Perfection and The Fear of Failure

It’s better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to carefully avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit.

– Dan Millman, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

When I was in graduate school many ago, my classmates would often ask me how I was able to write papers so quickly and effortlessly. Many of them were perfectionists (like myself and many of you), and they struggled with writer’s block when faced with a blank piece of paper. When I was asked this question, it prompted me to think about how I was able to overcome my own perfectionism, and I realized that the breakthrough moment had come in high school when, in some moment of grace, I realized that if I gave myself full permission to write the worst paper I had ever written it freed me to express myself. From that point on, every time I had a writing assignment I would say, often out loud, “You can write the worst paper you’ve ever written.” Like a miracle, the creative floodgates would open and the words would effortlessly tumble out.

This principle came up in more recent years when I was struggling with early motherhood sleep deprivation. When the time would roll around for my weekly yoga class, I would inevitably tell my husband that I was just too tired to go. And he would inevitably say something like, “Even if you stay in child’s pose the entire class, it’s better to go than not go.” He was right. As soon as I stepped onto my mat, while giving myself full permission to stay in child’s pose, I would find some reservoir of energy and would be able to do most of the class.

I never did write the worst paper and I have never spent the entire class in child’s pose. When we give ourselves permission to fail, we never actually do. When we agree with the part of us that wants to hold us back, we diminish its power.

Another way of saying “give ourselves permission to fail” is to talk about the character of resistance. Resistance is the voice that tries to prevent you from doing anything new, from taking a risk, from being vulnerable, from putting your creative or innovative self into the world. It’s the voice that says, “It’s all been done before. Who do you think you are? You’re going to fail, just like you always do. What if you look like a complete idiot?” It’s the part that cares deeply about what other people think and tries to protect you from criticism at all costs.

It’s also the part of us that is connected to fundamental laziness. It’s the part that would rather surf the internet than work on your creative project, the part that would rather fritter away time on Twitter and space out on Facebook than clean the house, the part that would rather zone out with food than do the inner work you need to do to deal with your anxiety, in your relationship or otherwise. I noticed this part a few moments ago before working on this blog post: the wall of resistance that doesn’t want to sit down and work, the part that can think of a hundred other things I have to do rather than take the risk of expressing my thoughts and communicating my message. The voice is very quiet now since I’ve been working with it for years, but it’s still there and it sounds something like, “What if you can’t express what you’re trying to communicate? What if the words are blocked? This is too hard. I’ll do it later.” I hear it but I don’t listen, and I sit down to write anyway. And every time I push through the resistance I connect to my creative flow, which is connected to my joy and the complete gratitude I feel for being able to do this work and share it with my audience, and I wonder why I resisted at all. Why do I forget every time how fun this is?!?

As far as I know, there’s only one way to overcome the fear of failure, perfectionism, and resistance, and that’s to make friends with it in some way. It’s allowing it to join us our journey, whether by saying, “I’m going to write but I’m going to give myself complete permission to fail” or seeing what happens when you honor the resistance by saying, “Okay, you win. I’m going to sit here and zone out instead of wash the dishes.” In this way, we disarm resistance and the voices of criticism and let them know that not only do we hear them, but we recognize that in some paradoxical way they’re an essential part of our journey. Like the baby being born needs to push up against the walls of the uterus in order to enter the world, perhaps we, too, need to push up against the walls of these shadow parts in order to birth something new.

Rabbi Naomi Levy speaks to this in her book, “Einstein and the Rabbi”. She’s talking to a woman about her resistance to writing a screenplay, and she introduces the woman to the Jewish concept of the Yetzer: this part of us that “seeks to divert us from uniting our highest intentions with our actions” and yet is also an engine that drives us. “That’s the paradox of the Yetzer,” she writes. “We need it in order to survive, but if we leave it unchecked it will destroy us, and everyone around is. The Yetzer is a foe, and we can’t live without it.”

She continues: “Here is the only way I know to disarm the Yetzer and the roadblocks it seeks to send your way. Instead of demonizing it, welcome the Yetzer to join you on the path. Partner with it, but tame it. Let it know who is in charge. As the rabbis teach, the Yetzer’s desire is to rule over you, but you must learn to rule over it. Take charge with humility, love, respect, and without judgement. Show the Yetzer that you recognize it. Say to it, “Come with me on this journey. I can’t fulfill my mission without you.” p. 220

Any time you move toward your higher potential, this part of you is awakened. Any time you move toward a loving partnership or a new business idea, for example, this part of you will rear up with a vengeance. Any time you approach inner work, this part of you will attempt to divert you. In order to move forward in our lives, we must learn to befriend resistance and move through our fear of failure. Befriending means that we make this part of us conscious so that we can acknowledge its presence, then proactively choose against it. If we don’t make this process conscious, we will default to our habitual patterns and the past of least resistance, which is, ironically, the path that puts resistance in the driver’s seat. Fundamental laziness will take over, as will the negative voices that are trying to protect us from taking risks.

