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What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?

A little girl walked up to the stage. It was her maiden solo performance and she was nervous about it. As she got on to the stage, she saw several eyes looking at her with anticipation. Her stomach twisted in knots, her throat got drier, the lyrics failed her, and her voice quivered. She hopped off the stage after the performance, her vision blurred with tears of humiliation and failure. She was disappointed with herself for having lost the opportunity, for having failed the many expectations-of hers and others.


http://bit.ly/1pqwcZN
Yes, that little girl was me. I was so consumed by 'what if I failed' that I forgot to try. Every time I set myself a task, I expected myself to excel and no less and if I didn't, I’d brand myself no good for the task and refuse to make the effort to excel. Success had to come to me naturally; I had to be a natural at anything.

There were plenty of fields I was good at but whenever I saw someone better than me (which was most of the times) I’d be disheartened and despise the fact that the others got it ‘so easily and effortlessly’ while I had to struggle for every bit of fame and recognition which I believed was denied willfully by the power above. I began to believe that perhaps I wasn't really good enough.

I wanted to be popular in my social circle and hated the fact that I was such an introvert that small talk exposed me as an awkward and under-confident person. School and college was trudged through without any real friends because I was busy trying to fit into a clique rather than make peace with the way I was. In fact it was much later that I began to introspect about the person that I was within and accept it.

When it did happen eventually, the seeds of confidence grew its first sprout. I began to see the power of being myself and allowing myself the liberty of failing. I saw the respect in other people’s eyes for the efforts I put in and also for things I was good (not necessarily the best) at. The efforts were as important, if not more, than the outcome was a lesson I learnt and am still learning. Someone I know often tells me- If you like doing something you automatically become good at it and while you're good, don't let 'becoming the best' take the fun out of the activity. 

It certainly is not easy and I still fall back to my old ways of doubting myself and believing that I’m not good enough to succeed. Yet, I also believe that someday I’d conquer my fears- of failing, of worrying about what others think of me, of worrying that I’d fall in the eyes of those who have a good opinion of me, of believing that I’m not good enough to succeed. Until then I’ll keep trying.

To come back to the question of what I'd do if I weren't afraid-I'd promote my blog more openly, asking people to read it if they haven't already without waiting for it to be discovered naturally. I'd sing openly without inhibitions, ignore a wrong note or key if at all and above all enjoy the process of what I like to do rather than wait for the results.
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Write Tribe starts its blog carnival with this question.  Do participate and read other entries here.

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Comments

  1. Loved it ... Seemed to speak to my own inhibitions ... Keep writing

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    1. similar inhibitions, Shubha? well..let's keep working to get rid of these :-)

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  2. So true Uma. I've passed through that phase myself and know exactly what you mean. I was speaking about it to someone just yesterday -- about being more forthcoming about what we can do and have accomplished and about not being afraid to tread a new path. Good one.

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    1. Aparna, looking at you today, it's hard to believe that you had inhibitions such as these. I'm still trying to get over the phase without slipping back.

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  3. Loved this Uma..you just wrote something I had been wanting to write for a long time about myself...loved it...I am yet to gain that confidence in myself..may be in some years :)

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    1. The confidence is still shaky, RM but like you said maybe in a few years :-)

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  4. That's such an honest post Uma. It's hard to admit your fears so you've already taken the toughest first step. Hope to hear you sing sometime!

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    1. Admitting was good, working on it requires more consistency ;-) Maybe when we meet, Tulika :-)))

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  5. It's funny you should mention singing, as that's part of my issue as well. Maybe we can sing together one day! :O)

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  6. Very honestly written Uma, I also don't do many things because of the fear of failing, and when I am pushed to do, I have overcome some of my inhibitions. I like the way you said "allow myself the liberty of failing", but it is never too late and I am taking baby steps towards them. Good luck to you too:)

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    1. yes, baby steps indeed, Vibha..thanks for the wishes and wish you the same :-)

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  7. That was such a 'straight from the heart' post Uma. I have trouble taking the initiative to sing. Unless someone asks me to, I never volunteer. Even if they do, I keep thinking if it is a genuine request or just for name sake. I would like to get over that inhibition.

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    1. yes, I have a similar trouble :-) Maybe we should meet up once to have a music session? ;-)

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    2. Sure Uma :) That would be really nice. Meeting up is long pending and a music session would be great too!

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  8. I could so relate you know...My family and friends dont even know I blog. I dont want them to know because it would be embarrassing. Must shed my inhibitions.

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    1. In my case they know and that's a block in terms of what I can share here, Red. That's a mental block that might take a long while to overcome.

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  9. I think that it takes failure to accept who we are. I did this very same thing in an oratory competition that was my first. However, my teacher gave me a consolatory prize from her own pocket saying that my effort to participate was what mattered. That got me thinking why I failed and I started accepting it's okay to be nervous or afraid. What matters is going ahead in spite of the fear.

    And from then, there was not a single oratory contest I didn't win :)

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    1. Wonderful to hear your story, Keirthana..yay to you! :-)
      yes, I've to a large extent minimized stage fear if I may say..but the fear of failure manifests in many other forms too!

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  10. Very candid post, Uma.
    May we all overcome our fears & make the most of our talents :)

    I am your 90th Follower now :)

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    1. Thanks a lot, Anita for being my 90th follower..humbled and honoured :-)
      and yes, more power to all of us!

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  11. Loved it, Uma
    Cheers to all for overcoming our fears that create hurdles in our progress!

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    1. Thanks a lot, Ruchira..yep lets all overcome our hurdles :-)

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  12. Such an honest post... reminded me of myself...Though I can dance on stage but speaking was something that scared me...I got on to the stage for a debate and came down after just introducing myself!

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    1. Thanks so much, Nabanita...aww..we all have some inner battles to fight. I'm sure we'll transcend the fears.

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  13. Uma...when i read this post (of course late...may be i went ahead overseeing this post),i felt it was duplicate me...how i was typical of what u have experienced..I wish that u don't follow my footsteps and go ahead in your life cum what may..wish u all success..:)

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    1. Like mother..like daughter..with your blessings with me, surely I'll do just fine :-))) love you, ma!

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  14. You are me!! :)
    Just today (after almost three years of blogging), I connected my blog to Facebook. Till yesterday, I felt I couldn't stand to disappoint myself if no body read my posts. It was one of the hardest things for me to do and when I saw that post live on Facebook, it took a whole lot of effort to stay away from the delete option.
    With a gift for words like yours, I think you should promote your blog...give others the opportunity to be truly delighted like I am!

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    1. Preeti, congratulations on your FB page. I'm sure you'll only win more fans for your writing, so you have nothing to fear. And, that was such a lovely thing to say about my writing. Thanks, I hope to grow stronger :-)

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  15. We all have inhibitions and yes, we need to shed them all... Because what we are, we are and we shouldn't be ashamed of it

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    1. I thought I remember reading this :) and it seems like I did !

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  16. As your other readers have said before, this is a nicely penned post full of honest introspection and reflections. We all carry different types of inhibitions and fears, and sometimes our social circles unconsciously enhance those fears by not really encouraging us to act as per our innate nature. This thought of 'fitting in' can be so troublesome and create such un-naturalness in our behaviour and ourselves. Thanks for writing this post, Uma!

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  17. I feel the same about so many things, we all are alike in more ways than we know of. As long as we know what we can do to change, we are on the right path :) take care

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