Heather and I recently developed an addiction to the show The Voice. Lately, possibly as a result of watching The Voice every night, I’ve had recurring dreams about performing and people being utterly unimpressed with me. I picture myself as a performer on the show and I imagine these two scenarios: (1) I sing and no chairs turn - the general response is indifference. (2) They love it - then all I can think is “Crap, that was a fluke. They’ll find out the truth next time and be disappointed”.

I’m paralyzingly afraid of others’ indifference and disappointment. This exposes a deep distrust in myself. It also exposes an unhealthy need for others to give me permission to be who I really am. This fear is enough to make me consider not trying at all, or worse to appear to try while simultaneously and subconsciously sabotaging my own efforts.

While I feel like I’m just realizing these things now, below are some lyrics I wrote several years ago, for someone else of course:

Scared, all you are is in their hands Afraid they’ll see right through the clothes you wear, And they’ll laugh you off the stage And then where will you be? Just an ordinary guy like me.

We all know what to do and we all know why we’re not doing it. We’re extremely good at covering it up with distraction and confusion and busyness until we’re forced to just survive without ever living. While it sounds like a tragedy for us I think it’s important to see it for what it really is: a self-centered decision to protect ourselves and rob the rest of the world of what we were put here to contribute. Fear renders us useless.

If we fail, let it be because we died trying, not because fear got the best of us.

My Paralyzing Fear