I was talking to a friend the other day and one of the things we were discussing was insecurities. We all have them. Some of them are stronger and seem to take over more than others. I think even if you’re a confident person and love yourself or love so many things about yourself there are still some things you will struggle with. I am currently reading a devotional called 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs and one of the things I appreciate the most about this devotional is how it’s bringing things to light within me that I need to address. Things that I never would have thought to address or that I have shoved under the rug and marked “Do not disturb.” It’s so hard to move past certain feelings or habits if we don’t actually confront those feelings. It’s also important to learn where those feelings may stem from. I’m learning that the more I sit with myself and my feelings; the more self aware I am the more change starts to happen in my mind and in my heart.
So let’s talk about insecurities. I’ve got a few. One being my weight (all the women say Amen LOL!). I know that it’s all about how I feel about myself but also how I allow outside pressures make me feel that I should look or be a certain way. Particularly after having babies, it can be difficult to feel comfortable in your skin and to learn to love your new body. My weight over the last few years has fluctuated but more recently it has bothered me more and more. I struggle with being consistent. It takes me a while to work up to that place where I am working out regularly and eating better. I can start and do well for a week or two and then I’ll get discouraged and stop. I’m self motivated to do a lot of other things but working out is not one of them. I do not enjoy it. Now before I got married and before I had my son I did enjoy it. I worked out 5 days a week for about an hour a day. I did Zumba combined with toning and strength training. I love Zumba but I just can’t get back into it due to some severe leg pain afterwards that my doctor cannot figure out.
What I’ve realized about this particular insecurity is it stems from two things: one, wanting to love the way I look and two, the fear of my husband not loving the way that I look. I’m sure there are some of us that can think back to a time where we were in shape, super skinny and could eat anything we wanted and still look amazing. I allow the fact that I was smaller when I got married make me feel like I am now unattractive to my husband. He has not said or done anything to make me feel that way. He actually responds the opposite of how I feel about myself. He is very encouraging, supportive and demonstrative in his attraction to me. But he’s also a fitness buff! He does cross fit 5-6 times a week and looks amazing. So I’ll be honest and say I’m intimidated by that. I do not want to be his overweight spouse. But in all of this I am realizing it is not his responsibility to change how I feel or see myself. He loves and cares for me but if I want better for myself, if I want to feel better in my skin then that’s for me to work out. Literally. I am grateful to how he cares for me. Sometimes it’s so hard for us to see ourselves how others see us.
Another insecurity I battle with is the need to have validation in my relationships. This is one that I am working on all of the time. I am constantly working through my thoughts and feelings because I don’t want to need validation. What I mean by this is there are certain relationships that with the slightest change in the person’s actions it causes me to have these thoughts of worry and wondering. “Are they going to walk away from me?” “Have I upset them or disappointed them somehow?” While their actions may have nothing to do with me personally, I still go down this rabbit trail which resolves nothing. I have also learned that even if their actions demonstrate the opposite of my thoughts it’s still hard for me because my love language is words. I actually need the people that I am in relationship with to occasionally say things to me that further confirm that I matter to them. I need friends and family to sometimes actually speak my love language as I am sure others have that same need. It speaks so deeply to my soul when people tell me that they appreciate the role that I play in their lives. I often get caught up in doing and being for other people that sometimes I can feel like an after thought when people don’t take the time to return the same level of care. Once again this is a me thing. I know it is. Does it mean that I still wouldn’t appreciate those I’m in relationship speaking my love language? Of course not, but it does help me to remind myself of the differences that we have. And when all else fails I have to simply rely on their actions and to stop myself from focusing on things that simply aren’t true.
Something big I learned when it comes to dealing with my feelings is actually saying things out loud. We doubt the power in releasing those feelings that we have floating around in our minds. And we shouldn’t just say them out loud to people we love and trust but also to the people in which those insecurities lie. I remember having a conversation with my spiritual mother one day and telling her that I felt stupid or silly when I would text them freaking out about something in the moment and she just made a face at me and said well you shouldn’t. I said “I know but I needed to say it.” I needed to say it because in sharing those feelings that insecurity lost it’s power. It’s like it was instantly squashed in that moment. Talking about what we are feeling and what we are struggling through not only aids in growth, but it also helps us to move past those feelings. Since I released those words to her I don’t have those thoughts anymore. I know the role they play in my life and they do too which means they want to be in that role! Look at that! We forget that the people we are connected to actually want to be connected to us and many of them know our flaws (and some of our insecurities) and graciously love us through them. This demonstrates the love of Jesus as our Father in Heaven does the same thing for us.
Talking about our insecurities may not always be an instant resolution but I do believe it helps. If talking about it seems too hard, and sometimes it will, write those feelings out. The goal is to face those feelings and to learn how to develop a greater self love for yourself. I recognize I am not perfect and never will be. I understand that there will always be things that I may have to work at overcoming. But what gives me great hope and pushes me forward is knowing that I can overcome them. It’s totally possible but it starts with me. It starts with me trusting God and leaning on him for guidance. It also requires me to be more open and honest in my relationships. There are some things that we have to talk through with other people. God gave us each other for connection and relationship. Having the conversation with my friend the other day about my weight was emotional and hard but it was real. It was a needed conversation because it reminded me that I am not the only person with body image issues and pressures. It encouraged me to keep taking one day at a time and then to do something about it. So what insecurities are you dealing with? What feelings are you suppressing or avoiding? I challenge you to really think about them and then do something about it! Talk it out or write it out but don’t let it continue to have power over you. You can do it!