I have a love-hate relationship with insecurities. I know what mine are. I hate it when they're triggered. But I also don't see them as something I'll make go away forever.
Instead, I think of them as a growing opportunity.
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I recently came across this tweet from Heather Havrilesky. If you click on those links I add at the bottom of this newsletter under "Content I Loved," you'll recognize her as the woman who writes the Ask Polly column.
When I read Heather's tweet, I felt like she saw into my soul and understood me.
One of the biggest mistakes I made in love was dating men who brought out my worst insecurities. And they didn't do so in a calm manner as Heather describes; they did so through their insecurities mixed with a way-too-big-ego.
Like my model/actor boyfriend, who repeatedly told me I wasn't pretty like the models, he worked with. Yet he spent hours worrying about his looks every day. Projecting much?
I appreciate the calm confidence of my new partner. He doesn't trigger my insecurities, but rather, they naturally come up in a way I can healthily work on them.
It's like someone throwing a life jacket rather than yelling for you to tread water until you’re exhausted.
Being able to grow in a relationship is an important aspect of love. Ignoring the parts of ourselves we don't like isn't the way to thrive. But at the same time, having your insecurities shoved in your face, in an almost cruel way, isn't helpful either.
So I'm curious, what are your insecurities? I know not everyone knows this about themself. Take some time thinking about yours.
For me, I worry about my intelligence. Growing up, I was part of my school's gifted program. People told us we were "special" but then expected us to compete within this tight-knit group of "special" kids to see who could be the most special.
Not exactly a confidence booster.
I also worry about my looks. Since I went through an eating disorder, I've come to terms that there will always be a small part of me that won't like what I see in the mirror. I try not to go to my boyfriend for validation, but I'm not perfect. I slip up with an "are you attracted to me?" from time to time.
When my insecurities come up, especially to the point they affect my relationship, I take a step back. I consider the beliefs I have around those insecurities. And, most importantly, I think about why I care so much about those things.
What if I weren't that smart? Or pretty? Why do I feel like my worth rides on those aspects?
I know I'm more than just my intelligence and a pretty face. I know I have more to offer, not only to my partner but to the world.
If I let those insecurities get the best of me, they can seriously affect my relationship with myself and my partner. I'd know. I've been there. Not a great position to be in.
If your insecurities affect your relationship, rather than ignore them, talk about them.
Shame breeds more shame when it's in the dark. Whatever makes you upset, bring it to light. Sit your partner down and talk to them about what's going on. You'll feel better, and they will understand you more.
When your insecurities come up, it's OK to take some time to sit with those uncomfortable emotions.
You don't have to act from a place of feeling insecure. I know for me, I thought the way out was by giving in, but that only made me feel worse. Taking a breather and considering the feelings you’re experiencing does better than acting out of a place where I don't feel like myself.
Find a person who doesn't make you feel worse when you already feel bad.
I said it before, and I'll say it again: you can't grow when someone makes you feel bad about yourself. Create a boundary for how you expect people to treat you. If they cross it, talk to them and explain how you felt. If they cross it again, well, they weren't meant to be in your life.
Instead of ignoring your insecurities, take control of them. Acknowledge they exist and open the door to working through them.
Sure, your insecurities may never go away, but it's best to do what you can so they don't ruin something amazing down the road.
Until next week my amazing readers.
All the love,
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