true story

What Are We So Afraid Of?

With entering a new year, all of us do some sort of evaluation of the previous one. We think about the people we met, missions we’ve accomplished, achievements and challenges. But we often go further than that. Me, I started remembering all of my life choices which were somewhat significant; relationships I ended, jobs I turned down, ideas that I left behind. I realized that I always found a reason to break up a great thing (emotionally or professionally), and move on to the next, often completely opposite one, as if being content is not a part of my default settings. 

Ever since I know of myself, I’ve been living a roller coaster. There is this set of moral values that stayed pretty much the same, but aside from that, I’ve been making radical decisions which changed my life upside down every single time. There is something about growing up with each new experience, but I have to be curious – did I really have to go that far with every choice just to learn a lesson?

This never-ending self-sabotage is the reason I am leaving projects half finished, moving on to the next, even greater challenge. Somewhere down the road, knowing that I can do something became more important than actually doing it. But knowing that I can do the job isn’t giving me the paycheck at the end of the month.

Now, this whole story seems awful like a fear of not succeeding at your task, but it is in fact a completely opposite problem. Ever since we came to this world, we’ve been learning that life is a struggle and that we need to work hard to be accomplished. We are always on the quest for the perfect job, fulfilling relationship, new house with a garden, everything that we think is the next thing to make us happy. There is no end to this search! Or is there?

The reason why I started leaving my businesses unfinished is because of a bitter fear of what will happen when I finally get there. The ultimate how-to-live-your-life manual doesn’t give you anything about how to deal with actual accomplishment and happiness. Looks like the only thing we can actually value is the idea of being happy, but not happiness itself. It is unknown and it scares the shit out of most of us. This is why we often find a way of putting ourselves off the wagon: if there is no reason to end a perfect relationship – we will invent one; if our job is doing just great and fluid – we will suddenly change our career; pick a fight with a friend, gamble all our money, you name it…

Psychologist often advise that we change our direction every so often. It helps us stay sane and motivated. We live in a competitive society, and if we don’t have it all – we have something to work for: be the best at what we love; buy the most expensive car; pick the farthest travel destination.
If you are raised with the dream of reaching for the stars, no one ever tells you how to actually deal with being one. One look at the Hollywood celebrities explains it all. Those for which we think “they have it all”, are often the loneliest among us. Latest example from the scene is the road of Jim Carrey, who went on the search for the meaning of everything, as what used to be a challenge for him once – became a game in which he was always winning.

He says that we make decisions based on love or fear. If you are afraid of not being published, you will never send your work to the editor, and you will never be published. But also if you are a great, published, author, you can just as much be overwhelmed with fear of having it all, that you will eventually stop publishing or writing. If you are aiming to be number one, how do you handle actually becoming it? What will be your next challenge?

For most people, it is often much easier to simply give up. How many people do you know who are running from one bad relationship to another, stubborn and dedicated to suffer forever? They are so used to having a painful emotional life, that the idea of being happy with someone seems so strange and terrifying, and they just can’t let it happen for them.

As for me, it is time to realize that knowing I can pass the exam is not the same as actually passing it, and that I don’t always have to have a plan. I am probably as happy as I’ll ever be, and I will never lack problems to solve. Or so I hope.

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