Insecurity, I’ve come to realize, is just something I will always battle. The voice in my head that tells me to back down or choose fear is usually louder than the one that says I have something to be confident about. I’m grateful to have many readers who reach out and say that they can relate to me on this; although I’m sad that so many of us deal with it.
But an encouraging note – lately I am having more victories against insecurity, which is amazing. In fact, I almost don’t want to share it and face any possible backsliding. Like anything in life that takes work, there are ups and downs. Next week it could be totally different.
Anyway, in an effort to both help myself recognize what works, and to help anyone else out there who might be struggling, here are some changes I am making that are helping me have victories.
1. Stop using absolutes about yourself.
In relationships, many say you shouldn’t use absolutes in your conversations, and especially your fights. Things like, “you never help me anymore” or “you’re the worst listener”. It’s because absolute statements are rarely true, and even if they are, it’s kind of hard to prove.
Do you ever notice that you can ignore that advice about yourself? A few months ago, I shared about one of the extreme lies I can believe about myself. Here are some other ones: I’m the worst mother ever. I’m always the one left out. I will never change. When it comes to tackling insecurity, start here, with the biggest, baddest lies. Combat them by grounding yourself in reality – it is hardly likely that those things are true. Compliment those realizations with examples of times that you proved those things untrue.
2. Speak affirmations to yourself, like you might to someone else.
It sounds perfectly normal to say to someone, “you’re doing a great job. Don’t give up! Look how far you’ve come.” Then it can seem rather hokey to say those same things to yourself. But the mind is a powerful place. If it can believe terrible things about yourself, things that often aren’t true, it can also be trained to believe the good things.
They may not even necessarily be compliments. Some of the affirmations I say to myself recently are as simple as, “you belong here as much as anyone else” and “your opinion counts.” As small and obvious as those statements might be, they are helpful in shaping how I view the situation.
3. Give yourself permission.
Brené Brown talks about this in her book, Braving the Wilderness. She mentions a time when she wrote a permission slip for her daughter (something to do with school), and realized she could do the same thing for herself – literally writing herself a permission slip to be confident, or whatever the situation is.
I love that advice. Often I’m just waiting for someone to tell me that my actions, my opinions, or even my feelings are okay. In fact, I believe strongly in telling others that their feelings are valid – but I don’t do that for myself. I’m starting to say, and even want to get to place where I write down, like Brené, “permission slips” to embrace things that I do. Consider permission like, “it’s okay to be sad,” “give it a try,” or “go ahead and say what you’re thinking.”
Anything you notice about these steps? They’re often things we do when we approach other people. But we treat ourselves like the exception to the rules. Consider how you are worthy of permission and affirmation like anyone else.
Finally, take it one minute, one step, one deep breath at a time. As many times as I have tried to fight insecurity, I can tell you that change doesn’t happen overnight. But every step forward is a victory, even if you do go backwards a bit, too.
What can you relate to in these steps? What helps you fight insecurity?
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