The Key To Feeling Less Insecure Is to Feel More Insecure
I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out: The key to feeling less insecure is to welcome the feeling of insecurity.
And it’s not just the feeling of insecurity. It’s any feeling for that matter.
It’s our human nature to want to feel wonderful, happy, and loving feelings every day. I’ve never met someone who woke up with intentions of feeling insecure, angered, jealous, or hateful. For the most part, we strive to provide ourselves and our loved ones with meaningful, positive experiences. How often have you heard it said that someone “just wants to see their spouse/kids/friends happy?”
These wishes are all well and good, yet they’re far from realistic. More so, it imposes an unattainable expectation that everyone should be happy all the time. What results is an amplified disappointment that we’re not happy.
The truth is, our life experiences are 50% positive emotions and 50% negative feelings. And this is a wonderful thing — we need good moments to give us something to look forward to during the bad moments. We need negative emotions so we can be grateful when we’re gifted with positive emotions. The two balance each other out.
Unfortunately, our negative emotions are more noticeable. Insecurity is much more striking than acceptance. We expect to be accepted because that’s what we’re taught is “good.” Because of this, we barely notice the moments we feel included and loved but we spend an exorbitant amount of time ruminating over the moments we felt “less than.”
The solution is to simply feel insecure.
By trying to ignore or avoid our negative feelings, we actually create more of them. A common way to avoid feelings is by doing something. Commonly, we overeat or overdrink. What happens? The overeating or overdrinking helps us feel relieved in that exact moment but poses a new set of negative emotions to deal with later. Pretty soon, our 50% positive/50% negative split just went from 40% positive to 60% negative. Youch.
In a recent coaching session, a client expressed she felt insecure around her family because she is not overly emotional. She claimed she was a practical person who focused on facts and tangible results. She described herself as someone who was “bad with emotions” and attributed this characteristic as the cause of her lack of connection to others.
The most interesting part of her explanation was how her description was flush with adjectives and feelings: guilt, disconnection, worried, anxious, self-conscious, envy. For someone who declared she didn’t have many feelings, she still managed to acknowledge a full list of them! What was going on?
She was hiding from the feelings so she did not have to face them.
A feeling is simply a state of being.
Some people refer to them as vibrations in our bodies. Others might consider it a mindset. No matter what your definition, a feeling itself will not harm you. It’s a reaction your body produces and it’s trying to give you some key insight into your internal state.
This is why it’s so crucial not to hide feelings or try to mask them with something else. This is your body signaling to your mind, “Hey! Something is going on!”
Truth is, our feelings of insecurity or guilt are just as (if not more) important as our feelings of love and connection. Our negative feelings deserve attention and until we give it to them … they’ll simply keep knocking at our door until we react.
If you allow feelings to be with you and reside within you without reaching to a distraction (food, wine, or your phone), you step into awareness and curiosity. By approaching our emotions instead of denying them, you can gain some key insight into why you feel the way you do. And oftentimes, knowing why is all you need to move past whatever is going on.
In the case of my client, after some time she eventually realized she hid behind the facade of being “bad with emotions” because she feared her opinions may offend a family member. She realized she wasn’t feeling insecurity from a place of lack, but from a subconscious effort to keep the peace.
Yes, our negative emotions command more attention than their counterparts. But we can familiarize ourselves with them so much so that we no longer fear them. We accept them as part of our journey. We greet them and care for them like a friend. The more you feel something… the less of an obstacle it becomes.
Knowing you can handle and appreciate a full range of emotions is freeing.
The more you welcome uncomfortable feelings, the more familiar you become with them. It allows you to stop reacting and begin simply observing your current experiences. When your reactions are no longer present, you can live from a place of genuine integrity and authenticity.
Originally published at https://annajavellana.com on April 26, 2020.