No matter how strong I may be, there is a very real part of me that is still very insecure. The older I get, the more I realize that my insecurities are not going anywhere. They are a real part of me. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I, Susan Leahy, am insecure. I have been playing with my insecurities my entire life and I suspect I will be playing with them until the day I die.
While I may mask my insecurities well, they are still there. Laying in wait, ready to jump out when something unexpected occurs. I think that most people that I interact with wouldn’t think that I struggle with feelings of insecurities each and everyday of my life… but I do.
I want people to like me. I worry about what people are saying about me. I don’t want people to judge me and I really do not want people to think that I am stupid. I hurt when people don’t like me and I want to always put my best foot forward. I beat myself up when I see a spelling error or mistake in my writing, especially after I have pressed send. I sometimes mumble the word “stupid” to myself when I see such mistakes.
I struggle everyday with the little voices in my head that say negative things. I doubt myself. I say mean things to myself. I am my own worst critic. I see my flaws and sometimes can’t seem to see anything else. Before I get up to speak, my stomach will hurt so bad that I feel like I might puke. I get filled with anxiety that I am not going to do it “right”. I worry that someone will call my bluff and call me a fraud. I sometimes wonder why my husband loves me as much as he does. I feel like I could be more and that I am not “doing enough.”
Then, at some point, when I become aware of the voices… I breathe!
I am sharing this because my insecurities are a very real part of me. It is a very loud, bossy, intrusive part that wants to take control but I know that it isn’t all of me. I thought that as I got older I would feel less insecure, but the truth is, I feel more insecure. I am knocking on 40 and, while I am exciting about life, I am becoming aware of the fact that I am aging. What does that mean? I have children. How will that go? Life is bigger and more and so are the insecurities I get to play with.
When speaking, one of my favorite parts of my presentation is when I ask for everyone’s attention as I hold my hand to my heart and say, “I, Susan Leahy, am an insecure person.” I love the reaction and energy that this statement creates.
Just owning my insecurity creates a bond in the room. It is as if we can all sit in the room being a little more authentic. Everyone has worries, fears, doubts and insecurities. Being, feeling, and having insecurities is a very natural part of being human.
I think it is so easy to look at other people and think that they are not plagued with the same type of self-doubt that you are. To be insecure is to be human. It is a part of our design. I think our human insecurities are anchored in our mortality. No one wants to die but we are all going to. Our mortality creates such a unique context for our daily life.
Playing with my insecurities, worries, fears, and doubts has become a real job for me. I am a dedicated employee finding ways to sooth the negative self-talk. Mantras, quotes, feel good, prayer, and meditation are just a few of the rituals that I use to combat the chatter.
I feel like this is the good work! The real work. I ultimately believe that I deserve to feel good! Feeling insecure doesn’t feel good and so how do I support myself when I am being human, feeling insecure? My mind got me into this pit and it is my mind that has to get me out!
These negative and insecure thoughts are insidious. Bringing them into the light can help us to let them go and move on. We don’t need to pretend that we are not insecure. Pretending only makes the insecurities scream louder from under the surface, and pretending keeps us from creating real connection. The 2-step process that I use is:
#1. Own Insecurity
#2. Focus on Connection
If we first own the insecurity and then focus on what we want to feel, or think, or how we want to connect, then we can move on with less resistance. Let me give you a great example. In relationships, many of our fights are rooted in our personal insecurities.
Specifically speaking, with my husband Jared, I am always worried he is judging me. Now hear how tricky this is. He is judging me. My insecurity makes it sound like he is doing something to me. But the entire feeling is rooted in my own insecurity of being judged.
Step #1 is to own when I am worried that he is judging me and step #2 is to focus on the connection.
Your insecurities will provoke you to become defensive, blame others, point out past examples of, isolate, and remove yourself from the relationship. None of these behaviors help you to connect. Own what you are feeling, and then focus on the connection because connection is the priority, not your indulging the insecurity.
We all have insecurities! My goal is to play with my insecurities instead of letting them play me.