Don’t Shine Too Bright
Chances are, someone from your childhood scolded you in a moment when you were letting your light shine. This leads to a fear that if you let your light shine too brightly, you’ll be shamed. Success and embodying your true potential will make you stand out, and that’s scary.
Eclipsing Your Parents
All children have a fundamental loyalty to their parents and a desire to make them happy, even though this is out of our control. There is an unspoken agreement with our parents that says, “Because I love you so much, I’ll never let things get better than they were with you.” If you’re about to experience more success than your parents, it will trigger this loyalty. You’ll feel uncomfortable eclipsing them, and may even sabotage yourself to prevent it.
Oftentimes, we convince ourselves that we need to do what’s “practical” or what’s expected of us in life. When you pull back the curtain behind these “practical” choices, there is often a fear that if you do what you really want, you won’t be accepted for who you are. You’re afraid that the type of success you want won’t fit into the typical box, and so you choose to be practical instead.
Many of us have an unconscious fear that we can’t be our full, successful selves without being disloyal to our roots, including our friends and family. If we’re too successful, we’ll end up alone and we’ll have to leave behind people from our past. If you’re afraid of leaving people behind, then it’s a fear of success, not failure, that’s stopping you.
What If Things Go Really Well?
Every time someone thinks they don’t want to do something out of a fear of failure, there is also a fear of success operating beneath the surface. To better understand how a fear of success may be underneath your fear of failure, ask yourself, “If things go really well, and I have the ultimate success, what am I afraid of?”
Here is a quote that perfectly summarizes our fear of success;
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do … And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
– Marianne Williamson
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