Fear. And Success…

I have activated a reply option in the  comments section of the blog: this just means readers have the ability to reply to certain person’s comment. If you want to respond to a comment someone leaves, just click the new “reply” field right below their post.

Fear of Success

When I first heard that there are some people who actually fear “success,” in whatever their definition happens to be — such as in a career, a relationship, and for many, fear of weightloss — I was stunned! It was confusing to my pre-teenaged self to relate to; however, I did intellectually understand it after reading and hearing more about it. I think it was one of those old Oprah shows, haha. Anyway, as I got older I heard about it more and more, but still couldn’t relate to it…

There is a woman who worked with my father and was his friend for several years. She was obese and a classic case of this fear. She was beyond intelligent — my father considered her genius. I so admired her intellect…it was her self-sabotage in different areas of her life I couldn’t comprehend… But, eventually, I did learn and come to understand her better.

So, I’ve come to realize there has been at least one time I feared of success. It was as a child. It had to do with not wanting to stand out so much in school (I’ll save you the ramble). It lasted for no longer than a couple weeks, I confess, but still…Anyway, I defy any cut throat banking fatcat to survive the unforgiving grammar school playground, complete with “mean girls,” status, and “cool kids”!

Anyway, as small as that experience may seem it was significant; and it allows me to have some empathy and a bit more understanding when I read or hear about it. I quickly realized it was foolish to do this, and thank God I have parents who always encouraged me to give 100% effort to whatever I was doing.

So many people go through an unfortunate side effect of losing weight — being successful. Tragic.  Others treat them poorly, whether it’s jealousy; resentment; seeing that person as a threat; or even seeing it as a “loss” of that person or who they think that person “used to be”… as if their self had changed…
As well, many who lose the weight, are, themselves, uncomfortable for various reasons, whether induced by external forces, or from within themselves – self-induced — “Maybe I don’t deserve to be thin? What do I do now that I’m healthy? What do I do now that I’m thin? People are looking at me now, what does this mean? Others are attracted to me suddenly…is this good or bad? Are people sincere? Do I feel exposed? I have nothing to hide me any longer. Now I have to be __ and I’m scared. Can I do it? Can my inside live up to my outside?”

I wonder how many people sabotage their “diets” or goals and, perhaps don’t know it’s fear-based. Or maybe they do know, and it’s a way to — protect themselves?
Maybe they like not reaching certain goals… because it’s easier, because it’s comforting/able, because it’s what they’re used to. What will they do when they no longer have weight to lean on?

What positive things can we do to deal with it? Maybe sharing will help others going through this. I could wax on — Y’All know I could 😀 — but I’d like to hear from others. Becoming healthy — not just thin, of course — should be a good, positive thing! We all know about fear of failure…what about success?


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  1. February 28, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Wow, that’s a really good point. I think I ran into this too as I lost weight. Luckily, the enjoyment of it overwhelmed the fear. You’re brilliant. And you can probably even handle a compliment, too. 🙂

    • poxacuatl said,

      February 28, 2009 at 11:57 pm

      Haha, hmm..yes, I don’t take compliments well. You must be psychic 🙂

      It is strange though, isn’t it? How some things get twisted like this. A good thing turns burdensome.

  2. Mr. Curious said,

    March 19, 2009 at 5:49 am

    I think you touched on some great points in your post.

    I would like to add that some people are afraid to loose the extra weight for the fear of extra loose skin and looking older. I heard this from two people already and it’s when presented with the facts they still can’t get over that fear. It’s not really fear of success, but their mind making up a very irrational excuse to make success seem like failure to them…

    Another experience that I have is people not being sensitive to the fact that someone had lost the weight and they would make comments that make the weight loss into a negative. They may perceive the new person as loosing too much weight or looking too thin, and they are shocked and become ‘worried’. Some make comments while others just stare at the person eliciting the shocked or worried body language. On the receiving end, these ‘encounters’ are not pleasant. Somehow weight loss (in US at least) makes the person feel the same as a weight gain, although loosing weight is really a great healthy change.

    You have worded this as well as other aspects of successful weight loss, which I believe deserves more attention.

    • poxacuatl said,

      March 19, 2009 at 7:54 am

      Hi, Mr. Curious! Thanks for visiting.

      Your first point is well taken. I have meant to write on that topic as well. It’s shocking that so many would place their looks over their health. It’s a testament to the culture, though, isn’t it? It’s sort of like weight gain, itself — How did we let it get this far?! How did this happen? It seems the majority of us — if not an “eating disorder” — have disordered eating, initiated (or perhaps instilled) at birth via disordered child rearing, as well as disordered nutrition: Disordered view of “self” and others is the tragic result.

      Your second point, I recall feeling a bit of when I began to exercise as a teen. I recall the “you’re getting too skinny” “Don’t overdo it, now” “you’re taking this too far and it’s not healthy” Etc. I guess We’ve lost our tact along with our senses! Haha.

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