“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,” Howard Phillips Lovecraft once wrote, in his essay titled Supernatural Horror in Literature, “and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” I’d like to expand on that by saying that the second oldest and second strongest kind of fear is the fear of failure. Because that fear is crippling, and self-fulfilling. You fail a little, and you don’t like the feeling, and so you force yourself to try harder. But, with that attempt to try harder being driven by fear, you focus on the failures and not the successes. So you get more afraid, and the cycle repeats.
I think that’s where I’ve been for a while, now. Frustrated by a lack of success, and afraid that I’ll backslide and regain weight, I’ve treated anything that isn’t “success” (defined as… heck, I don’t even know) as utter and abject failure. So then I get disgusted with my lack of progress, and I get afraid of failure, and I push myself harder and harsher and then the cycle repeats.
Of course, I don’t have to tell you any of this, do I? Not if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. You’ve seen me go through this cycle of frustration and insistence that I’ll do better and then frustration again. And I’ll be honest. I’m not entirely sure how to break out of it right now. I just recognize that I need to break out of this cycle before I really do start failing.
Clearly, I’ll be thinking about this. I also welcome suggestions, if any of you have them.