By Samantha McKenzie
Hanging on to insecurities is costing us more than we can imagine.
Each and every time we regurgitate stories that feed into our low self-esteem, we lose a little bit of ourselves. What’s even worse, we do it so often, it’s become commonplace. Sometimes, we stand around as innocent bystanders while another woman diminishes her worth. You’ve seen it. We don’t even blink an eye.
Experiencing moments of self-doubt is normal. Carrying around feelings that we are not good enough, however, is destroying us.
When we lack confidence, we silently give others permission to dismiss us. We lose out on offering solutions to life’s problems. And because of this, the entire world suffers.
Ladies, let’s be real. We don’t give birth to babies with low self-esteem. Children don’t naturally doubt their abilities. They try to fly and jump and test all earthly limits. They take risks and give and receive love without any reservations. They are born ready and we help them become able.
All too often I hear women downplay their greatness, their skills, their intelligence or their natural beauty. If someone tells one of us they like our dress, we respond by telling them how much it cost. When someone reminds us of how special we are, we try to deny it or find a way to down play it. At the job, we take a back seat when promotions are doled out, we clam up when it’s time to ask for a raise and hold back recommendations that can move a project forward (even when we know we’re the expert in the room). We do this! We abstain. We shut down. We allow our insecurities to rule the day.
Have you ever sat quietly in a room watching people wrangle over an issue and you had the solution? Or you were the solution? Has that ever been you? Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself that everyone loved and found multiple reasons why you hated it? Your hair was too messy? You looked too fat? You ugh’d and then deleted it? Have you ever done that?
It’s time we retrain our way of thinking. It’s time we remind ourselves of our exceptional worth, beauty and fortitude. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything. It just means when you can add value to a conversation, then do so.
The next time you receive a compliment, smile and say thank you. Let it sink in. Feel the warmth. Accept it.
The next time you have an opportunity to move up in the company, take it. Offer your knowledge. Find a way to make your contribution. You playing yourself small does not serve the world, remember?
You’ll have to make a conscious effort to rid yourself of this self-inflicted doubt. First, remind yourself that you are a child of God. That should really be enough. But if it’s not, make a list of everything you’re good at. Don’t leave anything off. Make another list. This one should include compliments. Read one out loud every day.
Take the next step and participate in discussions, even those that may be a little controversial. It’s okay. Get in the practice of sharing your knowledge freely (not like a know-it-all, more like a by-the-way girl).
Finally, tell your insecurities to take a hike. That’s right, get tough with yourself and tell your negative thoughts to shut up. Fight for your existence and accept your worth. Do this every day until it becomes a healthy habit.
On this 5th day of January in the year 2017, kiss your insecurities goodbye. Bid farewell to self-loathing and welcome in a confident, believing new you.