How would you life be different if you could make friends with resistance, if you could learn how to partner with it and tame it so that it doesn’t rule your life? What if we could approach all of life with the same mindset, to know not only that we will make mistakes, we will stumble and fall, we will experience doubt and uncertainly in our relationships and in our biggest choices but to give ourselves full permission to fail? What would it be like to take resistance by the hand and give it some control while not allowing it to control our lives?

If you’re ready to learn how to do this – if you’re ready to break through your stuck places and move through your paralysis –  please join me for my next round of Trust Yourself: A 30 day program to help you overcome your fear of failure, caring what others think, perfectionism, difficulty making decisions, and self-doubt, which will begin on October 21, 2017. Registration is now open.

57 comments to Perfection and The Fear of Failure

  • K

    Such a beautiful article. There is a very predictable pattern with which resistance arises in me. I feel miserable, I do the work, I get better and everytime I feel better, I feel I resist my own well-being, hit the panic button and fall right back into anxiety. Either that or I become lazy and stop doing the work. Its like, even a glimpse of happiness and peace, makes me tranquil, but at the same time, it gets me over cautious for the next negative thought or doubt or worry that will pop into my head. And once I start looking for negativity, I find it everywhere and I get triggered easily. Resistance in me is also deeply fused with the belief that I can’t or wont get better. So whenever I do get better, that belief gets activated and I end up reinforcing it. Classic self sabotage. I guess all of this is linked to lack of self trust.

    • That’s very well-articulated, K, and you’re describing a common cycle for many people. Self-trust is certainly an aspect of it, but it’s also about learning to work more effectively with resistance which, in some sense, is about accepting that it will always be there to some degree and bringing a lot of self-compassion to these cycles.

  • J

    Nice piece. But I don’t want to be/feel perfect, so much as normal.

  • Aino

    Again such a timely topic for me, thank you, Sheryl! I actually have been thinking about this resistance-theme a lot lately and find that quite often I have difficulties recognizing it. Like for example after reading this blog I felt something I would describe as “guilty conscious”, and I had these thoughts saying: ok that’s you, you are lazy, you always want to choose the easy way and stay in your comfortzone, you always listen to your resistance and that’s why you are stuck with this anxiety. The problem is that what these thoughts are always “accusing” me of, is that I don’t make a decision to change my life and leave my marriage (which is what my relationship anxiety-side is telling me to do) or alternatively go to the doctor once again and get a thorough check-up (which is what my health anxiety is telling me to do, and of course, these sides don’t sound like relationship or health anxiety, but like real feelings and real, serious symptoms) Instead I do nothing and I avoid making a decision about my marriage and avoid going to the doctor (although I do go quite often), because I really don’t want to do either of those things. I just want to live my life, stay at our beautiful home and literally stay in my comfortzone and keep on hoping (and journaling and going to therapy and taking break free-course) that this will get easier and that the answer is something else than a doctor’s appointment/serious illness or a divorce. And this is why whenever I read about resistance and that you shouldn’t give in to it, I feel guilty, because I feel that I am lazy and just listening to my resistance for not being able to do those difficult (impossible even) things that my mind keeps telling me to do. Is this kind of thought pattern familiar to anyone else/ do you recognize this from your clients, Sheryl? I feel that one of the most liberating thoughts regarding anxiety and intrusive thoughts is “you don’t have to do anything”, but is that’s just my laziness/resistance talking?

    • I’m not exactly sure on what you’re asking, Aino. Can you please try to ask your question again in a few short sentences?

      • Aino

        Sorry, English is not my native language. 🙂 I guess what I am struggling with is how to recognize the voice of resistance from all the other voices, especially from the voices of intrusive thoughts? Because usually when my mind urges me to really get up and DO something, it’s often related to my go-to intrusive thoughts (for example make a decision regarding my marriage), although it’s very hard for me to recognize this. And in these situations I find that a permission to be “lazy” and actually do nothing, sounds more loving than fighting the resistance, if that makes any sense. 🙂

        • I think you’ve answered your own question: sometimes the most loving response is not to respond at all but to sit and wait and listen. It’s important to distinguish between actions that serve us – like committing to our spiritual practices and inner work – and actions that stem from fear, like leaving a loving relationship. I hope that makes sense.

