My sister suggested we sign up for a 10-day soul cleanse (so to speak). Each day, for 10 days, you are issued a challenge designed to feed your soul. So, for example, the first day you bought a bouquet of flowers as a reminder that you are worth beautiful things.
The challenge for day three was to write down a fear that kept holding you back and burn it.
I spent most of the day wondering what I was afraid of. Not that I’m so brave I’m afraid of nothing; I just couldn’t think of one fear that kept getting in my way. I have had those moments of feeling stuck and thinking that I suck, but I couldn’t name the fear behind that.
Then, I was handed an opportunity. A pretty awesome opportunity, but almost as soon as I got excited about it, those doubts crept in and I started thinking it wasn’t worth it. That is when I decided that I was afraid of failure. After all this, opportunity would be a challenge and I was afraid I would fail and so I started talking myself out of it. So I wrote it down, and went home to burn it.
I actually wrote it down three times, and took a series of photos before capturing the perfect one that I then manipulated by adjusting the temperature and structure and highlight and shadow before drafting and redrafting a caption and then seriously considered not posting it, but then settling on posting it but only on Instagram.
After posting it, I tried to read a book. Except at the end of each chapter I picked up my phone and looked at Instagram to see if there were any comments on my picture. Unfortunately, the book was one of those with really short chapters so in the span of 15 minutes I checked my phone 87 times.
This isn’t unusual behavior for me, but given the mood of self-reflection that was still lingering, I did wonder why I was so curious to see if anyone had commented; particularly, I was dreading a negative comment.
That is when it hit me. I was afraid of someone not liking the photo I posted. I was afraid of someone not liking me. I was afraid of my post (as an extension of myself) being rejected.
It was strange to realize this. I always prided myself on my not giving a fuck what others thought about me, but here it is. The truth. I do care. A lot. And it is this fear that is holding me back. Not of failing. Though, sure, I fear failing, too. But bigger than failure, I fear being rejected.
And it is such a bullshit fear, I can tell myself. Who cares what some fake-name person out there in the world thinks about my post? Or picture. Or tweet. Well, apparently, I do.
Now, what do I do about that? Besides snapping another picture of me burning a scrap of paper?