Core Belief Engineering
By Lisa Sidorowicz, B.A., M.A., B.Ed., Certified Practitioner and Instructor
Fear of Change
We are the masters of our own destiny, yet actively choosing our own paths can sometimes be intimidating. People have the ability to create positive changes in their lives, yet distorted fear-based perceptions can often lead to stagnation. Fear of failure and fear of success are two common aspects of the fear of change, both reflecting similar negative beliefs of low self-worth and self-doubt. When strong self-worth is present, however, change can be welcomed as an opportunity for growth, forward movement, and personal fulfilment.
Almost synonymous with the fear of change is the fear of failure. Many people feel worried and anxious when they even think of undertaking new challenges because they doubt their abilities, their intelligence, their self-worth, or their capacity to overcome obstacles that may arise. They fear not measuring up, making a mistake, and being judged and humiliated. The possibility of failure threatens to dislodge their already low sense of worth and therefore does not merit the risk. Conversely, when self-worth is strong, fear may still exist, but it no longer has the power to destabilize forward movement. "Failure" is perceived as a temporary setback or as a potential learning experience. Strong self-esteem enables individuals to focus on taking the steps necessary to ensure success, expressing itself in an unfolding of the self, the ability to strive, learn, and embrace new challenges and experiences.
Fear of success is the flip-side of fear of failure. Many people are ultimately afraid of unleashing their full potential, not because they fear they will fail, but because they fear their power and their ability to succeed. They fear forging ahead and blazing their own trails, turning their dreams into reality. The idea of embracing happiness and truly succeeding may evoke many limiting beliefs stemming from low self-worth. For instance, many people doubt whether they deserve happiness or whether sustained happiness is even possible. Or, they worry that success may somehow "taint" them. Others dwell on the potentially negative reaction of their friends and family members, concerned about losing love and acceptance due to envy, jealousy, and resentment. Their need for external validation may cause them to choose to compromise themselves and their dreams rather than risk the possibility of jeopardizing the "acceptance" they cling to. Such beliefs tap into deep-seated self-doubt, and often result in self-sabotage.
Restricting one's abilities and withholding one's brilliance truly serves no one. As Nelson Mandela stated in his Inaugural speech, "We ask ourselves - who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
When we come from a place of non-negotiable self worth and trust, fear of failure and fear of success give way to faith in ourselves, the Universe, and the process of life. We are able to tap into inner resources, take risks, push past limitations, and forge ahead. The unknown is perceived as a challenging, exciting adventure. Change becomes something not to fear but an instinct worth embracing with confidence and self-trust.