  • Leslie

    Hello all,

    I wrote this recently about how I conquered my fear of flying, which requires letting go of all control, because someone else is in the driver’s seat. I used to travel frequently for work to places where large jets don’t often fly. By making an odd peace with the worse scenario imaginable–a crash–I was able to happily board many, many flights.

    This is a slightly different type of resistance, but I think it’s related.

    Fear of Flying

    Six or seven years ago, I was seated next to a strapping young man on a Turbo prop bound for LAX. It was a warm evening, and the small aircraft bounced on the undulating air currents. My young seat companion looked green.
    “Is this your first time on a small plane?” I asked.

    He nodded. And I said something encouraging about it being a short hop. I hope I didn’t share the story about throwing up in that aircraft the size of a mosquito over Alpina, Michigan, years before.

    But I probably did tell him.

    The lights from the Los Angeles megalopolis below were starting to come out like stars in the growing dusk.

    The young man asked me where I was from and we both realized common Colorado roots.

    “I remember the first time I flew in one of these things,” I said. “I was scared to death.” But on this blithe evening, I chatted happily away in the window seat watching Southern California light up for the night.

    This wasn’t always the case. I had long been a white-knuckle flyer, convinced that by worrying and clutching the arm rest or my husband’s hand, I could keep the jet aloft. Seriously. I believed—in a way—that I could keep the plane up with my anxiety.

    When I began traveling in earnest for work, places like Greenville, Pennsylvania and Bethany, West Virginia and Lumberton, North Carolina, locations that may or may not have large airports nearby, the fear did nothing but keep me up at night. The what ifs of weather and machinery and aerodynamics tortured me much like my relationship anxiety does.

    So I let it go. Just like that. Through some miracle of reframing, I simply decided it was OK to fly. Since I had watched my grandmother die from Alzheimer’s and lost a best friend to AIDS—and suffered dire bouts of anxiety and depression myself—I knew there were worse things than leaving this world quickly in a crash.

    But getting to the bottom of my relationship anxiety by imagining the worse-case scenario for me feels worse than death. It’s putting my mind in that place where I lose my best friend, partner, helper, home, family, everything. I would rather die, really. Or lose my hands. But maybe this is part of the work to look out the window of my life and into the wild blue yonder, to see the white light of that explosion and aftermath, learning that maybe there are worse things than this too. None of my planes went down when I let go and took some risks. Maybe my marriage won’t either.

    That warm California evening I am completely confident disembarking at the futuristic Los Angeles airport for the next leg of my journey and my young companion is considerably more cheerful.

    “It wasn’t so bad, was it?” I asked.

    “No, it wasn’t.”

    • This gave me chills, Leslie. Thank you for sharing, and yes, it’s absolutely related. There’s nothing as powerful as making peace with our biggest fears, which is another way of saying “making friends with resistance.” And it often happens in a single moment, as you shared: a moment where the world as we’re conceiving it turns on its head and we see something from an entirely new, and liberating, angle.

  • Kate

    ‘Perfectly’ worded article 🙂
    Thank you! Very helpful. This site always offers a much needed refuge, and I have garnered so much strength from your words these past few months. All the best.

  • B

    Beyond grateful for this! I’m reading Brene’s boom Daring Greatly and it’s been really hard for me. My resistance shoots up, because of all the interpersonal trauma I’ve had, and tells me I have no real self and I can’t be vulnerable. But giving myself permission to fail takes the edge off. Thank you.

  • Thank you for such a beautiful description of resistance and the Yetzer. I have been interested a lot lately in Jewish philosophy and the concept of Yetzer is such a great way to explain that dark energy in us all. Is there a counter energy or concept in the Jewish faith?
    I have recently started my own business and have been experiencing Yetzers influence a lot, feeding my doubts and fears. The past year has been an exploration of Yetzer and how it helps and hinders me. For me it feels like Yetzer is just as important as my desires to grow and expand and create. Without its power to slow me down and bring me to rest I would over reach and burn out. When I allow myself to embrace the Yetzer, it does not take over, instead, if I give it respect and listen to it’s message at the time, I am energised in a peaceful way.

