This was first published on KSL.COM
I have a constant fear of failure and never being good enough or having enough value. I am a 42 year old man with a good marriage, a good job and great kids and I think about suicide daily. I wouldn’t do it because of how it would affect my kids, but I don’t know what to do or how to make changes in how I feel? How do you get to a point where you can truly believe you don’t have to earn your value and you can’t lose value (as you said in last week’s article)? How do I move beyond the fear of failure and not being good enough?
Self-development experts, therapists, thought leaders and coaches have been trying to crack that code for decades. How do you really get rid of the fear of failure and improve feeling of self-worth? They have tried positive psychology, brain washing affirmations, encouraging accomplishments, make overs, and more, but still most of us struggle with this fear on a daily basis. Some are lucky to be fear of loss dominate, which means they fear mistreatment, worry about things going wrong more than they worry about being inadequate, but even they have some fear of failure in play too.
I offer a different kind of solution, which involves changing the core foundational belief system you use to determine the value of all human beings (including yourself) that is responsible for creating your fear of failure.
You are probably not consciously aware that you have a subconscious system that determines your value, nor are you aware what that system is. So, let’s start there. You most likely picked up a belief system from your parents and the other people around you growing up. I will explain the most common four and you see if one or all of them are happening inside you. Here are the four beliefs:
1) You may have been taught life is a test - This means you must earn your value and prove yourself worthy, maybe even to determine where you go after death. You may have fear around being found good enough for the higher power you believe in and fear his/it's judgment or rejection.
2) You may have been taught your value had to be earned through your appearance, performance, property and the opinions of other people. This means that if your appearance is less attractive than other people, you therefore have less value than them. If you earn less money, lose more games, accomplish less, make less money, get lower grades, live in a smaller house or a worse neighborhood, drive a worse car, have an older phone, wear cheaper clothing, or are less popular, you again have less value. People with lots of friends have more value than those with less. Most of us were taught this belief in some way.
3) You may have been taught your value is determined by how you compare with others. So, you constantly look at where they are, how they look, and what they do, and your self-esteem goes up and down all day, every day, because it’s based on how you compare to whoever is around you at that time.
4) You may have been taught that winning and being better than others is what matters most. You might be super competitive and your subconscious ego might look for opportunities to put down or gossip about others, because it’s all about being better than them. You might be critical and judgmental of those who are different from you, because if they are different they have to be either better or worse. Your ego feels safer, obviously, if they are worse, so you constantly look for the worse in others and focus on it, because this makes you feel safer.
All of these are just ideas, theories, beliefs and perspectives. They are not truths. They are not facts. There is no provable truth about human value and how to calculate it. It’s all just perspective you choose. Many people with strong religious beliefs will disagree and say they know their perspective is truth, but they can’t prove it. So, in the end you are always choosing a belief system and making it your truth.
The good news is, this means you can choose any belief system you want, because they are all perspective. So, I would recommend choosing a system that makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel safer in the world. Why would you consciously choose anything else
The belief system I recommend is a simple one, though making it your truth takes time and practice. It is simply the belief that all human life has the same value and that value cannot change. Here is how this new belief changes the 4 old ones:
1) Life is not a test to determine your value, it is classroom. In a classroom every experience is a lesson to educate you, but when you make mistakes you can erase and try again, without it effecting your value, like a test would. You can choose to believe repentance, apologies, starting fresh at any time is possible and you can leave the past behind you and move forward with the same value as everyone else. You can believe in a higher power that sent you here to be educated and allows you to repent and not lose your value for a mistake.
2) Your value is based on your uniqueness and your nature as a human soul, two things that never change.This means your value is not based on your appearance, performance, property, or what others think of you. This means on bad hair days you remind yourself appearance doesn’t lessen your value. When you perform badly it’s a lesson, but it doesn’t change your value. When others have nicer things than you have, that doesn’t give them more value than you. No matter what they have or how they look, they still have the same value as everyone else. It also makes you bulletproof from disapproval or criticism, because other people’s opinions can’t change your value – as long as you choose to believe this is true (which you can do if you want to!)
3) How you compare with others, is irrelevant. How they look and what they do doesn’t mean anything about you. If you start to compare yourself, you can stop and choose the truth that all humans have the same value. You have the power to do this in every moment if you want to. But the only moment you have the power of choice in, is this one right now. Fortunately, it is always this moment, so you can always choose it.
4) Giving up judgment and criticism is the path to peace. Your subconscious ego thinks criticizing and judging others and focusing on the bad in them, makes you feel better, but every time you do this you are giving power to the old belief that some humans have more value than others. If you want to feel more confident, you must absolutely give up judgment, gossip and criticism of others. This is the only way to cement the new belief, internalize it and change your self-esteem.
You asked me “How do you truly believe you don’t have to earn your value and you can’t lose value?” The answer is you change the foundational belief about the value of all humans that created the fear in the first place. You give up judgment and allow all the humans around you to have infinite, absolute value and the more you do it, you realize it counts for you too.
Then, you must practice choosing the new system every minute you are consciously aware enough to do it. You also want to teach this belief system and language to your family so everyone is on board to make the change. This should become the language in your home every time someone loses a game, drops a glass and breaks it, or comes home defeated “Well, at least it doesn’t change your value!” If anyone start judging or gossiping, remind them they are giving power to the old system and if they do that, they will always feel not good enough themselves. It takes commitment and repetition to change your foundational beliefs, but if you keep at it – it will work.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the author of the 12 Shapes Relationship System - get the app today, take the quiz, invite friends and learn about your shape at - app.12shapes.com
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.