Worrying about what other people think about me is a strength I have developed within for decades now. Worrying if people think I’m good-looking enough, worrying if I’m living up to my potential, constantly worrying I will fail, and unconsciously worrying if I will be able to live up to the expectations others have placed on me. We think that we’re too fat, ruminate if she’ll like us, worry if he thinks the other girl is prettier, worry that at the basis of everything we simply aren’t good enough.
My question used to always be: why? Why am I so insecure? Instead of what and how I might overcome these lies my brain keeps telling me.
How do we get to a point where we can look at ourselves in the mirror and smile? How do we learn to find satisfaction in who and what we are?
The answer isn’t simple, but all that will be required of you to get started is a willingness to dig into blindspots in yourself that you have been deliberately avoiding.
The doctor will prescribed you with a small dose of courage. A dose so easy to swallow that even the most sensitive of us can handle it. To get things started, you need a willingness to set aside all of your distractions, to bring about a focus within that will highlight areas you are struggling with.
Many of you brave warriors out there might now be saying to yourself, “I’m already very aware of where I fall short in this world, thank you very much”. I might rebuttal your argument by calling that thought in itself an obstacle to growth.
What Gets In The Way
A bumper crop of Mental Congestion.
- “I really hope they like me”. When someone gives us approval we feel like champs. Our worthiness cup is filled and life is fine and dandy. But that cup never seems to stay filled and we then have to go looking for our refill of this positive image of ourself. Our approval drought may be a couple days or a couple months, but eventually we get our approval cups filled again and our emotional worth shoots up again. We become stuck in a cycle of approval seeking.
- “You are such an idiot”. A guardian/relative/family member may have hacked you down when you were young, and that criticism never really seemed to leave you. It somehow got etched deeply within your psyche and since then you’ve never been able to serve these lies with their deserving eviction papers.
- Mirror-Mirror on your wall. Somewhere along they way you turned those external labels and criticisms on yourself. The unfavourable comparisons of yourself to others leaves you feeling smaller than a lego man. It doesn’t matter if the reality doesn’t meet this self-image … we can be competent, brilliant, and beautiful, but if we have an image of ourselves that is ugly, dumb, and a failure, we will act according to that image.
- Social media: Chokehold of death. We scroll through Instagram every day, comparing ourselves to those ‘hot’ people that constantly plague our feeds. It’s like Instagram hates me. I’m never gonna have abs like Thor, well that is until my FitTea order comes next week. We look at these peoples lives drooling with envy, instead of looking at accounts as highly deployable marketing tools. We buy obnoxious products like FitTea because is gives us this short burst of hope that we too can get a million followers and then sell others with shitty products that appeal to our insecurities. “OMG, check out @BeckyBubbleButt. She is gorgeous and swears that she only works out three times a week because supplement XYZ enables her to do so. It’s only $50 bucks with her special discount code. It would be silly not to at least try it out”. Can you relate?
- “I’d like myself if only I…”. We don’t like that we are overweight, our legs don’t look good in shorts, we can’t fit into shirts from Baby Gap, we aren’t size zero, or our guts bulge out when we sit down. In the end, the result is that we reject far too much of ourselves. You think this train of thinking stops when it arrives at the likes [email protected], people who have bodies that we could only dream of having, but even they constantly reject pars of themselves. Even more important that physical rejection is our non-tangible characteristics like drive and emotional connection.
Your initial dose of courage might be wearing off by now, better take another to help you push through the rest of this post.
The Path To Peace
Hot Tip: The ugly but very real points(obstacles) we just covered are the actually path you will need to follow to release yourself.
I want you to take one minute and visually reach your arms out now and embrace every single one of those things that get in your way we just read through. Not only today, but every time they seem to crop up, over and over again. Cause they will. In order to do this, we need to develop a level of awareness around our insecurities. What does it feel like when you are right in the middle of a moment of comparison? How does it feel when it starts to initially rise up inside you? Is that shame you linger in on the backside of the cycle, or is that blame? Yes, my friends it is work! View this work as an investment into self that has an infinite financial/emotional return. I mean you do want to be rich don’t you? #richkidsofinstagram
Major Key Alert: Insecurities = Opportunities
Try to pay more attention to yourself when these feelings of fear or inadequacy starting raising their heads. Then, try and put a few of these following tips into play.
- Self-approval. When you notice yourself yearning for approval, their likes, or retweets … pause! Take away the power of others to approve of you. What are you even going to do with their approval if you do get it? Your approval upon yourself is far more valuable. Approve yourself! No one wants you to say “fuck it, I don’t need them anyways”, because that isn’t the solution either. The connection with others is mandatory in this world, but the value judgment of approval can start with self. Accept yourself, love yourself, fully. This is a practice by the way. A practice that will turn into a habit!
- Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. If your insecurities have been shaped by a family or authority figure, recognize the humanness of them. Have you ever reacted harshly to someone? Understand that they too were probably driven by fear when they lashed out at you. Not to excuse the wrong, but recognizing our own ability to be hurtful reduces the sharpness of the blow. Holding onto resentment is like holding onto a burning coal. Your hands get burnt, not theirs.
- Non-comparison for the win! Stop comparison yourself with how others look in pictures, what and who they hand out with, where they went on vacation or for work, or how much more amazing their life looks than yours. Be happy that they’re having fun. Turn envy into happiness for their life. They’re on a completely different path than you. Someone is probably looking at your life and wishing they were in your shoes right now. Don’t forget that!
- Lovingly accept yourself. Notice parts of yourself that you like about yourself. Both your body and of your inner workings. Take a look at the parts of you that may look awkward and ugly too, and see if you can send them love. See these imperfections as invaluable parts of yourself you have yet to fully appreciate, but eventually will. How would you tell a friend to speak to themselves if they constantly said they hated ____ about themselves? Why doesn’t that same advice apply to your? Give yourself a huge serving of compassion.
One day at a time I try to venture out on this path. Slowly, bit by bit, I turn over my own imperfections and view them with care and appreciation. This is the path to peace. You find the rough edges within and gently work with them. Learn to shift your perspective, and to lean into these opportunities to heal and grow.