Insecurities. The wheels on the anxiety bus. The engine of self doubt. That little voice that pops up uninvited to ruin your positivity party.
Lets be honest here, we’ve all experienced them in some form, at some point. Some more often than others and some feel it deeper than others.
We can find ourselves questioning ur worth, our talent, our purpose. We can worry about others ‘perceptions’, whether where good looking enough, smart enough or simply ‘enough’. We can find ourselves quick to doubt our value.
Suffering from depression and anxiety in the past, I’m proud to say I’ve got a pretty good handle on the signals and motions to get keep my mind strong and my emotions on track… but I’d by straight up lying if I said that I don’t still get those ‘moments’… the past few years I’ve delved to great depths within myself to understand the triggers, to reprogram how I viewed myself but I’ll never forget the moment I was made aware of how critiqued my self view was…
I’d gone to LA to stay with one of my best friends Nessa (bare in mind at this point I’d only met her 9 months before, so it was a new relationship as we lived other sides of the world both with busy lives!) anyway… One day we decided to take a random trip to Vegas with another girl too, Kamali. Throughout the trip I was in awe at how they held themselves – but at this point I just understood it to be because of how beautiful they were. They were both not only externally beautiful but internally too. They constructed cultured, challenging & interesting intellect alongside humour and an easy going nature.
Kamali would often approach females passing by to let them know how beautiful they were, or how good they looked. It was a behaviour I’d never seen before – they weren’t just compliments for a compliments sake, but genuine, authentic appreciation being shared out loud. Sure enough the love was quickly reciprocated – girls approaching Kamali to share how beautiful she was, how bright her energy shone. Karma showing good intentions work at its finest.
Anyway, the trip was great – thats not the purpose of this post before I digress… so fast forward to us driving back to LA, it’s a stunning drive… clouds floating beneath us, the sun setting behind the mountainous backdrop. We’re having dope conversation whilst listening to the radio, queue J.Cole Love Yours… we’d been fortunate enough to meet him the night before so the girls made a point of me listening to the lyrics. They were deep and they hit me equally as deep – but at the same time a lot didn’t quite make sense to me at this point… but the song leads us to a game. Nessa began the game, she’d ask us a question and we were to say the first thing that came to mind out loud… questions such as ‘What makes you happy?’ ‘Whats your favourite thing?’, light hearted, humorous conversation but before long the questions started to get a little deeper. ‘Whats your best quality?’ she asked… Umm. ‘ What do you like most about yourself?’…Umm. I was stumped. My mind was running up and down corridors trying to find a suitable answer but the reality being all I was finding was everything I disliked about myself. Everything I found a ‘non-quality’. The girls noticed & it was brought to attention. ‘Girl?! You need to put some work in on that. You’re a Queen.’ and that – is the exact moment I realised I needed to reassess my thought process. How on earth had I reached a point I had NOTHING positive to say about myself?! If someone else told me they didn’t see anything good in themselves I’d be heartbroken, so why if I looked internally should it be any different? right… it shouldn’t.
So this was all back in 2016, since then I’ve spent ALOT of time digging deep, finding solitude in isolation, healing from the ache of loneliness and accepting all that I am and all that I’m not. Learning and appreciating all that I bring to the table.
Of course it’s all well and good me telling you the overview of my journey – but that doesn’t translate into how we can all make necessary steps… so, we first need to establish what gets in our way to dealing with insecurities? Because lets be real there are obstacles EVERYWHERE! & how we can overcome them. It’s never a simple road to empowerment, I mean why would it be?
1.Old Wounds. Many of us have experienced different levels of criticism over our lives, and we’ve all reacted/responded in our own ways. People often manifest criticism in others purely as a reflection of their own pain & insecurities, but until and unless we truly understand that, they often feel like stab wounds which even when apparently healed, leave scars. If your insecurities have been influenced by someone criticising you, recognise this. Then forgive them. Remind yourself that they were driven by their own insecurities & likely struggling with their own demons – whether that be consciously or subconsciously. Bottom line is we all fuck up, we’re all imperfect. They may have wronged you, but you can understand & accept it – that’s in your control and thats in your power. Forgive them even if not for their sake but for your own. Know that you don’t deserve to hold onto that pain & resentment – so don’t
2. Low self value. When growing up with criticism it easily becomes second nature to criticize yourself. We live in a society where it’s engrained in our subconscious that we need to be a victim in order for approval, ashamed to be proud of all we are. We can be the most beautiful, intelligent, accomplished of people, but many of us continue to have image of self as ugly, incompetent or unfulfilled. Always looking for areas that could and ‘should’ be better, paying out small fortunes to fulfil those ‘lacking’ areas whether it be through surgery, qualifications or constantly seeking to fill an emptiness through alternative measures – be that the gym, alcohol, food or sex. So how can we over come this? We reprogram.
