You do you. Coolness rating.
My 26 year daughter taught me to do me.
Why are we insecure? How do we become more self-confident? And how does a person do that without becoming too prideful and thoughtless?
This is a heavy subject for me because I am riddled with insecurities. It’s a wonder that my daughter is just the opposite. I have come a very long way though. Here’s what I know.
People are judgmental.
This habit of judging others has it’s roots in comparison. Even as toddlers, we are comparing ourselves to the other toddlers. What does she have? Do I have that? How is he walking on just two limbs like that? I can’t do that! Watch a few 2- or 3-year-olds in a room. They vacillate between being totally self-absorbed in their own universe and staring at another kid with longing and curiosity. The gears are turning. They are comparing. As adults we do the same thing. But at some point it changes from the exploration and growth behavior that drives toddlers to compare, to the value-assessment and jealously that drives adults to compare. Somehow our brains assume that other people are doing it right back at us. They are watching us to see what we have or how we look or who likes us. They are watching and assessing value and deciding on our worth. Aren’t they? Of course they are. Enter insecurity.
Mine doesn’t look like yours.
Legs are supposed to be lean. Come-backs are supposed to be quick and witty. Runners are supposed to be fast. Players are supposed to win. I know this because it says so right there on the display of magazine covers at the grocery store. (And also maybe your mom told you as well). Well, guess what. My legs are Fred Flintstone chunky. My conversational style is curious and thoughtful, and likely not quotable. When I run, I run slow. And I’m a terrible loser. Damn. I hate my chunky slow legs. Enter insecurity.
Trying new things is scary.
I wish I could play an instrument. I wish I could dance. I wish I spoke a second language. I wish I made my living as a writer. Oh well. I have a great play list on my phone so I can listen to talented musicians, and in the past people have told me I can’t dance so I just don’t even though it seems fun because that’s what they told me, and at my age learning a new language would be hard, maybe impossible and I’m a really, really good bookkeeper so it would be safe and lucrative to keep doing that. Why would I risk being laughed at, being mediocre, or being a failure? I’ll just sit over hear in my corner and keep on keeping on. I’m not really missing out, am I? Enter insecurity.
Insecurity is a human quality — one that is sewn into our fabric.
It’s OK to feel self- conscious sometimes. It’s OK to proceed with caution. Without some insecurity we we would become overconfident and, frankly, unpleasant. The problem comes when insecurity keeps us from doing something we want to do and exploring things we want to explore. The problem comes when insecurity locks us down.
Expectations should be your own.
When I was 21 I left the family business and sunny Southern California to raise my daughter by myself in the South. It was a risky move. I was told by people in “the industry” that I was, well, stupid, that I was a disappointment. Those in my So-Cal circles were quick to insist that I was moving to a much less desirable place with zero diversity, giving up a golden family business career and sentencing myself to a lower income. How could this decision possibly be a good one? They expected me to stay in California, someday run the business in the good company of my generation of family businesses and someday pass the empire on to my children who surely would do the same thing. They had expected me to follow the carefully manicured path. It was a good path. It was a generous, loving, exciting path. But they didn’t know me. It wasn’t my path.
You do you. I’ll do me.
We are all curators of ourselves. Works in progress. Ever-evolving. Input from other people is crucial, useful and energizing. We get into trouble when we put weight on input from people who don’t know us and when we make assumptions about what people are thinking.
PLEASE PLEASE try to shed unhelpful insecurities. Embrace your life. Just go for it. Screw what anyone else thinks unless their opinion is really valid and useful and coming from a place of love.
PLEASE PLEASE if you ever find yourself in a position of giving your opinion, do it only from a place of love. And if your advice is not taken, your next job is to turn around and support the person anyway. Be honest, kind and be loyal.
I am an individual and my coolness rating has nothing to do with what anyone else thinks. When I dance anyway, my daughter says “I love you mom”. When I say one of my dorky mantras out loud she says “you are so cool mom” and when I feel bad for the team that’s losing the baseball game even though my son is winning she says “you have such a big heart”. She taught me to do me. We are not supposed to be all exactly alike.
Do you have an insecurity that is keeping you from doing something RIGHT NOW? Comment back and tell me about it — we can tackle it together. You never know, it may be something I have unlocked!
Please ❤ my article so more people will find it! I hope you find joy in something completely YOU today!