Have you ever been on Cloud 9, Crushing It, In The Flow ... whatever you want to call “just doing yo’ thang” and someone (or something) shows up and pushes THAT button.
Suddenly, you’re spinning out into ALL your worst fears and insecurities?
Sometimes they don’t even have to say anything, they just give you that look, or even worse, they don’t respond at all?
The other day I was in a branding photo shoot - lets just say, this experience had me feeling painfully insecure!
I tried to overcome the overwhelm, stay up, and find the elements of the day I enjoyed by focusing on the AH!mazing photographer, or how proud I was to get my business to a place where I could create this experience.
Between you and me, I missed that day of school where we started taking pictures of every single moment in our lives.
I never selfie, it just … doesn’t occur to me to take a picture when I am truly immersed in an experience. This leaves me lacking when it comes to my website, social media, and more, so I thought, "ok Boss, let’s do this!"
Wendy Yalom and I dreamed up an amazing shoot. I stretched myself to the MAX. I am SO much more comfortable sitting behind a computer, helping business owners build income!
We began our adventure: multiple locations, outfit changes, and no adult beverages until later - oh my! I headed to my favorite local businesses, we went into downtown and took some urban shots, I pulled out some of my workshop materials and group trainings and used those documents as more fodder for our shoot (I am totally ruining any smoke and mirrors here).
During one shot, I checked my email - I need to look like I am working … right?!? But when I checked my email, I saw a brand new message from an owner of one of the shops we had just used as a location. I’ll leave the details out, but she totally shut me down and accused me of something I did not do.
I almost burst into tears. I went from Bad Ass Boss to shocked and tearful Poor Me victim. It was, well .. my insecurities exploded, and quickly.
However, one line said owner used, “I am sure you understand …” shook me back into my confident, zero-fucks mindset.
Nope. I don’t understand.
I pride myself on community, supporting small business, and building a prosperous ecosystem for all - so no, this accusation and refusal were not something I understood. Classic value conflict.
Within what felt like years, but was actually seconds, I smiled and felt joyful - we have a simple misunderstanding. I can’t work with every business owner. My values keep me in line.
I don’t believe in competition, I believe in a challenge!
I am not insecure, I am empowered.
I am not confrontational, I am curious.
So when someone throws their shit at me, sure … it can be a shock, but it only means what I attribute to the interaction, based on my values - which inform my interpretations.
I chose "misunderstanding," because I did not share her values, and I don’t have to!
What Is An Insecurity?
This is a big question. An insecurity is that situation, or comment, or person who pushes us into that incredibly uncomfortable victim space, no matter where you were the moment before.
This might be due to a past experience, an assumption, an interpretation, or an anxiety, and you are brutally reminded of these thoughts and feelings whenever THAT button is pushed.
It can be momentary, or on-going, but it often feels totally out of your control.
That said, as soon as you have awareness around experiencing this insecurity, you create the space to make a choice - do you react and compound your feelings? Or, do you get curious about why these feelings appeared, and purposefully choose your next move?
Why Do I Feel Insecure?
Typically, we feel insecure because we experience a sudden jolt that reminds of us of that awful / humiliating / painful experience OR because we have a value conflict.
Our brain goes into fight or flight response, and based on our interpretation of the event, we either react and go into hardcore defense, or we retreat, escape into “this is all my fault” catastrophizing, and all the other nasty things we tell ourselves when we can’t and won’t deal.
Firstly, this is totally normal. Fear bypasses our emotional response system in our brain, so a stressful experience pushes your insecurity button, and hard.
We typically react to stress with a tried and tested pattern that protects us, and helps us feel safe, secure, and gets us back in control fast.
Once we get intimately familiar with this pattern, we can start to “interrupt" it and change our insecure reaction.
How To Get Over An Insecurity
Again, this pattern - this fear - this button, pushes you into safety. This insecurity keeps you small and in a very familiar place. When you start to grow, and stretch, and bravely face the unknown, this insecurity - this outdated safety pattern - feels very uncomfortable and constricting.
The first step is identifying this old voice.
How? When you hear, "STOP! Run! Hide!" you know you're tuning into a protective pattern. Some popular protective patterns sound like,
This is your fault.
You’re too stupid.
You’re too old.
You’re too fat.
You’re not good enough.
Ugh, even typing those sentences makes me feel all yuck.
The second step is recognizing it’s ok that this is your initial reaction!
Of course you want to feel safe and secure, you know what this smaller, safer space looks like, hence the reactive and automatic pattern.
When you can truly accept this messaging and behavior was once helpful, but is not allowing you to feel good, be honest, or recognize the growth that is occurring, you can let that insecurity go … or at the very least, remind your fear that you’re good - you got this - you can handle whatever may come of this situation, and you’re ready for the next experience.
**** Editors note (I wish I had an editor), some of these fears / buttons / messages may never go away. I don’t pretend that we can release all the fears and life becomes this glorious stage for your greatest acts, every night, including matinees.
BUT you will strengthen your “No Thanks, I Got This” muscle. Practice makes perfect.
I will say that with practice, you may find yourself bravely leaping into the unknown, embracing all the terrifying buttons at some point and suddenly think I FUCKING GOT THIS before the awareness implodes on itself and you join us back on earth. But savor that moment too.
When you conquer your fears, crush your anxiety, and get over your insecurity - I joke, this is hyperbolic at best, lets befriend and accept our insecurities for what they are, a protective parent who doesn’t want us to get a boo boo - you can interrupt your protective patterns.
The third step is to find a better pattern.
I know, sounds simple, but this can take a very committed practice. The closer you get to releasing these fears, the deeper they tend to dig their claws in, so a prepared practice is very helpful.
Make a tool to use when your button gets pushed.
These are my favorite tools - and I have multiple tools, for each button.
Positive Affirmations (Free Option). You can write and stick up post-it notes all over your space as visual cues, put these on your home screen on your phone, journal these statements in the morning AND at night, etc. You need to literally re-write and re-program your brain anytime this button gets pushed to say a different message. Something like, “YOU GOT THIS AND YOU CAN HANDLE WHATEVER COMES YOUR WAY BECAUSE YOU ARE A BAD ASS.”
Power Bling (Choose Your Budget). Whatever tickles your pickle, a ring, a necklace or mala, a bracelet - any visual cue that reminds you, “oh yeah, I’ve heard this before - but my magical talisman of reminder says, "YOU GOT THIS …!”
Tattoo (If You’re Anything Like Me). Yup, this needs no explanation. But use that annoying pain as a cathartic release of That Which Has Held You Back (note: I am not suggesting you get some wanky YOU GOT THIS tattoo - get some proper art as a reminder, you are fucking powerful).
Actual Tool (If you're not ready to permanently remind yourself of your new found strength). Carry around a hammer, a crystal, something you found at the top of the last mountain you climbed, whatever reminds you of your bad assery. Carry this around everywhere to say, "oh yeah, I GOT THIS!"
This is actually the most challenging step - how will you hold yourself accountable to USE this tool when you get freaked out? Seriously, make an escape plan ...
When your boss says …
When your mom says …
When your older sister …
When your adoring partner …
Focus on the end result. Imagine how it will feel when you boldly and effortlessly step into this TOTALLY secure space. What if you could simply DECIDE to face this fear, what might happen in your life? How would that feel?
When you can call on that feeling - and I mean, literally start to physically feel that confidence - calm - joy - trust - security - strength - in your body, you will be unfuckwithable and your insecurities will be like “bbbyyyyeeeeeeeee.”