Insecurity. It ruins lives, and I am not exaggerating. If I think back to my 20 year old self and compare it to my 31 year old self, that’s one of the biggest differences. I’m no longer as insecure. I’m proud of my life, my husband, my kids, my talents, and my house. I’m not perfect, but I no longer feel like I need to be. I don’t feel this urge to change everything in my life rightthisminute so I can be on par with the rest of the world. (Because honestly, the rest of the world is every bit as jacked up as I am.)
I know a lot of this comes with age, and it’s been one of my favorite parts of getting older. But then I still see people 20 years my senior struggling to prove themselves to the world. So that leads to believe that my journey has also played a huge part.
I look at my three children and see how drastically different they are. Aidan is so much like me – he looks for approval and second guesses every decision he makes. When he learned to write, it was of paramount importance that he spelled each word correctly. That seemed perfectly logical to me, because I’m the same way.
But then Audra started to write. And she was not at all concerned about her spelling. She decided that the words looked perfect however she wrote them down, and she didn’t much care what anyone else thought. Her card to J just three years ago said, “Hapey Fothrs Day. Luv Yoow Dads.” I love that. The girl is simply not worried about standards. She’s secure in herself – she is good with how she does things. And she has never found anything she decides she can’t do with perfection. Sports, sewing, singing, you name it. She has all the confidence in the world.
Austin probably falls somewhere in the middle. He looks for guidance, but he is pretty confident in his abilities too.
And it wasn’t until those moments of parenthood that I realized how naturally different we all are. I wondered how in the hell someone could have the confidence to run an entire country when I’m over here struggling to host a birthday party. What makes us so very different??
But when it came down to it, it’s really about confidence and security. Some people just decide they are capable of anything, and they aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Then some of us worry about our abilities and what others will think of us. And it can easily consume us. I’m so worried about that with Aidan. And I’m hopeful that I can spend the rest of his childhood showing him that his talents don’t need to match anyone else’s.
Back to insecurity though. Because I felt so inferior for so long, I made my marriage to J a living hell. I never worried about him cheating – he’s just never given me any reason to believe that would be possible – but I worried that he would compare me. To everyone. I was a hot mess. Why wouldn’t he? Not only had I gained 100 pounds during our relationship, but I pushed him away at every turn because I was so insecure. He could tell me he loved me and found me beautiful, but because I hated myself, I treated him like his opinion was worthless.
What could he do? I look back now and realize how helpless he must have felt. If he had been one of many other guys, he could have left me. This amazing marriage we have now could have been nonexistent because my insecurity could have gotten the best of us. It literally brings tears to my eyes when I think about the person I used to be. And at the heart of it all was my insecurity. If you don’t feel like you’re worth anything, no one will ever be able to convince you otherwise.
This certainly isn’t just about body issues. I think there are supermodels out there who feel insecure, because maybe in their head, their body is all they have going for them. That isn’t true, I’m sure, but it’s what everyone focuses on.
We are made to believe that if we don’t have abilities in every area, then we aren’t good enough. I can balance a checkbook, but I can’t throw a Pinterest-inspired birthday bash for my children. I can take massive amounts of usually well-composed pictures, but I can’t just go in the kitchen and throw together an intricate meal. I can talk someone off the ledge on a crisis line, but it’s a struggle to make it to an appointment on time.
After 30 years, I know that my faults are no worse than someone else’s. On the same token, my strengths are no better. We’re all just very different. My husband loves me because I’m uniquely perfect. For him. He knows me inside and out, and he’d never compare me to someone else because he doesn’t know them. And it’s the same for me in return. I love him – faults and all – and I’d never compare him to another man. Ever.
I had to learn to quit comparing myself to anyone else. It took so much work to do that, but I’ve simply never met someone that has it all together. We all have our issues, and it took meeting lots of someones to understand that. And the best part is that I want to keep growing. That’s what has made me more secure in myself. I know that for all of my faults, I never want to stop learning to be a better person. So anytime I disappoint myself (and I do it a lot), I know that there will be a next time where I can do it differently.
Are you insecure? How does it affect your relationships? What could you do to improve it?