How Insecurity Ruled My Life
I wonder why I didn't get invited to that party.
I didn't handle that situation the way I should.
Sarah has it all together with a smile and I'm over here struggling to
find energy for a shower.
He sounds like he's upset or angry with me, now what did I do.
Is this a familiar conversation that battle within your mind?
If you're a woman who struggles with insecurity, then motherhood can take
that insecurity plunging to a deeper (terrifying) depth; it can be a
complicated equation with many angles;
one aspect is that we enter a new realm of vulnerability when babies and children join our world.
Another part is due to the well-known arena of "mom-shaming," where
even the best-intentioned mommas are challenged and questioned on
child-rearing choices and preferences.
If you battle insecurity, you're not alone. Insecurity is something
that everyone deals with at some level, at some time in their lives.
I believe that if we dig to the root of insecurity, down to its core,
we would find that fear is brewing. Fear is False Evidence Appearing
Real. Fear of being rejected, judged and alone feels very real even
if it's not our reality; our hearts can incubate fear and grow it
I used to feel like insecurity packed a bag and hijacked my entire
life and perspective. In the past, I've tried many different ways to
overcome insecurity including (but not limited to): denial,
overcompensating from it, numbing it with (insert numerous vices) and
the old "fake it till you make it" (security) which ultimately fails
when self-doubt is running deep within you.
Insecurity (and it's sidekick anxiety) plagued much of my younger
years. For a long time, I felt that it was just a burden that I'd
always have to "deal with" and carry with me. Like an incurable
disability that was simply out of my control. I would avoid classes
and activities that would require me having to use my voice. I would
"picture it all" playing out in my head beforehand and it always ended
with me feeling vulnerable, exposed and defeated. This kept me
feeling "stuck" and paralyzed for many years. In motherhood,
insecurity prevented me from fully enjoying many of the phases my
babies were in; after all, what if I was doing this "wrong" and my
children would suffer because of all my shortcomings? I would second-
guess everything I was doing and often suffer perfection paralysis
(doing nothing because it wasn't perfect), all in my attempt to "do it
right". When I had toddlers, I started a blog and posted fun
experiences and my perspective as a new mom. I loved it and it became
my "online scrapbook" where I connected with lots of other challenged
and inspiring mothers. However, after some hateful comments and
negative reactions following my posts, I quit blogging. I wanted to
avoid the vulnerability and intimidation I felt. I had my intentions
and motives questioned, and it deeply hurt. I wish I knew then what I
know now. When someone judges you, they are projecting the way they
see themselves onto you. What others choose to see in you, has more
to do with them then it ever has to do with you. For awhile, I deeply
regretted quitting my blog and journaling, especially when my hard
drive crashed and I lost five years of family photos. The ones that I
do have? The ones posted on that little family blog. I don't make
regret a friend of mine, so I'm looking at many of these stumbling
blocks as a life lesson. But as you can see, insecurity and I go
After I quit blogging, I decided it was time to get real with who I
was, own my reactions, and focus on creating positive change in my
life. So I embraced the fact that the only way to overcome something
is to go through it. No more dodging, denying and overcompensating
the insecurities. I wanted this fear out by the root instead of just
hedging its vines so it looked prettier and socially acceptable.
Acknowledging the root of my insecurity was key. Many times, it's
down there deep at the core. It could be from childhood, early family
dynamics, that kid at school who was relentless about your thick
glasses and crooked teeth. It will be different for everyone but I
encourage you, as painful as it can be, to dig down and discover where
this began. Once you've found the root, you can practice forgiveness
and find peace with that part of your past. Forgiveness is a
consistent daily choice, it is not always simply a feeling.
