Monday, August 2, 2010

Sharks and Planes and Snakes - Oh My!

I get a lot of those email surveys that you're supposed to fill out and pass on. I'd ignore them - but I usually get them at work and am all too happy for the distraction.

Whenever they ask me for my greatest fear, my answer is usually sharks, snakes or planes. I am scared of all three, although they aren't my only fears. I'm also somewhat afraid of the dark, roller coasters and enclosed spaces. [It's been suggested I have control issues, but that's a whole other post in and of itself.]

I rarely tell anyone the truth about my greatest fear. Why? I think it's either because I don't want to admit it to myself, or I'm afraid others will judge me. Well - no more of that nonsense. All one and a half of you reading this should brace yourself for a shocking revelation. My greatest fear is....

Not being good enough.

*Gulp* Well - there you have it. Now, for some background.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time fighting the idea that I came up just short of everyone's expectations. I wasn't the cutest, the thinnest or the most fun. I honestly never realized the affect all that negative feedback, real or imagined, was having on my self-confidence, and my mood in general. It wasn't until I went through my divorce that I saw just how much my fears, and lack of self-confidence, were spilling over into my relationships.

I had a choice. I could keep things as they were, and blame my ex for his mistakes, and pretend I had made none of my own. That would have kept me from having to face my "stuff" - but it would have meant that I learned nothing, and would be doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Or - I could make some real changes.

For starters, I no longer depend on others for my happiness. For a long time, I thought being happy was the result of my circumstances. Find the right guy, the right job, the right house....and I'd be happy. It wasn't until I lost all of those things that I found out I'm in charge of my happiness. I can't always control my circumstances, but I am always in charge of my reaction.

I also let go of the worrying. I used to think it was cute that my grandmother was a "worry-wart" and that I seemed to have inherited that from her. [I know now that what I probably inherited was an anxiety disorder; another separate post.] When I finally stopped trying to control everything, I found there is a lot of joy in just enjoying life, rather than trying to force it all the time. Again - you can't control your circumstances. But you can learn and grow from everything, if you accept that it all happens for a reason.

Am I perfect? Not even close. I still have days where I feel down about myself. I still worry that I'm not good enough, or that others consider me a "chore." I still click on facebook profiles more than I should, or worry if it's okay to send a text message. I still complain about my job sometimes, or let others drag me into an argument when I should probably know better and care less.

The difference is - I have faced my fear. I wasn't good enough, and because of it, I lost everything. So I'm not afraid to fall anymore, because I know how to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep trying. I can't even begin to imagine a lesson anyone could need more.