I remember being painfully shy growing up in my tiny home town in the upper peninsula of Michigan, but did I have insecurities? Can little kids have insecurities? Unfortunately, problems associated with confidence can start early in life and are often passed down from our elders. Is it genetic? Maybe. Is it behavioral? DEFINITELY!
Our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, etc. don’t do things purposely to affect our mental wellbeing. Of course they want us to be healthy and happy! Why wouldn’t they?!?! But, habits are hard to break, and if we don’t take control to nip them in the bud, the little ones will soon take them on as well.
This is what happened in my family. I remember my grandma constantly cutting herself down. She was so beautiful, yet she seemed so disappointed with her appearance. And she made it a point to always tell us younger ones how important our appearance was. She always meant well. And I still smile picturing her looking down at me telling me how important a good skincare routine is. I remember sitting on the toilet listening so intently watching her as she carefully applied her Oil of Olay. Her skin still looks fantastic today in her 90s! Another memory though, me, at 16, very overweight, stomach growling, and my grandma saying to me, “that’s a good sign!”
By the way – it has taken a long, long time, but now I can honestly say that I am awesome. I am a GENUINELY GREAT person with a HUGE heart, no matter what my outside body looks like, how much education I’ve had, how much money is in my bank account, or how many followers I have on Instagram.
CONFIDENCE, GOOD. OBSESSIVENESS, BAD.
If there was one trait I could go back in time and give myself, it would be confidence. But there are no re-do’s in life, so the next best thing is self-improvement. So…overcoming my insecurities.
Insecurities and lack of self-confidence adversely affects every aspect of one’s life because it affects how an individual interacts toward all other individuals they encounter. Insecure people tend to be introverted, shy types. Or, they can come across as arrogant or boastful. This is often simply because they feel the need to prove themselves as “worthy” or “good enough” to fit in, but more often than not, this behavior results in negative outcomes.
So why do we act this way? Because it’s habit. We’ve trained our brain to react this way, so whenever someone triggers one of our insecurities, we automatically respond how we are used to. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change the way our brain works. Neuroplasticity gives us the ability to change our brain chemistry and thus become more confident in the process!
HOW TO DO IT
Have you ever had anyone tell you that it takes three weeks (21 days) for a new pattern or habit to replace an old one? Well, that’s not totally wrong, but not exactly true either. Establishing new behavioral patterns is very much individualized, because it is directly dependent on what each individual does exactly. Brain chemistry is fascinating, and I’m not going to try and pretend that I’m an expert – I’M NOT! But here’s a very basic overview of how neuroplasticity works.
Every single thing in our environment, good and bad, causes chemical triggers in our brain to send signals to either trigger a behavior or avoid it. If we can learn to be aware of our triggers, be mindful of what tends to set us off, we can learn to change it. The trigger is generally emotional or stress related and generally results in some sort of unhealthy behavior. For some it’s overeating. Others turn to drugs and or alcohol. Some people get angry and lash out. For me, if you watched the video, you know that when I get nervous and feel insecure (trigger), like I am surrounded by experts who might think I am not qualified or as qualified as they are (my insecure assumptions), I automatically feel like I must prove myself. I’ve gotten good at controlling this when with people in a controlled environment thanks to practice, but when put on the spot I’m not so good. I need more practice. I need to practice to be more mindful even in stressful situations, to take a breath, pause, and respond appropriately.
Being mindful and present is something we must practice EVERY SINGLE DAY, because the second we stop practicing mindfulness, we can revert back to our old habits. Also, it’s important that we surround ourselves with people who share these same principals, because, as you likely already know, moods and energies are contagious. So, choose your company wisely!
I hope you have been blessed with a healthy amount of confidence and practice mindfulness already, but if insecurity is a problem for you, like it is for me, maybe this post can give you some guidance and bring you a bit of light. My yoga practice has really helped me “turn down the noise” in my head, to give me some clarity and discover the things I needed to work on to find peace and become a better human. I have so much gratitude for the many teachers and mentors who have led me on this path, and in turn, I will do my very best to help others find their way as well.
Let’s grow together!