Discovering your triggers of insecurity is so helpful. It's no secret
that social media can either fuel your instability or help you
overcome it. I love Instagram and it's my go-to for staying connected
and inspired. I follow accounts that uplift me. My feed is a daily
stream of people slaying life. It's full of people who are vulnerable
with their struggles and allowing others to see how they overcome. I
also follow some Instagrammers who have a Pinterest-perfect life in
those beautiful squares. But guess what? I let it inspire me and at
no point do I ever assume that they've got their whole world put
together flawlessly. That fairy tale you think someone's living: it
doesn't exist. Social media is a quick glimpse that (mostly) doesn't
show the daily grind of how we ever got there. Don't compare your
daily "behind the scenes" to another's "highlight reel". Take a
break from social media or accounts that leave you feeling defeated
Evaluate your tribe. Do you have people in your life whose energy
drains you? Maybe they deplete you with their words, but it can also
be their unrealistic expectations or their negative perspective on the
world that brings you down. Trust your intuition on this one. Pay
attention to how you feel after spending time with someone. Build
relationships with people who invest their time into talking about
ideas and not about other people. Do you have someone that you
admire? Ask to take her out for coffee. Discover what makes her tick
and how she finds her daily inspiration and strength. Social
connection affects our energy in a big way - find your way out of that
the cloud of negativity and into the light.
Refocus your thoughts about yourself. If you have a repetitive
negative thought, recognize it. And then begin to challenge it.
Would you repeat that same critical thought and say it to your best
friend? How about your child? Never- right? It's amazing how often
we accept and repeat self-doubt and criticism when it's become an old
habit. Get out of cruise control. The best way to refocus negative
thoughts or habits is not to simply try to quit the behavior; work to
replace it. I used gratitude to substitute my insecure thoughts. I
became purposeful in getting thankful even in the exasperated, tired,
frustrated moments. It's almost impossible to be insecure and
abundantly grateful at the exact same time.
Caring for yourself with exercise is another antidote to squashing
insecurity. I know, I know, what does this have to do with
insecurity- right? But hear me out. Exercising gives you a physical
boost of endorphins (natural opiates) that are designed to relieve
stress. I've also incorporated yoga into my routine and it's been
really empowering. I feel more balanced and strong when I've taken
care of myself physically. You'll feel better and look better from
the inside out.
Saving the best for last, the most powerful fight I've found against
insecurity is being rooted in faith and meditation. This isn't about
going to one certain church or finding religion. This is about loving
well. Resting in the knowledge that you're made for a purpose. You
were created by a higher power to love and to be loved. Understanding
the raw beauty of that and incorporating it into your daily life will
transform how you spend your time and the way you see yourself (and
others). We are all fighting battles no one can see. Meditate on
grace seeping into the insecure cracks of your life. You'll soon find
that you're more easily able to extend grace to others because you
understand it on a new level within yourself.
Insecurity is rooted in fear and judgment and sometimes it's grown so
deep, we are unable to get to the bottom of it. If you find yourself
deeply struggling in any of these steps, I want to encourage you to
reach out for help. Too many of us stay stuck, afraid that others
will judge us or that we will be perceived as "broken". I found an
incredible life coach who was instrumental in helping me overcome
several unhealthy mindsets. Be courageous and seek out help as
needed. We're all in this together and it's time to break the stigma
behind the health of our mind and spirit. I believe that happens when
we share our stories and let others know that they're not alone in
their struggles and trials.
If you are still wading through insecurity, I want you to close your
eyes. Imagine who you want to become and what that life will look
like. What does this picture look like to you? What new risks are
you courageously taking and experiencing? It will happen with a
diligent intention of moving forward. It's a beautiful thing to
realize that insecurity has been replaced with a fresh perspective and
healthier habits. If you feel weary or afraid of taking steps toward
that vision, remember that you will also lead your children there.
Get that wind beneath your wings. Open your eyes, the time to go for
it is today.
My favorite parable:
A grandmother is talking with her granddaughter and she says there are
two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness,
bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things
like greed, hatred, and fear.
The granddaughter stops and thinks about it for a second then she
looks up at her grandmother and says, “Grandmother, which one wins?”
The grandmother quietly replies, the one you feed.
My favorite books/resources for combatting insecurity:
Uninvited by Lisa Terkeurst
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
So long, Insecurity by Beth Moore