I have a debilitating fear. I’m afraid of making mistakes. I’m afraid of being wrong. From my personal life to my working life, I’m terrified of ‘getting it wrong’. It’s not something that’s developed over time – coming with the territory of climbing up my career ladder. It’s always been there. I’ve been trying to understand for a long time why I’m like this and, only recently, have I started to (try) embrace mistakes. To let myself falter without freaking out or trying to cover up when I’ve gone wrong.
Sure, we can take it back to my childhood and all of that, but am I really going to let what happened to me as a kid define me for the rest of my life? Let those behaviours, fears and ‘realities’ dictate the person I am as a rational, reasonably intelligent adult human being? I hope not. I don’t want it to.
Whenever I make a mistake, whenever something I do goes wrong or I wrong someone else, I get a sticky, panicky fear in my chest and my belly. I want to grovel, apologise, make things right before someone sees my wrong. Even when I don’t think I’m wrong – it’s just that someone else does. Part of it is the need to be liked. It’s not even a want anymore, it’s a deep need and desire to be liked by other people. Which means, in the end, I’m finding my value, my worth in what others think of me. I’m afraid of being wrong not only because of what it will say about me, but what it will make others think of me,
How to change this? I’m not sure. But I think seeing it, recognising it, acknowledging that I’m like this is a start. Like Marnie says in Girls, it’s no fun being the uptight one, the one who can’t get out of her head. Unlike her I’m not going to ‘escape’ my brain by going out on the town drinking and picking up some old dodger. Instead, I’m going to try not scramble to make amends, cover up, hide or backtrack when I make mistakes. I’m going to claim them. Revel in them, maybe. But I’m going to do my best not to be afraid of them.
I’m only human, after all.