4 Ways to Turn Your Insecurities into InspirationBy Matt Alesevich
Insecurity. The very mention of the word makes our bodies constrict in self-defense.
When asked about our insecurities or inner secrets by a new friend or romantic partner, we’re likely to play the part of the loyal gangster in a police interrogation. We pause in feigned thought, reveal trivial, calculated tidbits, and exhale a confidence unique to the sole keeper of a deep secret.
But in the long run, can this type of relief be considered relief at all? Paradoxically, is a refusal to be seen as vulnerable giving us the opposite of strength and control in our lives?
What if we adopted an if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-em approach to our insecurities? It turns out, taking this small yet psychologically revolutionary turn can become a welcome shortcut on the road to emotional health. So if you’re finally willing to make friends with your foes, these four tips can help you discover the security in insecurity.
Share Your Struggles—Even If You Have to Do It Anonymously
According to Brené Brown, University of Houston social work professor and deliverer of one of the most-watched TED Talks (topic: shame), the most powerful words that we can hear during struggle are “me too.”
When we keep our insecurities to ourselves, we don’t give anyone a chance to relate to us and, by default, experience a self-fulfilling prophecy-flavored, assumption-based sense of isolation. When we add our voice to the chorus of me toos, however, we do more than give ourselves a chance to learn from and connect with those who share our struggles. Our mere presence in any support forum, whether anonymously online or in person, helps others realize that hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of others share common struggles previously perceived to be unique and taboo.
Mentor Someone Younger Than You
The earlier we come to our me too moment, the more time we have to accept our insecurities and/or begin the work to improve our conditions. Like physical ailments, the sooner insecurities are acknowledged and dealt with, the less stress they will put on the mind and body in the future.
While we’re much more likely to encounter adults in voluntary support groups, we shouldn’t fail to acknowledge the life stage in which a vast majority of our deepest insecurities were born—childhood. While it takes proactiveness to work with children and teens that share our vulnerabilities and insecurities, the potential life-saving benefits far outweigh any logistical hindrances. In the end, we might even find ourselves as the true beneficiary of the mentoring process.
Realize Bravery Requires Vulnerability
During the 2015 Grammy Awards, an unknown Texas woman, Brooke Axtell, took the worldwide stage in between messages by two of the world’s most recognizable faces—Barack Obama and Katy Perry. In a gripping two-minute spoken word performance, Brooke told an audience of 25 million that she was once in an abusive, life-threatening relationship that filled her with terror and shame. She goes on to credit a domestic violence shelter for saving her life and encourages others in her situation to do the same.
While we’re quick to rightfully credit Brooke and others like her with having tremendous courage, we must also input ourselves in this equation and realize that coming forward with our own insecurities is likely to warrant a similar outpouring of support, inspiration and positive change—quite the opposite of what our neurotic imaginations conjure up.
Find a Creative Medium
Talk to the artists, creators and founders of history’s most inspiring novels and albums; causes and charities, and you’re likely to find vulnerability and, more so, chaos, at the root of their lives’ keystone creations. Instead of denying or suppressing negative emotions, these artists worked with, not against, negativity to bring solace to both themselves and others. For every Frank Sinatra breakup album and existential Emily Dickinson poem, however, there are thousands of everyday people expressing themselves in creative ways they never thought possible had they not been forced to deal with the inexplicable. From traditional outlets like journaling and painting to unconventional endeavors like roller derby and capoeira, our options are as diverse as the struggles that drive us to them.
Whatever their source, physical or emotional; genetic or circumstantial, insecurities of all shapes and sizes live inside every single one of us, and the more energy we spend on trying to evict them, the more emotional real estate we’re actually granting them. While seemingly counter-intuitive, joining the me too movement of proactive acceptance can be the key to turning our scars into stars.
Matt Alesevich is a New York City-based human interest, relationship and travel writer who has been to over 30 countries. Further information about Matt and his work can be found at www.mattalesevich.com.
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