Psychology Today posted a really interesting article that crunched all our phobias down into five big fears that all of us share.
According to this article, you may not have arachnophobia – maybe you’re even amused at another person’s fear of spiders – but if the thought of being eaten by a bear keeps you from hiking in the woods when you would otherwise really enjoy a hike in the woods, then, deep down, you actually share a common fear (the fear of mutilation, believe it or not) with that guy you’re laughing at.
So, quit laughing already.
I’ve been trying off and on to make a living as a writer in one manner or another since I was a teenager. It has never failed that at some point in every one of my journeys (“This time I’m going to do it. This time, I’m not going to quit.”), someone or something has always stopped me in my tracks.
A couple of years ago, I admitted to myself that the biggest obstacle keeping me from pursuing my dream was me – I was my own worst enemy; always. When I finally decided that I didn’t need to rise to Stephen King status to consider myself successful, and was able to lower my own expectations of success, I began to actually finish some of the bzillion-and-one projects that I’d started and eventually set aside.
I then decided that the quickest way to test my own idea of success was to self-publish. I reasoned that even though I wouldn’t likely make much money, even one lousy little sale would be enough to boost my own morale enough to keep writing.
This was in 2007 and I still haven’t published anything other than this blog.
That’s just pitiful.
During all of the time since, I’ve complained that I suffer from writer’s block, that I don’t have any time to write, that I don’t deserve to write (??? – don’t ever tell yourself you “don’t deserve” anything. It’s unproductive, unfair, and unhealthy. You’re just as deserving as anybody else on the planet; I don’t care who you are), and that I’m “unlucky”.
Eventually, I was forced to admit that my issues were all my own doing – er… not-doing. You can’t move forward if you’re standing still.
I procrastinate in nearly every aspect of my life. Unless an idea sets me on fire, I don’t generally want to take those first hard steps to light my own match. My mom used to tell me I was lazy – and although I’ll reluctantly admit that that’s “sort of” accurate, it really just simply boils down to fear.
“What am I so afraid of!?”
Trying to define that fear is a much more difficult conundrum for me. I finally decided that I was either afraid of failure (afraid I wouldn’t sell anything if I did actually get the guts up to self-publish), or I was afraid of success (“What if I sell a whole shit-ton of copies, and then can’t write anything that measures up?”).
The Psychology Today article made me realize what exactly was stopping me short, every single time. I’m hoping that knowing what’s causing me to fall back into that abyss every so often might just be enough to make me cling to the edge long enough to gather my strength again, because…
Well, now that I’m here again – at the very last step before actually for-really-and-truly publishing something for sale that hopefully, maybe some-other-body might actually buy…Well, the self-doubt is creeping back in. I’m trying my damnedest to step on its ugly little head and crush it before it crushes me (again), but it’s a slippery little bugger and it’s hard to catch.
I have not yet given up, though. And for me, that’s saying something. There’s even a little bit of pride at my own tenacity beginning to form, finally.
As an interesting side-note to all this, way back in 2007, before I tripped over myself and fell down again, I read somewhere that fear and excitement can actually be perceived as exactly the same feeling – and I proved that to myself when I started driving again. I can’t imagine going back to being afraid of that again.
I’ll let you click on over to read about the other three fears every human actually has – it’s a short article, and definitely worth the read; especially if knowing that the root cause of what frightens you most might just stimulate you to do the thing you fear to do, even if you can’t quite overcome the “fear” part of it.
Everybody should be able to follow their dreams – even if it scares them.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Aenima” – Tool