Earlier this year my heartmate and I were strolling by a museum and I saw a quote written in bold lettering as part of a mural on the side of the building’s facade. Right then and there, I knew I had to follow through on writing this piece about personal insecurities and how to overcome them.
“Self-doubt is the enemy of success”
If I rewind to the beginning of this, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times it’s taken for me to sit myself down, free of distraction, and actually write this. The original draft dates back to June 23!
I’d been thinking about sharing my personal insecurities on Inspired by Nick for a while in an effort to not only share how to overcome them, but to prevent them from negatively affecting our psyche, and ultimately holding us back from living what would otherwise be a normal, happy life.
Though, I have to say, it was pretty easy for me to come up with several excuses not to follow through with writing this –
I haven’t taken the featured photos for it yet…
I don’t like the way I look today…
Are people even going to care?…
Self doubt was setting in. And at the root of these excuses, were ultimately my insecurities that were holding me back, yet, they were also the driving force behind why I originally wanted to open up to you.
I am insecure about the way I look when I smile. I hate my crooked teeth.
Agh! It feels so liberating to just put that out there! Once you acknowledge it, and quite literally get it out of your system, you can start to take ownership of it, instead of letting it taking ownership of you.
Am I happy about it? No. I just shared the feature of my genetic makeup that makes me the most insecure. Why am I sharing it, then? Because I’ve overcome it.
I don’t care anymore about what people think, or how it makes me look. I’ve channeled what used to be thoughts of discomfort into body-positivity.
And I know there may be some of you who feel there is a superficial element to this, or that I spent time focusing on something that would otherwise seem trivial in other people’s lives. And you know what, you may be right. There very well may be a superficial aspect as to why I care(d) about the way that I look or what people think. But the driving force behind this, is so much greater than being shallow, or emphasis on physical appearance.
My insecurities stopped me from living my best life. I let them take control.
Here’s the chronological order of how this transpired –
– I stopped posting photos of myself on social media all together.
– At family, friend or social functions, I wouldn’t smile when my photograph was being taken.
– When someone told a joke, I would try to hold myself back from LAUGHING! (!!!)
– I would RSVP “no” to events because I knew I would have to interact with people, smile, and have my photograph taken.
How sad is that?
No seriously, how sad?
THIS is the impetus behind why I’m sharing my personal insecurities with you. To help prevent you from feeling the same way I felt.
To let you know that we are worth so much more than just our instagram pictures. We’re worth more than what other people think of us.
Ultimately, personal insecurities can creep in at any moment. The key is not letting them consume you.
Not letting what other people think of you, become what YOU think of you!
To think that I would hold myself back from simple things, like moments that would create happy memories. Post cards or photos of friends to pin on my fridge.
I let this happen for years. Years.
Before I knew it, time from my life was slipping by me. And instead of enjoying life, I was becoming a recluse (despite my natural disposition of being a homebody), and I was letting my insecurities define how I felt about myself. And further, how I saw myself when I looked in the mirror.
I always tie this back to my personal healthy journey of losing over 100+ lbs which ultimately changed my life. I used to feel all of the same things (maybe I just have a lot of feelings lol!) when I was overweight.
I didn’t want to go out with my friends. I didn’t want to go shopping for clothes. I didn’t even want to visit family sometimes because of how insecure I felt due to my weight.
That said, regardless of what may be at the root of your personal insecurity, the formula for overcoming it is replicable.
My first step in overcoming my insecurity was acknowledging that something external to my thoughts, was making me feel insecure on the inside.
That very sentence alone sounds illogical to me if I really spend time thinking about it. For something external to affect me internally, meant that I let that happen. At some point in time, I translated my physical appearance and what other people thought of me, into internal feelings of unhappiness or discomfort.
But trust me, just acknowledge it. Say it out loud. Let yourself feel it. Even if that doesn’t make you feel so great in that very moment.
Once you’ve acknowledged it, you have a choice to continue to let it affect you, or find a way to take charge of it. To overcome it.
Two ways to overcome a personal insecurity.
- Correct it, to solve the issue at the root. I.e., lose the weight, or in this case, correct my teeth. Which is what I did, but more on that below.
- Wholly and fully commit to not letting what other people think of you, affect you in any way. Love yourself for you who you are (as cheesy as that may sound), vs trying to make other people happy, in an effort to make yourself happy.
In writing this article and reflecting on my decision, it’s clear that Option 2 is the equivalent of becoming a stronger-willed person.
The route that I took in hindsight, may be the equivalent of cosmetically making an adjustment, to yield to social norms.
HOWEVER! Let me just caveat that with the very BIG difference between learning to love yourself, and learning to love your unhealthy self.
I.e., if your insecurity stems from being overweight, you need to ask yourself if the extra weight is worth the potential implications it can have on your health. Not everyone has to be skinny, not everyone will be. But if you are significantly overweight, while it is definitely important to love yourself for who you are, don’t begin to love your unhealthy self. If you need to lose weight to improve your health, go with Option 1. Correct it.
Correcting my teeth with Invisalign. Is it worth it?
While my decision to correct the root cause of my personal insecurities may have been cosmetic, it was what I felt I needed to do in order to be at peace with it.
This may probably have been because my teeth used to be perfectly straight. As a child, my mom paid huge sums to have all kinds of orthodontic procedures done for me. From braces to neck-gears, to head-gears, to retainers, I came out of all of it with perfectly aligned, shiny white teeth. And through my own fault of not continuing to wear my retainers into my later teenage years, the teeth completely shifted and ended up in a crooked state. I felt guilty.
I’m really happy to share that my Invisalign treatment has been a smooth process. And, as karma, I paid for it entirely out of my own pocket. Insurance covered exactly 0%. And that’s okay. For me, getting back to a place where I could smile again without feeling self-conscious was the ultimate goal.
For anyone considering going through with an Invisalign treatment.
It starts with a consultation with your dentist. You have to qualify as a candidate, first, to see if the treatment it suitable for you.
They take a digital mold of the configuration of your mouth and teeth. Using 3D printing, they then project what the ideal and realistic outcome of the treatment would be for you.
If you choose to move forward, they create plastic trays that work like braces, that you have to replace every two weeks. I would get 6 weeks worth of trays each check up visit I made to the dentist.
You pay an amount upfront (I think it was half the total cost for me), and the rest in installments over the course of your check in visits.
How have you overcome a personal insecurity in the past? How do you not let what other people think affect you?
I always want Inspired by Nick to be a safe space for open, healthy discussion. I’d love to hear what your experiences have been if you’re open to sharing. Please do drop me a comment below if you ever want to connect!
PS – can we also play a game where we have to take a shot for every instance I use the word “feel”, “felt” and “feelings” LOL!
Nick Joly | Inspired by Nick