  • Clara

    Thank you so much for this Sheryl. This was just what I needed today. I am facing the huge task of writing up my Psychology PhD (having just finished the data collection and interviews), and the voices of laziness, self-doubt, and resistance are starting to rumble. I can always find a million things to do that feel more urgent, or more immediate (the washing, sorting out the medicine cabinet, organising my stationary!!). I trick myself into thinking that I am working as hard as I possibly could – but I am actually avoiding facing the important, creative task at hand. Your words, as ever, were an injection of wisdom and light into my distracted mind, and a balm to my underlying anxiety. Thank you so much! I am now going to sit down to write!!

  • A

    Is it possible to project onto your partner that he expects you to be perfect or more of something in order to be with him? I can’t tell if it’s my insecurity that I’m projecting onto him as one of his expectations, or if it really is one of his expectations.

    • Yes, it’s absolutely possible to project that onto your partner, especially if you have a history around people expecting you to be perfect. It’s also possible that it’s one of his expectations, and the way you would know this is by 1. Asking him and 2. Being able to identify things he has said or done that make you feel that way.

  • Margarite

    Hi Sheryl,

    Great article! I’m curious though – why is feeling the resistance crucial? Wouldn’t it be easier if it didn’t have us deflect at all?

    Thanks!

    • It’s not that feeling the resistance is crucial if it’s not there. It’s that if there is resistance, it’s essential to acknowledge it consciously so that we can work with it directly, otherwise it sidles in through the back door.

  • B

    I’m also readon a great book about this topic that says: the Chinese believe that you must first make the beast beautiful before you can conquer it.

  • Kara

    Hi Sheryl,

    Is this program helpful for kicking bad habits (like eating healthy instead of junk food and emotional eating? I need to lose weight for medical reasons and keep running into emotional road blocks.

    Thanks!

  • Carolyn

    Amazing writing and perfect timing as always Sheryl! My husband and I just had a discussion yesterday on deciding whether or not to have kids and he shared with me that he has come to the conclusion that you stated above, on his own. I have struggled for years with making that decision for being terrified of “not doing it right”, as I know so well how vulnerable children are. I have taken the Turst Yourself course and am able to work with these fears much better now.
    It’s additionally presented in my life as I work in an allied heraldry field coming up with individual treatment plans for patients. As each person is unique, if I have been presented with a patient that was rather challenging or had an aspect of themselves that I didn’t have a lot of experience working with I would freeze. Terrified that I didn’t know what I was doing and worried about being competent to do the right thing for them. A wise aunt of mine had worked with a young girl like me whom she stated was brilliant but needed time to process everything and then would later come up with brilliant solutions. She suggested if I was patient with myself and trusted my knowledge and schooling I would come up with solutions rather quickly in these “freezing/freak out” moments. I started noticing when I was worrying about this with a patient and then also allowing myself to NOT KNOW the answer when presented with a challenging patient. Miraculously I found then when I stayed calm and trusted my inner wisdom and knowledge I was able to come up with answers and have insights into patients situations much more quickly and to a greater extent. I truly surprised myself!!!
    I now also know, that this is a trait that is very common for Highly Sensitive People. Understanding what being an HSP means for me and that it is NOT a weakness has also been hugely beneficial to me. I have been able to reframe so much of my past with a more compassionate understanding and helped me to feel “normal”.
    Thank you Sheryl, so much, for this work that is so beneficial to HSPs, a very misunderstood people.

    • Such wisdom from your aunt! There’s so much power when we let ourselves off the hook and rest in “I don’t know” for a while. When we do this the wisdom, as you shared, nearly always arises.

  • Sarah

    Very powerful ideas here. I see how I face my own resistance in writing e-letters for my business as well. My story is that I just can’t think of anything useful to say, or that the useful bits are so intimately related to my own growth that it would be inappropriate to share. I am going to try giving myself permission to fail miserably, and share whatever, and see what I have to say.

    Also, I found the description of the Yetzer particularly interesting. Last winter I felt some of my shadow aspects emerging into conscious light more fully. I did my best to work with them, intending to offer them love, and metaphorically give them safe space to cozy up by the fire in the sanctuary in my heart. In some ways I think this helped. But I felt the presence of these parts of me so strongly, that my thoughts were often dominated by the depressed, victim thinking that they embodied. There was a period where I felt sucked in again, like I had been in my past. I feel like I experienced what Rabbi Naomi Levi wrote about: “That’s the paradox of the Yetzer. We need it in order to survive, but if we leave it unchecked it will destroy us, and everyone around us.” I welcomed it in, but I left it too unchecked. That is the balance. We must be firmly rooted in what is true, and in love, because sometimes the sway of the Yetzer can be so strong that we can get swept up in it if we aren’t being conscious. That was a humbling lesson for me, and I’m grateful that my loving self is at the helm again these days.

