I had a really good conversation today (over text message–aren’t we sooo 2011?) with a girlfriend of mine who has been a great support for me over the last few years and someone who knows all of my “stuff”. We were chatting about a recent incident I experienced when my insecurity around a specific situation completely hijacked my ability to be rational and I turned into a crazy person. Ok, not crazy crazy, but definitely lost my cool :) I woke up the next morning feeling embarrassed, but also re-motivated to investigate that insecurity and get to the bottom of it.
As most of you know, I am a huge believer in introspection (and that is why we do these mind-body posts on Fridays!) as it applies to body change, competition and life in general. In fact, one of JillFit’s Core Values is Introspection, because we believe “the outside begins on the inside.” So getting to the bottom of my dysfunction is important to me. Not just to pretend to know what I am talking about (I don’t!), but because when I operate from a place of insecurity, it feels awful. It freezes me in place. I feel as though “life is happening to me” and there’s nothing I can do about it. Understanding the “why” behind when at certain times I am insecure, what incidents specifically bring it up and being aware of my triggers is an important step in regaining a sense of empowerment. And when I am able to catch myself in the act, the turn-around is now much faster.
Insecurities can manifest in many different ways, but in general, insecurities can really only come from a few places–usually having to do with a feeling of inadequacy–not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not rich enough, not successful enough, not a good enough guy/gal, etc. Whatever it is…usually some variation of this. Funny that we set ourselves up to feel inadequate the minute we expect to be “this weight” or have “this house or car” or make “this amount of money” or have “this partner/spouse/child/family/life/job” or even simply comparing ourselves to others–the discrepancy between where we *think* we should be and where we actually are can many times lead to feelings of inadequacy/insecurity. And we often do it to ourselves!
Wanna know my biggest insecurity?
Bout to get nice and raw with you guys……………………my major insecurity (or “theme” as my coach calls it) is that all of my life, on a subconscious level (until about 6 months ago) I have thought myself unlovable. Mind you, I didn’t understand this about myself or put it into words until very recently but when I thought back on my choices about doing certain things over the years, there was always the theme of needing to be more, prove myself more or do something more in order to earn love. It was a pressure I put on myself because I felt that in order to be loved I had to be perfect or not mess up or make so-and-s0 proud of me. I think many people can relate to this–feeling as if there is a certain status you need to attain first, and then who couldn’t love you? Feels silly when I write it out like that, and obviously embarrassing, but I had come to the honest realization that because on some level I felt unlovable, I was doing everything in my power to garner love in other ways–one of which was having a perfect physique.
I have written many times about the quest for the perfect body, and how many times it can make us miserable, considering “the perfect body” could not be a more subjective description and for many, even when they have it, they can’t see it or enjoy it because the insecurities persist–there isn’t enough affirmation in the world for the person whose insecurities hijack them. Think back to the time you were in the best shape of your life–where you satisfied then? Probably not because there was always something that could be tighter, more toned, thinner, etc.
For me, after coming to my “unlovable” conclusion, I laughed out loud because OF COURSE I had been interested in figure competitions and fitness modeling!!? Who couldn’t love someone with the perfect body?? A model?? Yes, of course! Sign me up! lol :) But honestly, for me, I can see so clearly now that much of what I was doing on the outside was to cover up the feelings of inadequacy on the inside. Of course. And of course I still love modeling now and may compete again someday. But if I do, it will be for me, and not to prove anything. It will be something I do because it’s fun or a great personal challenge, but not because being lean or in a magazine garners love points.
Using these “outside-myself” tools to help make up for feelings of unlovable-ness (a real word or no?) is a game I can never win, because when I am looking for any affirmation outside myself in order to feel fulfilled, I can never get it. My husband tells me he loves me, I can’t hear it because I already made up my mind that I am unlovable. I win a figure competition, it doesn’t mean anything because I already decided I am inadequate. I get praise for my work, I can’t enjoy it because I think people are saying it to be nice. Whatever it is…if I remain in my place of insecurity and I continue to believe my own story of being unlovable, then what use is it to look for love outside myself when I literally cannot hear it? In fact, I already made up my mind that it won’t be enough. It is only when I consciously decide to change my story, to override my old programming and tune out my inner dialogue that I can learn to feel whole right now, in this moment and with no need for outside affection to convince me of it (because that really doesn’t work anyway). And doesn’t that make the “I love yous” and the competition wins and the genuine praise for my work even sweeter? I can now hear it, so it is that much more special.
So, I know (once again lol) I am getting a little woo-woo on you guys, a little “out there,” but for those of you that can relate and have your own insecurities you are dealing with, I think this is a worth-while message. The first piece of the puzzle is reaching down into that dark place inside yourself and uncovering the root of that inadequacy that you may feel. If you don’t find one, then that’s just plain awesome and hopefully you will comment on this blog so we can learn from you! :) BUT, once you find that one thing, that one inadequacy that has rooted and then generated certain behaviors, thoughts, feelings, responses, etc, the next step is learning to deal with it. This piece is infinitely harder and really takes practice, awareness and then more and more practice. Like I said earlier, “catching” yourself in the act of insecurity is a good first step (even if you are not in the right mindset to examine it at that moment!) and the more you do it, the more you can nail down the source and then turn it around faster. I am no master but I find that practice makes progress.
In the end, it is nearly impossible to get this 100% of the time, and it really is a daily practice. You can’t really just get it and be good to go. To sum it up, I will use a comment my mother-in-law said to me earlier today, “It takes time for you to learn you don’t have all your shit together and that’s just fine.” Yes, I agree. You have all the time in the world, just start with an open mind :)
QUICKIE NOTE: Just to be clear, insecurities are normal, human stuff. We all have them. If you think you don’t, you are one in a 100 million because they are there, and can take many different forms: shyness, sensitivity, defensiveness, jealousy, envy, ego, deflection, argumentativeness, unsureness, blame, victimhood, judgment, martyrdom, etc. I am in no way saying anyone should be different, change or do anything–this post is simply my insight into my own journey with my own insecurities and what I have learned about dealing with them. There is no judgment here, just thoughts. And you know I think you’re perfect anyway :) The problem often is that YOU don’t think you’re perfect, which, of course, is the whole reason insecurities exist :) ox Jill
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