The Fear of Failure + How to Break It
The Fear of Failure
+ How to Break ItPeople say that AP Chemistry is one of the hardest AP classes offered in high school. Only the best of the best can hope for a 5 on the AP exam. Months of studying, no semblance of a social life, and lots of tears might get you a three or four if you are just average. If you are not smart enough to ever hope for a good score on the exam, why even try? You will never be able to do it. You are not good enough. You are not smart enough. You are not talented enough. Do not even try, you will never be enough...
or so I told myself.
I made it to the exam, but I had given up months ago. I had stopped paying attention in class because I was convinced that I was too stupid to actually comprehend what was being discussed. I did not study a single hour, I just showed up to get the exam over. I got a two, I was not expecting anything more.
So here's the interesting part....
About a week after the exam, I picked up the AP Chemistry exam study book that I never even opened. I flipped to a random concept, started reading, and then out of nowhere I started crying. It made sense! I ripped some paper out of a notebook, grabbed a pencil, and tried out the practice problems. They flowed perfectly, I got them correct one after the other. At that point, I started crying just a little harder because the realization hit me that I was smart enough to have succeeded on the exam but I had allowed self-doubt and fear of failure to creep into my heart. I told myself, "If I do not try, then it will hurt less when I fail. If I actually try and fail, then it is confirmation that no matter what I do I will never be good enough."
"You will never be good enough."
There are those fateful words again. They play on repeat in my head, 24/7. It does not matter what I am doing, whether I am hanging out with friends or doing meal prep for my workout regimen.
"You are not worthy of love. You are not smart. You are not pretty. YOU WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH!"
I thought I had destroyed the pattern of behavior after the AP Chemistry exam but here it was again. I recognized it, so why was the feeling not going away. I knew that I was self-sabotaging so that when I failed I could tell myself that it was because I did not try hard enough, not because I was not enough. So why was I not getting better?
After much deliberating, I decided on my plan. It includes trying, hard. I poured myself into my workout plans, pageant prep, interview panels, writing, and creating. I pushed back against those feelings of inadequacy. For me, it is rooted in my faith. These particular Bible verses really stuck out to me ------->
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!" - Luke 1:45
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28
"My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9I can work my butt off all day long but if it is not in God's plan for me to win the pageant, then it is not going to happen. Without Him, I cannot win. It is through him that I find my strength! When I place my anxieties on God, I find that I am no longer crippled by fear of the failure. It is not because it means I am guaranteed not to fail but rather that those failures do not define me. If I do not win, it is not because I am not good enough, or not worthy, but because it was part of my journey.
Because my failures no longer define my worth, I am able to give my best effort without fear. Failure never defines you, no matter your religion! Trying your hardest and failing is so much more productive than not trying at all. Failure and mistakes are a chance to learn, and a chance to improve! Do not live your life stuck with the fear of trying.
P.S. I listened to joy. and Fix My Eyes by King & Country while writing the second half of this blog post, 10/10 would recommend!