Confession time: I’m totally insecure.
If I have a conversation with you, you can bet that, ten minutes after I walk away, I’m kicking myself for something I said and wondering if I should call to ask if I’ve offended you.
I can wring my hands in anxiety years later when a mistake I made in the past comes to mind.
I worry about what people think of me.
I worry about unintentionally sounding rude or people misunderstanding what I’m trying to say.
I kick myself for talking too much/filling air space/not knowing how to end a conversation.
I question daily whether I should be putting myself out there in the blogosphere. I worry about people saying unkind things or that my openness will negatively affect my family.
I’m hesitant to jump in to action on the spot if I’m not directly asked in fear that it would be perceived as inappropriate, or as if I’m trying to control a situation.
I always wonder what people say when I turn and walk away…Actually, I don’t want to know.
Why am I an open book about this? I don’t need to be consoled. I don’t need a pep talk. Honestly, I’ve come a very long way in this area, but I suspect that I will always have the occasional doubts. I’m an open book about it because I know that a lot of you feel the same way. If you put your own examples down on paper, I bet I would look at you and say, “Oh yeah, add that to my list too!”
Most of us, whether we realize it or not, suffer from insecurity.
The tough guy at the gym.
The friend with the perfect marriage, perfect kids and a big fat paycheck.
The Pinterest perfect mom.
People who have hurt you.
If you want to explain the behavior of a person who is constantly under your skin. You might accurately chalk it up to insecurity. People can act in ways that seem…well…totally obnoxious, to overcompensate for feelings of inadequacy.
There are some steps that I’ve taken over the years to tame the insecurity dragon and I have to say, it’s made ALL the difference. It is my hope that you too might not only have peace in your own life, but that you would also give a little grace to someone else when you recognize that their less-than-desirable behavior just might be due to intense feelings of self-doubt.
4 Helpful Ways to Tame the Dragon of Insecurity
Remind yourself that most people are more concerned about how they are being perceived than about analyzing your behavior.
As a result of going back and checking to make sure I didn’t offend someone approximately one million times in my life – and having every response sound something like: “I didn’t think anything of it.” or “I knew what you meant and was totally not offended,” I have come to the conclusion that I’m hyper self aware and way too focused on how people perceive me. In a normal conversation, others don’t usually twist your words around in their heads, obsess over them, and panic like you do.
Question your motives.
When I leave a conversation kicking myself for something I said, I ask myself: Was I trying to be caring? Show interest? Encourage? If your motives are pure, then mostly likely people who know you will receive what you’ve said as positive.
Believe the best before assuming the worst.
This has literally changed the way I perceive so many situations. Maybe someone doesn’t respond to a text, phone call, email, or request as quickly as you hoped. Do you jump to thinking that person must be angry, doesn’t want help you out, or hates everything about you? (Hey – the mind can be a slippery slope.)
Maybe you read too much into what people say:
Is he offering to help me because he thinks I can’t do it?
In reality, that person might just want to help lighten your load.
Why isn’t she offering to help with this project?
Maybe that pour soul is totally overwhelmed. Maybe she’s insecure about her own performance. Maybe finances are tight and she just can’t do it.
If you take anything away from this post please remember this. Believe the best before you assume the worst about people. Not only will this give you some freedom from insecurity, but it will allow you to better understand others. It will remind you that most of us are trying to do the right thing.
Think before you speak or type.
I can be compulsive. I feel like every text needs an immediate response. Every question needs an immediate answer. Every favor-request needs a yes. It’s exhausting and stressful. Now I usually purposefully wait. I’ll read my replies to texts to my husband to make sure they sound how I intend them to sound. I’ll think about how best to respond instead of trying to come up with an immediate answer to things. This takes a lot of practice for me because it’s not how I’m naturally wired. It has, however, helped because I’m usually more confident about my replies after I’ve processed for a little while.
Accept that some people aren’t going to like you, and that’s okay.
Let’s be real. This one stinks. The truth of the matter is this: Sometimes people won’t like what you have to say, what you stand for, what you look like, or who you are in general. You don’t have to hate those people, but you can’t make them like you. They are allowed not to. You can still treat them with respect. Some personalities don’t work together and that’s just life. Once you can really learn to be okay with that fact, as long as you’re doing your best to show love and kindness, those people are free to not fancy your company. It has ZERO impact on your value as a human being on this earth. Now that’s freeing.
Practicing these ideas has helped me immensely. I love people. I want those around me to feel encouraged after spending time with me. Some do, I’m sure. And some don’t. Learning to think rationally and respond appropriately to our own humanness can be hard, but realizing that most of can relate to feelings of insecurity helps.
I leave you with this. You should feel secure because your value is immeasurable. I am confident that you, like me, were created for a purpose by the God of the universe. When you are stuck in a cycle of insecurity, remind yourself that you are worthy because He says you are. Others do not have permission to assign your value.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.