When I was little I would worry about my grades, my future, and my potential to make something out of myself. In college, I had a new set of worries: What did I want to do with my life? Was I growing up to be a woman I could be proud of? And then I got accepted into graduate school. Suddenly, my worries took on a whole new dimension: How was I going to pay for this? Could I afford to have a social life? Then graduation came. I had had almost zero interaction with people in the working- world while I was a student. This translated into zero networking opportunities. After months of trying to find a job, I was broke. I felt lost and alone, with no clue where my life was going. This is probably the most insecure I have been. But these types of struggles are not unique to me. Everyone will struggle with insecurity at some point in their life for one reason or another. What you do with your insecurity is very important.
Insecurity is a human thing. What you do with it determines what it does to you.
Here are a few things that have helped me over the years:
YOU ARE ENOUGH
The next time you are stopped in your tracks because you are feeling inadequate, do yourself a favor. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “You are ENOUGH!” Because there is something special about you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are different and that is a good thing. No one else can be you. We all have something to bring to the table. Trust me, the sooner you do that thing you are afraid to try, the sooner you discover your potential.
FOLLOW YOUR DREAM NOT SOMEONE ELSE’S
I have not always chased my own dream. There was a time in my life where I wanted badly to be a doctor. As I got older, I realized that my main motivation was to prove a point mostly to the people in my life who didn’t have high expectations for me. Having been underestimated my whole life, I chose what, in my estimation, was the hardest profession to achieve. Stupid idea, yeah I know. But when you are the underdog, your life can easily turn into a challenge to prove to others that you can do what they think you cant. Thankfully I changed my thinking before it was too late. So follow YOUR dream and do it for YOU and nobody else. What is the point in chasing something that will not truly make you happy in the end?
BE CAREFUL WITH WHAT PEOPLE SAY
The reality is that people will give their opinion whether you ask for it or not. Be prepared to not always like what they have to say. I just can’t with some people. So for example, you may be happily chugging along in a relationship ( Your perfect blissful relationship). Then along comes “Miss Suzy” and asks you why your man doesn’t (insert whatever nosy -none- of- her-business comment she makes here). Now all of a sudden, you are looking at your man sideways like “Miss Suzy said”… Meanwhile, Miss Suzy is over in her corner looking at you wishing she had what you have. Listen, I’m not saying don’t listen to folks around you. There is a lot to be learned from folks that are wiser and more experienced than you. However, be careful what you choose to listen to. People often mean well (at least I’d like to think so) but, don’t just follow blindly. Try to come to your own conclusions.
LIFE IS NOT A RACE
I wish I could tell a younger me that “You don’t have to be in a hurry to get to the end honey.” Yes we live in a world that is run by instant gratification; a sort of “drive-through” life. It seems like people are always coming up with ideas to get what we want faster. But you need to pace yourself. Next time you find yourself feeling rushed and stressed about where you are in life, remember that you will get to where you want to be in time. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE
It’s such a simple concept but it’s rather difficult to follow. Remember how I told you that life is not a race? Please do not look at other people and use that to judge where you are. It is a terrible idea which often results in discontent in your own life. So someone graduated before you. They are married and you are not. They have children and you dont. You just found out that your coworker makes more money than you( they just joined last week and you have been there for 10 years!). See where I am going with this? Comparing yourself to others never ends well. I’m not saying don’t take inspiration from people around you. But just don’t let it handicap you.
If there is one thing I want you to take away from this, it is this : Insecurity is not permanent. It will pass. Be kind to yourself.
Pictures by @lcowart