    • I absolutely love this, Sarah, and it sounds like you’ve had a direct experience with what it feels like when the shadow places take over without a loving self at the helm. The key is to keep that loving parent in the driver’s seat as much as possible so that we can explore the shadow regions without becoming lost there.

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    Is believing you rather rest that do the work just the same its still a loving choice isnt it?? Taking rest doing absolutely nothing is looking after myself. I dont feel its resistance, or lazziness. I feel tired after a long and busy day at work that I just wanna sleep. I dont eat junk, I dont look at the screen. Im not avoiding my needs. I do panic a little if I dont journal. In order for me to do the tools is when I feel refreshed. Will this set me back ?

    • Rest is ESSENTIAL, Angela! It’s through true and nourishing rest that we find the energy to engage in our work, both inner and outer. The doing comes from the being.

  • Meredith

    Having just finished Open Your Heart I think starting Trust Yourself would be a bit of information overload, which saddens me to say because I know I would really benefit from the program. Maybe it’s the finishing of the program and not hearing from you every day, maybe it’s just change in season, maybe it’s the fact that I just returned from an awesome vacation (though with a difficult mother), but I have been incredibly anxious since I got home (and I’m nowhere near my period, so I can’t even blame it on that!) Lately it comes out in moments of trying to “Sheryl-ize” things in my life that have nothing to do with my partner. For example, sticking with a tv show that is boring me this season because “deep down, like with my partner, I must really love it”–even though it’s not bringing me joy (though I’m curious to see how it plays out). I’m convinced I “do things for the wrong reasons” and am lying to myself…which somehow translates to “I just must be lying about everything, including my partner.” Writing that here sounds so ludicrous, but somehow in my head it all makes sense. Perhaps it is a need for certainty, which is so hard to just breathe into. That could also explain why I freaked out after telling my husband during a particularly vulnerable moment “I will never love anyone like I love you.” I wanted to say it, but who can predict the future? Ugh!

    • It sounds like Trust Yourself is actually exactly what you need right now, Meredith, and as it doesn’t start for a few weeks you still have time to decompress after Open Your Heart. The reason I say that is because when you say that in writing this all out you can see how ludicrous it is, you’re pointing to the need for a daily practice, which is exactly what Trust Yourself teaches. Consider it… ;).

  • Lena

    Sheryl do you have any insight in the dynamic of both partners having relationship anxiety? My partner and I both struggle with this and I feel like it adds a whole new layer onto healing. When I know my partners anxiety is up, mine sky rockets and vice versa. I’m in constant fear of either leaving or being left. And with both of us having it, it’s harder to see that the problem isn’t our relationship but ourselves.

    • Yes, when both people have an anxious attachment styles and/or are HSPs it can be quite challenging (but also rewarding if you both stay with it and do the work). I recommend reading Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson and, if possible, doing some EFT couples therapy. It can be life-transforming.

  • Cici

    I have taken the Breaking Free from relationship anxiety course last year and have found it really helpful. I am now married and so happy in that aspect of life. Last night I recognized how embedded my need for perfection and control is. To the point to where my husband told me to just let go–to which i responded by squirting ketchup all over our kitchen wall. It was freeing for me. My newest spike is over death and suicide. I have no wishes to die or kill myself but I think about it all the time–it feels so much scarier than other intrusive thoughts (relationship, am I gay, could I ever molest a child, etc.) I have struggled with this thought for months and am afraid to talk about it because I am afraid of others thinking I will really hurt myself. Are your strategies in the Break free course universal to all intrusive thoughts or is there something I could add to ease my crippling fear? I know there has to be a better way to live than being victim to it.

    • Yes, go through Section Three on intrusive thoughts, and also consider exploring a spiritual practice. As I mentioned in the comments section of my blog post of “The Fear of Losing Control” I’m in the process of creating a 30-day course on the fear of death, but it won’t be available until Spring 2018. Also, it’s essential that you do find someone to talk about it with so that you’re not keeping it stuck in your head, where it can only fester and grow. Any therapist who understands intrusive thoughts won’t take this one at face value.

