Atelophobia is defined as the fear of not doing something right or the fear of not being good enough. In other words, it’s a fear of imperfection. Etymologically, the word atelophobia is comprised of two Greek words: the prefix Atelo(s) means imperfect and the post-fix phobia means fear.
I always wanted to discuss topics about fear that’s why I decided to make a series of blogs in which I’ll tackle all the potential fears I have as a person.
First and foremost, I believe that the fears I have for certain things or objects are mild only and were never severe that is needing medical attention. I am sure of this because I know myself well in that part. And I was able to overcome them one by one.
I’ve chosen Atelophobia which is the fear of not being good enough as my introductory post to this fear series since I’ve battled with this one for a very long period in my life.
I always fear the day when everything that’s keeping me standing my ground will begin to fall apart. Being an academic achiever, being the first best, I still had this insecurity of not being good enough. I always did my best but there are always those things I don’t possess which seemed to be so lovable having been decorated in someone else’s character. And I thought acquiring those things will make me enough and deserving of people’s love too.
I kept on achieving, rising above anyone else. I had this attitude to never settle for defeat. I programmed myself to always go for the top and not only for second best. I was destined to be the best because that way I could feel I am enough.
But I fell in love with the right person at the wrong time. For the first time in my life, I settled for second best.
Obviously, I lost her.
That is my first defeat, my sweetest defeat. I got a taste of how it’s like to swallow your loss round and raw. But also, I was able to discover how it feels like to have lost two things at the same time where what only remains is yourself to blame. But I didn’t blame myself. I learned from it.
Ashamed and stripped-off of the only thing that’s making me believe I am good enough, I fought for my throne, the don’t-worry-so-much-you-are-good-enough throne. I was destined to live a long life and so I won.
College came and to my surprise, the world is a lot bigger than I initially imagine. This prideful and tough-looking me took the greatest risk to enter the accountancy department. It was not that risky for me.
First year, everything was smooth. I was able to sustain my prideful disposition and feel like “Yeah, I’m fucking enough bitches!” It’s tragic how my fear of something even grew to corrupt the way I conceive things. I tried to make myself believe that I am above anybody else just so I could hold myself still.
But came second year where I suddenly doubted everything I strongly believed in before. My cum Laude dream was gone.
Voila! Welcome to life.
I started to lose motivation on studying. I settled for just merely passing all my courses. I almost even failed two courses, cost accounting and management services, which back then was fine for me because I’m not the kind of person to beg just to get a passing score. Thankfully, I am blessed enough to pass, still. Maybe out of pity or maybe I was just lucky.
What made me fully lose track on achieving more was the I-lost-all-my-dreams-which-is-my-mom drama. From there, I settled for the thought that since I feel like I am never good enough, then I’ll just be someone who’s truly never good enough.
Losing everything I built as stronghold for my dreams, I did not come to confront myself to do better just like before. I accepted in that moment that just graduating without praise is as far I should go.
I didn’t blame the professor who made me lose my cum laude dream but thankful instead. That previous self I once harboured inside me was made of arrogance and pride which are the products of my fear of not being good enough.
In that state, I continuously fed myself with compliments and struggled to maintain those moments of achievements just so I could also continuously pretend to have sealed my fears.
But during the last semester in college, life hit hard on me, made me realise that there is something more than our fears. That we are made for something better.
It was the turning point in my life where I decided to do the best in everything I do. If it still isn’t good enough then so be it. What’s important is that I will always give my best and that will always be enough when you finally understand how to always look at things in the brighter side.
I was able to graduate on time, without praises or any special awards. But I did my best during the evaluation exams—failed some but passed most of them. I am proud for all the ones I passed but I am more thrilled for all the failures I was able to experience and grow from.
I was able to reach my dreams.
Because my dream was not to graduate with praises, but to graduate and be able to find a job that fits me that will enable me to give back to my family. That cum-laude thing is just another decoration on my name to which atelophobia has planted in me.
When things are turning out into successes, we easily neglect to reflect on ourselves and evaluate where all of these emotions and behaviours are coming from. Why do we always wanted to become the best but never second best when best should only mean we are the best version of ourselves.
If your best work is your class’ second best then accept it. You’re still one of the best. If giving your all could only reach the passing grade then that’s okay. You still made it.
There’s more to life than all the labels and praises people attach to their names. Don’t be envious on someone’s achievements because you have your own honest road to take. Not all who has the cum laude in their names are truly deserving of their title because some of them begged for it, some cheated for it, and some chose to not experience life in exchange for it.
I am happy I made it and those low moments in my life taught me more than I needed to learn—to not be a vessel of fear and do everything with all my heart.
I was able to achieve my dreams, but not all of them.
And that’s more than enough.
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