We take a moment to pause and partake in a self-assessment. Acknowledging the parts of ourselves, both externally and internally, that we don’t think of fondly. Then look at those imperfect parts of you as if they are those of a friend… Think about how you’d treat this ‘imperfect’ friend, with unconditional love right? and provide yourself with that same gift. Bestow yourself with assurance, compassion, acceptance. Embrace all the parts of you, and see the beauty in them. They are what make you you, and they are imperfectly PERFECT.
3. Seal of approval. When someone gives us a form of approval, how great it feels! We are provided with an assurance that we are worthy, that we are deemed beautiful. But what happens when that approval isn’t given? or when we need more? Anxiety begins to creeps in in the form of fear. Fear that maybe we are no longer worthy, we are no longer deemed beautiful. We find ourselves stuck in the ‘upside down’ looking for that constant approval from others. We quickly find ourselves stuck in a cycle of overanalysing everything that others say and do, both in real life and on social media – reflecting their actions back on our own worth.
The most important way to stop devaluing your worth is to start by giving yourself permission to love and approve of yourself as you are right now. Take away the power of others to approve you by appropriating that power for yourself. Linking back to obstacle number two… Your worth as a person is who you are inside, regardless of your beauty, deemed intelligence or accomplishments.
The future is uncertain, it’s inevitable that your circumstances will continue to change, but that does not correlate with your value. Basing your worth on something external to yourself is setting yourself up for failure. Even if you do achieve what you want, your value is not dependent on that – you’ll feel inadequate again when your circumstances change. Change is an inevitable part of life but a healthy self-approval survives change.
Now please note… that doesn’t mean we don’t want that connection & love with others, but we can love others and be loved whilst also being self-approved. So do yourself a favour & go certify yourself. Don’t wait on anyone to give you that blue tick.
4. Broken trust. Fact is, we’ve all had our ‘trust’ broken. Many of us have experienced feeling used, humiliated or betrayed. Society conditions us not to trust others, to be a lone wolf and expect the worst from others to avoid disappointment – yet regardless each time it happens we feel a sense of abandonment or rejection. But this is a lesson I’ve learnt and embraced. A lesson I will continue to learn and embrace…Start by developing a trust in yourself, in your intentions. Extend that into a trust in the moment – knowing that everything happens how it should, when it should. Switch that feeling of rejection to acceptance. Knowing that your life is diverting to your correct path. That you are being shown someones true colours for a reason, that you are learning a lesson for a reason, that you are going through struggle to grow.
5.Comparison thief. Im going to touch on this obstacle by highlighting our dependancy on social media. How often do we all read articles that social media is damaging our self-esteem, how it’s manipulating our ideals… but are we really going to give social media that kind of authority? or do we need to take moment to look internally at how we allow ourselves to compare and self sabotage.
We’ve all done it. We compare ourselves to the hot people we see on Instagram, the relationships, the flashy lifestyles. We compare ourselves with the sexy people in movies, TV & gracing our magazines. But what we fail to remember is these images are meant to sell us, as with all society driven insecurities – it’s the way they market their solutions, by making us feel inferior. So it’s time we stopped blaming, stopped playing victim. Take some responsibility of what we choose to look at and how we choose to perceive it.
PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING! Take the amount of time you praise and look up to others, to praise and look up to yourself. Give that inner child the love it deserves, thank your body for all the functions it provides you and you take for granted, appreciate your mind for it’s ability to provide you with an infinite choice of manifestations but most of all be grateful for ALL of you. You deserve it & you are worth it. No-one needs to tell you that, you just need to remind YOU of that.
Love & light, from your fellow occasionally anxious warrior.
Caveat : this reprogramming takes work. There is no quick fix. In fact, there is NO sure fix. But there are ways to manage the thoughts you choose to focus on vs thoughts you choose to dismiss.