L’Shanah Tovah: A Change in Perspective

With the start of 5774, I need a change. Not a resolution, not a to-do list, but a change.  Part of life is working toward accomplishments. Part of life is enjoying those accomplishments.  I fail at the latter.

I cannot remember a time when my efforts were not driven by fear of disappointment.  I am terrified of disappointing my parents, my bosses, my husband, but most of all myself.  And offhand, I can only think of one big failure in my life: I didn’t get in to UC Berkeley, even though almost all of my high school friends did.  But even that didn’t feel like much of a failure or a disappointment.  I was sad briefly, but then quickly became excited about the prospect of the other schools on the table.

I set modest goals, because I’m afraid that if I aim too high, I won’t be successful, and then there will be disappointment.  And even when I set a goal, I tell myself that I’m going to fail with it, so that if I do fail I am not disappointed (I knew it was coming, anyway), but if I succeed, it is a pleasant surprise to me.

My perspective is holding me back.  I have the drive to work hard, I have people who support me, I have resources to accomplish things.  I need to stop setting goals that are within reach.  I need to set goals that are true risks.  And I need to top telling myself I am going to fail. If I set big goals, I might fail. But if I do, I can cope with the disappointment, because I will know that I was truly testing myself, and when you set your goals high, success isn’t 100%.  It’s time to get over that fear of disappointment.  It’s time to see what I can really do.

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