Fear of Failure or Lack of Confidence?

My daughter is entering her teens...

Oh my, I am growing older! Yet it is a standing joke between us that she is 2 years old and I am 16!!

So does that make me a child bride?! In a way that is true, for I enjoy thinking like a child and behaving like one too.

So coming back to my daughter. She has moments of extreme anxiety, about her intelligence at times, about her looks maybe and at other times about her skills, but basically about her abilities and inabilities. School teachers add to such self-conversations by projecting very unnecessary and unwanted thoughts into her.

My husband and I are also be adding to it, as we tell her to be more organised, be more aware, be more present, be more, be more....

Gosh, what a lot the child has to process.

Usually she is the cool cucumber, but the pressure is adding up and she is just in 7th standard.
The other day she was very distressed about her Math scores and spent an agonizing 15 minutes pouring her heart out.

"Why is it, that even when I prepare well, I don't perform. Look at my other friend, she says she did not touch her book, but she got all the answers right" she berated one day.

On an other day it was her Teacher's words
" My teacher says I am not really all that good in Elocution, I just have no stage fear and that is my only skill"

What a lot of hurt...and what do I do?

I cried inside me, with her, knowing that I have been through similar times, carrying such similar thoughts and forming my own interpretations of very similar experiences.

Yet the difference here is that I could have a dialogue with her and give her a perspective that could help.

I chose a story

(A Spanish FolkTale)

A king was to marry and his minister came up with an idea. They declared that The Magic Mirror would choose their Queen. This mirror had the ability to show the world any blemish, no matter how small and so any Princess who came forward to look into the mirror would be the chosen one. 
The King and Minister expected Princesses to flock his kingdom, but surprisingly no one came. The King waited and waited, but only heard excuses; of Princesses who were too busy to come, or others already engaged, while others preferred to remain single. Finally the minister heard of a Shepherdess who was willing to look into the mirror and had her brought forth. The shepherdess was an ordinary looking girl, but she had only this to say: "I may have blemishes, but I have nothing to hide from the King or the mirror." So saying she looked into the mirror in the presence of many ladies and genteel folk who had gathered there.
But, it was no Magic Mirror, just an ordinary one and the ladies were incensed. This mirror only shows the normal self, there is no magic in it. "Let me take a look" said the pretty girls, "Choose me" said another.        
"Its too late" said the King, "I have chosen the shepherdess, for she alone had the courage to own her mistakes and stand up inspite of that. So I choose her."

What is our greatest fear? Failure?
But who defines that something is failed? (Unless it is a matter of Life and Death)

I chose to tell my daughter that we need to release ourselves from the Fear of Failure. Have courage in what you do, do it with conviction, and if the results are not as expected, we just need to know that there is probably another way to do it. Lets learn it.

Courage and confidence are the foundations for learning and living. Fear, is its biggest hurdle.
 I know, I have struggled with it all my life.


  1. lovely post, Sowmya!!!! and there is so much I learn from your posts.... and dont worry about your daughter... she is ur daughter... and the first step to achievement is to recognise our fears... once u do that, you can surmount it.. and with u for a mom, she will do it well..

  2. Proud of you Sowmya! What a lovely story you chose!....in my journey, I have realised quite late in life that any feeling that comes up is okay....one is not better than the other....they are all OUR feelings and all in a way the same....and sometimes I feel that BEING WITH the feeling is the only way...BE with it, acknowledge it and accept it....until another feeling comes and takes over on its own....because all fears are REAL..

  3. Great stuff and keep it up. Also advise your daughter these words from Baghwath Geetha.. do your duty and dont worry about the results of your efforts. If your efforts are right results would follow...

  4. You did an excellent job, Sowmya. Marks are not the criteria to succeed in life. Just do what you did.Pump confidence in her and tell her all great achievers did not get marks to succeed in life. Let her enjoy her childhood and why not with a mom like you she will do just that. Just in case she needs to know tell her the real life stories of mark spitz, edison and others. Let her teachers judgment not label her.


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