My friend was finishing up her doctoral thesis in Trombone performance. She loves what she does, but she noticed as she was teaching and playing that many musicians self sabotage. They convince themselves that they aren't talented enough, haven't practiced enough, that people are going to notice ALL their little mistakes and judge them for it. As a result, they perform poorly, make more mistakes and are less willing to play for others.
"Most of my wounds are self-inflicted." - Paul Baum
Last night, my oldest daughter (9 years old), got out of bed crying with anxiety about messing up in the Primary Program. She felt like she didn't practice enough, didn't know all the words well enough, and that everyone would be looking at just her and judging her for her performance. It makes me want to yell, "You're not going to be judged! If anything it will make you more loved!" How often in our own lives to we think that everyone's attention is always on us and that we're being judged by some standard that we can't see? Let me tell you something... just like my daughter in a Primary Program, we will not be perform like a professional as a 9 year old. Not everyone is looking at you, mostly your parents and a few friends/family. Those friends and family think you're more wonderful than anything and your mistakes just cause them to love you more. (Which, they did great in the program. Ada knew all the words, Sam sang louder than the whole 60 kids up there, and Evelyn was super proud that she knew her part without help.)
"On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal." -Jeffrey R. Holland ("To My Friends")
Often, we don't try to do something because we: aren't talented that way, don't know the people, are afraid of what they'd think if we failed, don't think that any good would come of it, etc.... Everything from church callings, new things at work, having children, starting college, can cause us anxiety as we adjust, learn and grow. And in my limited experience, all those things have been very worth while if we stop thinking about them and just start doing them.
It sounds a little weird, but I think that these feelings are the basis of selfishness - the natural man. Are we really so self centered that we think that EVERYONE is LOOKING at ME? Some do, but honestly most of us are too busy not looking at anyone to notice everyone else. Are we just selfish enough to turn down a calling teaching in the Primary because we just DON'T mesh well with kids. (We all feel like that at first, trust me.) Are we just selfish enough not to tend someone's kids when they need it because the kids just don't KNOW me yet. (Well yeah, taking care of them is how they get to know you.... otherwise they could care less who you are and why you're there.... They are kids after all.) Are we selfish enough to say no to something when there's a need just because we can't do it to OUR satisfaction? There are so many selfish things that we do on a daily basis that we either don't need to worry about, don't matter, or that if we took the effort to do it anyways we'd find that we actually do it better than we thought.
"If the world is to be improved, the process of love must make a change in [our] hearts... It can do so when we look beyond self to give our love to God and others, and do so with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind." - President Gordon B. Hinckley ("And the Greatest of These is Love")