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I am afraid of failure


I have been ashamed to talk about this for a while now or maybe penning down my feelings meant admitting to myself that - I failed. In the last six months, I have woken up to five rejection emails from law schools. They lay in my inbox, those little words, "we regret to inform you" and my heart, which continues to be dropped heavy and low, I won't lie. I'd hoped so much for this to work out going to law school has been a passion I have fuelled since I was a thirteen. Over a decade later still not there.


These emails have led to the voice inside, in my head, a not-so-gentle voice, saying you weren't good enough. You should have worked harder. I'll be honest, I'm still not feeling "burst into song" happy, but there's quiet, and calm. I'm telling myself “Hey you tried". And the joy, I'm certain, at some point, will return. This failure has made me learn something about myself, I am afraid of failing.


Succeeding for me is easy. Rejection? I don't know how take them in. The way I charter through my life is by giving my entire effort to anything I do. My academic life, my job, my current projects, or even in my personal life - I do it with all my heart. I never understood why for the first time my formula failed especially for something that I have wanted to work out since forever.


The fact that it has taken me over six months to talk about this whole journey has meant, I have spent a lot of time reflecting. And I have realized that my fear of failure is stronger than my hope for success. I give everything my all because deep down I am afraid of what is going to happen if I do not give it my greatest effort? What is going to happen if I do not succeed? I don't know who I'll be if one more failure comes along the way. I'm afraid of entering a level of life that I don't know how to navigate. I never brought this up because it seems like an odd problem to have. But it's a real problem for me. And I wonder if anyone else feels that way too.


Right now, I am just floating. I am neither heading forwards or backwards. I feel like I am just here right now in this moment. This is scary for me because in my bones I know my potential. You know that moment you have when you flash the entire scenario in your head where all the wildest dreams that no one really knows about come true. Yeah, that moment. So, which is why failing is so hard for me. I don't know what is the vantage point after failure where do I begin? It is unfamiliar. It is human nature to gravitate towards familiarity because it's what we know. We're comfortable. Success and plan set in motion is my comfort.


But I am taking this failure as a moment to dig deeper within myself and to learn more about where these fears of failure are stemming from. I still do not know where I am headed but I do know is that Allah is taking me on a ride. Allah has once again reminded me that I do not have a support system behind my back but what I do have is Him, always. I have read Surah Yusuf a lot during this duration and the saddest lesson from it is that the closest people in your life aren't always the ones who love you the most. This Surah’s biggest lesson is that Allah will test you, but Allah will also provide for you.


"Verily, he who has taqwa, and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinun (good-doers) to be lost" [Surah Yusuf, Verse 90]


We may all have great dreams, but Allah fulfills them in different ways. Ways that are larger than our imagination.

When life gets tough and you suffer trials, and unfair treatment at the hands of those whom you least expect, don’t complain! Be patient. And remember the patience of Yaqub (A.S) and Yusuf (A.S). Dreams come true if Allah wills. Keep striving, keep working for it, keep praying for it, keep asking for it, keep hoping. All things come in due time. So, I pray for the right direction.


Now you may wonder why did I share all this with you all? Because this space runs the dangerous risk, I think of accomplishment and acclaim. Whereas life is this. To not always achieve. To receive rejection, big and small. To wait and wait for the storm to pass, but in that time to learn that you tried. That's courage.


Until next time,

Shanzay.

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