I've been acquainted with insecurities for most of my life. Haven't we all? I mean let's face it, it's the insecure times that we tend to remember the most. Those times when I am most afraid or least confident tend to stick in my memory with unmitigated clarity. Like when the popular boy I liked in 5th grade broke up with me via a friend after only 'going with me' for one school day. He didn't even give me the pleasure of going home to say I had a boyfriend. I remember that. I remember it so well that I can tell you how I felt, where I was standing, what I was wearing and which friend of his delivered the news. One three second discussion branded on my memory with absolute insecure clarity. But for the life of me I can't remember the long division I learned in 5th grade and I promise I spent more than one day being exposed to those concepts. We remember the pain produced by feeling insecure. Moving through those awkward and painful times is how we grow. Or we avoid those awkward and painful times and stop growing. Insecurities direct our path more than we would like to think. For example I could have believed many different messages about that 5th grade encounter. Here are a few of the options:
1. "I must not be pretty enough."
2. "I must not be smart enough."
3. "I must not be popular enough."
4. "Oh well, no big deal."
5. "I can like somebody else."
6. "His loss."
Fast forward into adulthood. The beliefs you chose from the painful moments you experienced previously, dictate the path your life takes now. If you believe that the interactions you had with others are somehow a statement of your worth or your value then you have likely experienced some pain. What could have been written off as a 5th grade boy being a 5th grade boy instead became "I'm not enough to be loved, wanted or accepted". Add a few more encounters that support that idea through the years and before you know it there is a deep rooted belief that "I'm not enough". Perhaps it wasn't a stupid 5th grade boy but a parent or spouse who sent those messages. People who had the "title" to love and respect you but they didn't. Because they had the "title" we believed them. Never mind that there might have been scads of evidence to the contrary! We believe the negative more easily. Mostly because it produces stronger feelings and therefore we think it must be true.
There is a 5 year old, an 8 year old, a 5th grader, a high school junior, a 22 year old, etc… in all of us. And unless we go back as an adult and help them edit the lessons they received then to some degree their beliefs dictate our decisions today. Let's be clear: your insecurities affect ALL of your relationships. They aren't just your insecurities. They are an ingredient to every relationship you are in. They are keeping you from being the you that you were meant to be. They are keeping you from making friends and keeping friends. They are keeping you from involving your kids in things because you don't want to feel awkward among the other parents. They are keeping you from being honest in your marriage because you are afraid of the reaction. They are keeping your friendships from deepening because you feel like they are more "enough" than you are. They are keeping you from trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, talking to a stranger or mending a past hurt with somebody. They are keeping you from living, exploring and loving yourself because you are believing a message that you misinterpreted from encounters with other fallible, broken, hurting people.
Misinterpreted? Yes, you read it correctly. Misinterpreted! If you have walked away from any relationship, circumstance or encounter believing that you weren't enough then you got the WRONG message. It isn't true. That belief is not accurate. It's false. Wrong. Not correct. And most of us move forward as though it were absolute truth. Well, let me say it again – it isn't! I checked the owners manual for all of us. Here is the truth: You are a perfectly imperfect human being who is loved, loveable, strong, gifted, unique, precious, growing, changing, miracle of existence! In fact The One who created you goes on and on about your value. He valued you so much that He gave His own son to put an exclamation point at the end of his defintion of you. A defintion that includes words like cherished, honorable, precious, forgiven, free, adopted, redeemed, complete, LOVED. Carry that belief into your next relationship encounter and see if you get a better result!
Here is what I have learned about insecurities:
1. We are all given the opportunity to have them.
2. We are all given the opportunity to face them.
3. They are always based on a lie.
4. They can be crippling if we let them.
5. They can be opportunities for growth, change and strength.
6. Facing them can be difficult and takes work.
7. Not letting them win feels AMAZING!!
Anybody up for some work?