself.
I’ve heard this before, whilst listening to a podcast from Jay Shetty (podcaster, thought leader, and life coacher).
However, this particular inventory is one in which you list all of the self-destructive behaviours and patterns that you carry without awareness.
Since hearing this, it has been on my mind, and even though I haven’t quite yet put pen to paper, today was a light bulb moment for me with regards to a negative pattern. Call this moment what you will—an epiphany, an “aha” moment, whatever the hell it was—it happened anyway.
It might have come after the beautiful practise that I had at the Ocean Flow Yoga studio or the fact that, sleep-deprived this week and feeling overwhelmed, my emotional body was moved. After the practise, I reached out to a beautiful friend of mine to chew the fat over my thoughts and feelings and really to get to the bottom of this sadness that had started to bubble away under the surface.
At the moment, I’m learning to embrace feelings and allow them to tell me a story. Well, these feelings did—and here’s what they shared with me.
My emotions shared that one of my self-destructive fears is the fear of success.
This fear of success is so f*cking intense and overwhelmingly frightening, that even when I’m not conscious of it, my subconscious kicks in and self-sabotages awesome stuff.
I’ve always been overwhelmed at success, especially when I attempted to get on stage to sing. I could always sing so beautifully in my lessons, but there on the open stage, vulnerable and ready to share my gift, the audience facing me, I’d f*ck it up. I’d forget my words and my voice would tremble. Looking out at the audience, I’d catch my father looking up at me with his pleading eyes, telling me to “just sing.”
I’d put so much emphasis on shining my light at that moment that instead of burning bright, I’d burn out.
They say that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I’m not just talking relationships here, I’m talking experiences that we love, experiences that move us, like happiness and joy and love and connection. I’m talking about love in all of its capacities from the love for a romantic partner, to a child, to a passion. Stay with me here as this ties into fear of success.
I’d rather not succeed in anything awesome and of value—from relationships to business to passions—because knowing that if I suddenly nailed something and then dropped the ball, well, that’s just too intense, and not the good kind of intensity.
They also say that “ignorance is bliss” and I kinda agree with this.
To have a lower level of consciousness—to not know what you don’t know—is to be free of pain and suffering. But it is also to be free of joy, connection, and personal growth, too.
I remember saying to another good friend of mine recently, “I don’t want to be on this self-development, self-discovery journey. I want to get off this bus.” But he reminded me that I have, in fact, chosen this path and it is my path and I’m now on it—and do I really want to turn around and go back? (Err, hell yes!)
I know they’re right (whoever they are) about loving and losing, but I’ll be honest with you—the emotional pain attached to losing something awesome is too much for me to bear. I’d rather be like that rider in the Tour de France—the one bike behind the yellow jersey because when that yellow jersey is on your back, the pressure to keep it must be so hard that I’d rather stay chasing it.
I guess that’s how my mind works with life. In some strange way, I’d rather chase the dream than live through the fear of losing it once I have it.
I know that I’m not alone in this warped way of thinking. They say that people with money are motivated toward having it, and then as soon as they make their millions, they spend the remainder of their time in fear of losing it.
Where do these fears stem from, and what is the answer in overcoming them?
The Buddhists have it right: freedom from attachment is true liberation from pain and suffering. Freedom from attachment is true liberation of the heart. To have that freedom, to not be attached to success, to me, is self-mastery.
If you can strive for your heart’s desires and actually be okay with losing them, then that’s eternal peace of mind. If you can love someone with every fibre of your being—as they are, without wanting to change them, without needing them to be something that you desire, without needing them to dance to the beat of your own drum—then that’s real love. That is also freedom from attachment. Having that openness in your heart to let them go at any second and not wanting to own them or hold onto what you have is true bliss.
I don’t know where these fears stem from—human nature, perhaps, or the way in which our reptilian brains are designed.
The answer, I guess, comes back to freedom from attachment.
Wanting something so much and having that drive and determination to strive for it at all costs, but being able to let it go at any time. Being content in this moment and therefore not needing so much to chase the dream for it being better but simply for it being different.
To not feel less than in this very moment. Knowing that all you have is all you really need right now. You are enough and have enough; you are perfect as you are by simply being you.
Let life unfold and know that what is meant for you will never pass you by, and if it does, then it was never meant for you. If you’re meant to succeed in something, it will happen as it’s supposed to, and if it doesn’t, the experience of f*cking it all up was the gift meant for you all along.