Dealing with Insecurity

If you are like me, it’s hard to be around insecure people. You know — the ones who always compare themselves to others. It is easy to spot a vulnerable person; they are the ones who continuously check you out. If you look away, they stare at you. If you look at them, they look elsewhere. Insecure people can tell you what someone wore to work today, yesterday and the day before. They can even tell you what you eat most days, or when you change the color of your purse or your shoes. Why? Because they take notice of anyone they believe they compete with.

Look, I know we all face insecurities in life. However, to live in a constant state of vulnerability is entirely different than feeling that way every once in a while. Why is it that some of us feel insecure some of the time while others feel insecure most of the time? It’s complicated. I do believe those who experience constant insecurity can track it back to something that happened in their lives along the way.

Are you insecure and don’t know why? Does it frustrate you to be that way? I bet it does. Insecurity is harmful, and if you don’t face it and deal with it, you will experience negative consequences. Those consequences can result in feeling you are a failure, feeling lonely, experiencing social anxiety, you can have negative beliefs about yourself, and the perfection you seek will never happen.

You may be insecure because you grew up with a negative parent, or maybe your spouse made you feel less than. Oh and don’t forget social media. Yes, social media can cause you to feel insecure. You see the beautiful lives others are living and you compare your experience with theirs. Please try to remember, in general, people don’t usually post their sad stories or hardships on social media. The person who seems to have it together could also be falling apart on the inside, but you don’t know that. The self-confident person will quickly tell you that they have days of not feeling confident, and the person who walks into a room and commands it will probably tell you that they had sweated bullets the night before as they prepared to enter some function.

I have offered many suggestions over the years on how to overcome insecurity; surround yourself with positive people, give yourself daily affirmations, interrupt the critical voice—vocalize your vulnerability and address it, and avoid people who make you feel insecure. However, I want to be clear about what I think of insecurity from a Biblical perspective. Insecurity comes from fear and fear is not from God. Therefore, if you feel like a failure, remember Romans 8:28, In Christ, every failure will work for an ultimate good. If you feel inadequate, God promises that His grace will be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Finally, if you feel insignificant or unimportant, John 15:16 tells you that you were chosen by God to bear fruit that will last.

You don’t need to compare yourself to others; you are you, and that’s good enough because He chose you.

 

 

 

 

Friends and friends…

FriendsI am one to sit quietly so that I can think and reflect.  I generally consider what’s going on in my current life; I think about what I am doing in order to get where I want to go. One thing that I have always made my practice is to take account of those who I allow into my inner circle and how to manage those I don’t let in.  You see some people think that every person they meet is supposed to be a deep and personal friend when that’s just not the case.  It’s just not!

I see friends in certain categories. You may not agree with me, but I will support a couple of my points with scripture for you that think I am being “un-Christian”  or “un-friendly.”

The first level of friendship and is the most important to me is the level I refer to as my Inner Circle.  It goes without saying that my BFF is in this group. Along with that person, these are friends that I have probably (not in all cases) known for a very long time.  Not only have I known them, we have shared values. Those values may be how we look at life in general, how we set goals and pursue them, how we see family and a host of other things. One of the primary reasons they are in my inner circle, however, is because they are TRUSTED.  We have gone through victories and disappointments together and I have watched them support me as I have supported them. They will go through the fire for me and I will walk through flames for them.  Those in my inner circle are closer than family members. No one could convince me that they would betray me and they know that I would never betray them. My inner circle is small and years have been invested in our relationship. These are my most trusted confidants and the people who get to speak into my life and influence it.

innercircleJesus had an inner circle too. They were His disciples, yes but even within the inner circle of His disciples, there were some who were even closer, or rather, he allowed to see things others did not see. These disciples shared in some of Jesus’ joys and sorrows.  Peter, James, and John were the only disciples allowed to accompany Jesus when he raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Mark 5:37). These same disciples were the only ones on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured in the presence of Moses and Elijah (Mark 9:2).  Jesus even gave nicknames to these three. I didn’t say that they were His favorite, I am just pointing out that not all of His disciples experienced Him the same.

Then there is another group of friends. They are good friends too, but they will not be the people I will call on in a life crisis because I don’t know them like that. They are casual friends. We have a level of trust and we enjoy being around each other, but generally we do so just for fun. There is no deep relationship yet; we have not experienced life together yet. Casual friendships can develop into stronger, deeper ones. We probably share similar personal and professional goals and certainly share similar values. They are people I like and will spend time with, but we do not have anything concrete to build our relationship on yet. I may share some of my life stories with them, but the deep things of my heart will probably not be shared for a very long time.

