“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
― Milan Kundera,
Aim high? Shoot for the stars? No thanks, I think I’m fine right where I am. – The Gremlin in my head
Recently, I’ve noticed my an increasing tendency to crap on my own dreams. I am definitely the first to say, “it’s not going to work out” when an opportunity presents itself in my life. It seems that the more excited I get about potential opportunities, the louder the gremlin screams stop. That mean little gremlin voice really likes to speak up when faced with an awesome opportunity. That little shit.
I want to be better about this.
I know how self-defeating it is to shut down my own hopes and dreams. I think “would I say that to a friend or family member?” I wish the answer were no, but it depends. We talked about how I try to prevent future problems and save people pain (a futile and cruel practice) by highlighting what might go wrong in “Happiness Terrifies Me” . Overall, I think I try to be a supporter for those I love. But that little gremlin just gets going, “Don’t get your hopes up because what if it doesn’t happen” and sometimes this spills over into my relationships. That little shit.
What if I fail?
Interestingly, I am not too afraid of failure. I’ve “failed” at lots of things in my life and magically, life kept on going just fine. And, because of my job, I know that people talk badly about each other all the time and it is usually not personal. But, I am still a human with feelings so what other people think and say does affect me. And, the gremlin likes to use other people’s opinions as evidence that it’s not worth it to try.
For example, when I share a hope or dream and someone suggests that it might not work out that way. Or, when something good happens and someone I love can’t be happy for me, the little gremlin screams, “See! I told you it wasn’t a good idea and they agree with me!” Literally, one person might suggest that I take the safe and predictable road and ten others may tell me to go for it and the gremlin convincingly uses the one person (that I may not even like) as evidence to back down. That little shit.
The mean little gremlin voice is just trying to keep me safe (in a rather crappy way). The gremlin is a firm believer in staying put where things are safe and predictable. I need to stop arguing with it or trying to convince it that it’s safe to take chances. Because it is not safe to take chances and the little gremlin is right, things might not turn out the way I hope. Maybe I should stop calling him a little shit? Maybe I need to thank the little gremlin for its concern. I think we all have little gremlins that want to keep us just where we are, “We know what to expect here!” – Says The Gremlin. However, if eventually I want be somewhere else or do something different, I need to step out and take chances. The gremlin will probably never be a supporter of change but that’s his job. I get it.
“We are all failures- at least the best of us are.”
― J.M. Barrie