      • Frances

        Hi Cici, I have huge fears over suicide, though around the potential suicide of a loved one. The tools you learn in Break Free are applicable to all Intrusive Thoughts, but it may take some time for you to recognise them as that and build a specialised ‘tool box’ for that particular thought-theme. Please feel free to start a discussion on the forum if you need to talk. I’m certain this isn’t an uncommon fear. I know mine is linked to the fear of being too happy and of the unknown. I constantly imagine the scenario that I’ve let myself go, am feeling free and happy, and I get a phonecall about a car crash…or a parent gets a terminal diagnosis…or I walk into a room and am met with the sight of a suicide.

  • Nosebleed

    Thank you for another beautiful article, Sheryl. Lately I’ve been studying Fichte in my philosophy classes, and the concept of the Yetzer and its necessity in our lifes reminded me of an interesting passage of Fichte’s philosophy: the “negative” is necessary, because only through the negative, the positive can be reached. It represents an obstacle to the human being, but an obstacle that needs to be constantly overcome: only throught the constant overcoming of the obstacle, the human being realizes its own freedom. Thus, the negative is reconsidered in a positive light.

  • ellen

    Hi Sheryl,

    I’m getting married this coming weekend, and through the wedding process, I’ve been a pretty calm bride, with only one concern- being sick the weekend of the wedding. now that we are less than a week away, i’m feeling nauseous and have a constant sore throat. Is it possible that my worrying about becoming sick has made me sick? Any thoughts to over come this? It made me connect to this article and the fact that being sick would be the only thing that wouldn’t make the wedding perfect for me. Thanks,

  • Frances

    Oh Sheryl, I needed this SO badly. I’ve been re-reading Big Magic lately as I needed reminding to follow the breadcrumbs of curiosity, instead of waiting for a huge, engulfing wave of inspiration to come over me. I loved what you said about how, when we embrace permission to be imperfect, we rarely fail in the ways Resistance tells us we will. My voice of Resistance has been huge the past couple of days, but I’ve been parenting it and showing it that I will act anyway. It’s been really hard. Thanks 🙂 for your creepily, wonderfully timed words. I feel stronger for reading this. X

  • A

    Sheryl,

    I know that my comment comes a little late and so I don’t expect that you will answer it. I’ve commented before on a few of your posts, which I always find so wonderful and refreshing. Your site is an oasis of calm and acceptance and thought in a world which oftentimes seems so harsh and unforgiving. I feel at the end of my tether: I am hurting so much. I had a fight with my boyfriend and I feel really humiliated by him (he got very drunk with friends and it made me annoyed and not attracted to him – going to point out that we are uni students in the UK and getting drunk is quite a commonplace thing, and he does it a lot less than he used to. I once thought it was a red flag but I now know it’s not). I feel scared about what this means for our relationship. We love each other but we are both so immature (we are 22, I feel he is a little more immature than me) and at times I fear we will never grow up. I don’t know what to do. Sheryl, I wish I had your confidence and still waters! Sending love and hope,

    A

    • Dear A: It can be very challenging when you’re both young and still in the lifestyle of partying and learning about what works and doesn’t work for each of you. As you do your inner work, you will find your own self-trust, confidence, and still waters, and in the meantime take heart in knowing that you’re not alone; we’re all in this human experiment together!

  • Alissa

    Thanks for this blog post. This is me exactly. So much resistance. I am a scientist. I work at the International level with amazing scientists from countries around the globe. It has taken me a lot of effort and hard work to get to where I am. Yet, I am plague by what you describe. The resistance comes up most frequently when I need to give presentations to my colleagues. After so many years, I still question that I have any hung new to offer. That they already know everything that I am going to say. That they will think ‘we’ll, that was a waste of time’. I am actually writing this as I am supposed to prepare for my next presentation! My wandering mind takes me to many different places when I am preparing for these. I feel the anxiety in my chest. I try to just close my eyes and breathe and relax. It is a hard practise.

  • Yvonne

    I still sometimes find that when I’m speaking to someone or texting somebody I still refer to myself as me instead of me and my partner for example. “What can I get you for your birthday” instead of “what can we get you” even sometimes happens accidentally if speaking verbally. Is this a bad thing of me? 🙁

  • blual

    Hi Sheryl, I was thinking about an answer you gave to me in an older comment, that relationship anxiety is not neurosis, they are different. I wonder in what they are different, if you could explain more.
    I am wondering if neurosis is a tougher love-hate ambivalence that doesn’t allow a good relationship to exist.