“Most people who fail in their dreams fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment.” Author and speaker Zig Ziglar said this, underlining the importance of not just picturing your goals and dreams, but having the drive and putting in the work to achieve them.
But there’s another component in the process of reaching any goal in life that scares people: failing. And this fear can often be so debilitating that it can keep you from even giving it a shot, taking a chance and at least making a tiny step forward towards your goal. Does this sound like you?
You’re not alone. One survey showed that around 31% of people have this fear. In fact, people seem to be more afraid of failure than they are of spiders!
But failure comes with the territory, both in life and in love. The problem with being afraid of failing isn’t that you may indeed fail. It’s that you may even stop trying and avoid your goals altogether.
Embracing Failure: It’s Hard But Necessary
A lot of people are afraid to even try and achieve their goals out of fear of failing, and disappointing themselves. This fear can come strong, so much so that every single step you take to reach your goal is clouded by hundreds of negative thoughts that make you second-guess yourself.
It’s all those “what if” questions. What if you embarrass yourself? What if you mess up your new relationship or the first date? What if you find happiness with someone, but then you lose it? These thoughts can be strong, and the desire to stop focusing on your goal can be equally strong. There is rarely anything more powerful than the negative things one says to themselves. You can be complimented by 10 people in one single day, and your inner dialogue can still be negative.
Unfortunately, you’re likely to believe those thoughts and give in. So you resist your needs to find love, and put it on pause, as a way to protect yourself.
And that creates an interesting paradox because the more you resist, the more likely you are to fail. This fear of failure is almost like a fear of succeeding. If you routinely sabotage your own efforts, then you’re likely to be equally afraid of succeeding than you are of failing.
But failing is also a natural part of the game. And it’s important to analyze what failure means to you, and see if it’s true or not. For instance, if your goal is to find love, is a bad first date really a failure? Or even a failed relationship, for that matter, is it really a failure? Isn’t it better to get out of a relationship that’s flawed, and try to find your true soulmate?
It could help more to think of these moments as little setbacks you have to push through, instead of describing them as failures. Nobody really gets a Disney princess story when it comes to love. In the real world, relationships take effort, and sometimes they don’t work. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed to reach your goal, it just means you’re still not there yet.
You Should Learn from Your Setbacks
This entire dilemma can seem a little stranger. After all, if you want to be in a relationship, why in the world would be you afraid of the things that could allow you to reach that goal? But everyone’s a little different, and these fears often run deep. You may not even be aware of what the root of the problem is.
Some people can be afraid of intimacy, even if they desperately crave it. Some of their past relationships may have created these fears. The problem is, if you’re not aware of your fears and why they’re there, you start putting up walls and pushing everyone out, leaving you alone, but safe.
And the fear of failure can push some to do things that really keep them away from love. For instance, have you ever dated someone who wasn’t right for you? Maybe there was some chemistry, and you too hit it off, but there were some big warning signs you chose to ignore, like him being a bit too flirty with the waitress or never having time to spend with you because of his work.
And maybe you ignored those red flags out of fear you’d end up alone. But dating men when you can see the relationship isn’t right for you is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, the damage is now done, and if you did have the courage to break up with him, you’re most likely carrying some of that baggage with you.
But if a failure, or fear of it, is keeping you from succeeding, then you must look at your behavior and motivations very closely. Try to understand why you’re afraid, and what you’re really afraid of. Only then can you work on overcoming these fears.
Because getting rejected, bad dates, or awkward ways to meet people are setbacks you can only overcome by continuing to push forward. Getting consumed by fear will sabotage your chances of ever finding love and happiness. It doesn’t feel like it now, but these ‘failures’ are minor, and you are strong enough to get over them.
Is the fear of failing or succeeding keeping you away from finding love? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!