Associations are another group of friends. You probably have some things in common with them, maybe your work or some social activity, but you may not have similar professional or personal goals; you just don’t know. You probably only know each other on the surface from some activity you’ve been engaged in. You don’t hang out, you just see each other occasionally. Trust isn’t a real issue because the exchange of personal information probably isn’t an issue.

Acquaintances will be the last group I will talk about.  You have no real relationship with acquaintances, you just see each other or know of each other in loose terms. You will say hi and bye, exchange pleasantries and if they need help, you will help.  Generally, you will not share any personal life stories, even if they decided to share theirs with you.  They may trust you because of your wisdom or some kind of expertise they think you possess. You may share limited information with your acquaintances because you have no idea what you can share.

That’s it.  I don’t want this all academic, but I did want to lay this out before I say what I really want to say.  Watch who you allow into your inner circle. Every person you meet will not be a close personal friend.  Watch what you say and who you say it to.  Just because a person laughs with you, does not mean that they will cry with you.  Just because a person is willing to share their victories with you does not mean that they will share the joy of yours.  At times,  some people maneuver to try to be “friends” with those they think can open doors for them.  Be real, that’s not friendship, it’s called jockeying for one’s own self-interest.  If you behave like this, just know that those who you are trying to get close to see it too

My grandfather used to say, “if you want friends, show yourself friendly.” He was quoting  Proverbs 18:24.  Be a good friend, but also make sure those you allow closest to you are also good friends because they will be the ones who will influence you the most.

You Got This….

underestimate meIt can be frustrating when you have to deal with people who tend to always underestimate you. I want to tell you that I totally get it. However, I want to offer an alternative to you.  Don’t get frustrated or mad. Learn to smile within yourself when they do.  Think of what they are doing but do so and laugh at them.  You will gain much more positive energy than if you allow yourself to become angry.  Look, isn’t it really funny?  Yes, it is. So instead of letting them get to you, let them fuel you.

I bring this up because of what I have noticed with some of my dear friends. Some are good at handling it when others underestimate them, while others are not so good at it. There are two kinds of people, those who act strategically and those who react irrationally.  First of all, you may not even be aware that your reactions can come across to decision makers as irrational. If you tend to lash out by commenting or by displaying negative body postures, you only hurt yourself. So the best thing to do is learn more positive coping strategies to get better results the next time you may be challenged to do a job.

react  Those who are strategic and ultimately get what they want, make good out of a bad situation. They learn to discern when they are taking things personally and recalibrate because when they begin to see everything as personal, they tend to not think strategically. When you are not thinking of the other person’s next move, they get a leg up on you and they win.  They don’t cause you to react; you cause you to react. Not cool.

When you react, you do so out of pure emotion. Emotions range from frustration, anger, and even fear if you feel people are (a.) underestimating you or (b.) trying to take something from you. The most strategic thing you can do over deliver and show others that you have what it takes. You are smart.

In everything, think of your next move as if you are playing chess and try to remove your personal emotions out of the equation. I don’t care how hurt you feel, think above the pain and create your next move.  Your next move may be to look for other opportunities elsewhere is you are continually marginalized. Don’t stay where you are being frustrated and feeling undervalued.  I have seen many people hate where they are and don’t do anything about it except stay and complain. When they never move up, they stay where they are and continue to complain and become more and more bitter.  I say, don’t stay anywhere where you feel undervalued.  The first thing you need to do is to recreate yourself where you are, but if you can’t, move on, and find another place to start again if you need to.

I have seen many people hate where they are and don’t do anything about it except stay and complain. When they never move up, they stay where they are and continue to complain and become more and more bitter.  I say, don’t stay anywhere where you feel undervalued.  The first thing you need to do is to recreate yourself where you are, but if you can’t, move on, and find another place to start again if you need to. Too many times, we allow life’s situations define our destiny. Don’t let that happen.

Anyway, always remember, being strategic is about being proactive and irrationality is reactive. One gives you the advantage and the other does not.  Oh! One more thing. In all things, pray and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Your part? Be all that God has created you to be. He did not create you to be second, third, or last. He created you with a uniqueness that no one else has but you and you can count of Him fulfilling His perfect will for you.