Insecurity. I would bet money on it that there isn’t a person who doesn’t feel insecure some time in their life.
They might keep their insecurities better hidden. But the truth remains. There are times when most of us feel vulnerable, insecure or even threatened.
As a girl I could never walk into a room filled with people unless I walked around the edge of said room, trying to stop people from noticing I was there. Talk about having an insecurity!
It was hard to meet new people, and as for life’s confrontations, I avoided them like the plague.
I lived my life based on what others thought of me with little or no attention given to what I thought of me.
I spent too much of my life assuming I wasn’t good enough.
It wasn’t always visible to someone on the outside. In fact most people believed I was full of self-confidence. I know this because on the few occasions I admitted to what I truly felt, almost everyone found it hard, almost impossible to believe that I wasn’t brimming with the self-confidence they were sure I had.
Clearly I should have had an acting career, because nothing was further from the truth. 🙂
Before you run away with the idea that it was all bad. It really wasn’t.
Living with a heightened self-consciousness, a difficulty fitting in and often times fear and anxiety of the unknown, wasn’t always a bad thing, strange as this may seem.
Those inner challenges were at times angels on my shoulder. Without them I would never have found solace in books, and curiosity, and powerful desires to grow and change that have made and shaped me into the being I am today.
Yet it’s still a harsh truth that when you’ve spent a large part of your life feeling not good enough, it takes time to believe that you truly are. There isn’t a switch we can flip. At least I never found one.
And it’s hard not to give in to the story your mind whispers…that you’re really not good enough, or you’re just not capable of doing this, or there are those who can do it much better than you.
The latter being a great one to keep you struggling with insecurity; comparing your unfinished, or yet to be started work with someone’s shining, beautifully finished project.
So now the question is: how do we overcome this deep, pervasive feeling of insecurity?
There is no one simple answer, but we do have a starting point.
A willingness to turn around and face those inner demons that will always use the things we feel insecure about against us. Turning and facing them means bringing them out of hiding, turning the light on them and taking back our power.
Become okay with yourself
Stop living life based on what others think, or on how others see you. Whenever you feel self-conscious it’s a sign that you haven’t accepted you, just as you are, flaws and all. Truth be told the biggest and often the only critic you have lives in you, In your perception of how you think people see you, rather than how they actually see you.
That had been one of my biggest bugaboos.
Real life begins when you give yourself this reality check and at that point you will open the door to greater self-acceptance. Do it. Liberate yourself. It feels great.
Comparisons count for nothing
Shift your perspective away from focusing on what others are doing. Never mind where their next travels are taking them, or what their plans are. Instead be happy for them that they’re enjoying life. Maybe they’re on a path of eating apples and your path is one of oranges. You can all have an awesome life.
Keep being you. Keep following your passion. Stop wasting precious time on chasing after the success of others and eventually people will see that you are brilliant at being you, and as you become great at that, your own success will chase you.
Let go of being perfect
Okay, I confess this was one tiger I tended to have by the tail. I have no idea how I got it, but I wanted everything to be perfect, and I mean everything. Everything I did, what I looked like, who I was. There was always someone funnier than me (not a really difficult task!) always someone smarter than me, always someone slimmer, more beautiful, more everything.
No wonder I didn’t feel good enough. No wonder I was plagued with insecurity, right?
Brene Brown says: ”Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
And I strongly suspect that was me. And believe me when I say it is self-abuse of the highest degree.
That inner perfectionist critic doesn’t seem to know that improvement is always possible. That if you allow yourself to do something badly you might actually become good at it. No, the perfectionist critic loves having you constantly competing against those who have mastered their craft. It never says, wow you did well. It makes everything feel as though it’s the end of the world if it isn’t ‘just so’.
I’ll let you into a little secret for letting perfectionism go. Dive wholeheartedly into everything you feel passionate about and give yourself permission to make mistakes. It doesn’t entirely kill that perfectionism demon, but it sure shuts it up for a while!
Final Thoughts on insecurity
The life you want to live, the things you’d like to experience are possible. Yet there’s an obstacle to all of this. YOU. Your fulfilling, rich life is being put on hold because you carry within the burden of past insecurities and experiences.
Be more accepting of yourself. Try trusting yourself a little more. And stop overlooking all the wonderful things you are, that you do, and have done.
Remember, whatever your insecurity, it exists only in your mind. And you are at choice as to what goes on in your thoughts and feelings. Feeling good about yourself is a choice. Your attitudes are choices. Optimism, compassion, respect for yourself and others is a choice. And at the end of the day all the choices we make, make us.
Encourage one another.