I Will No Longer Be Insecure

I think I came pre-wired to be paranoid… to care too much what others thought about me.  And, I was born into a family that poured water and fertilizer into that fertile soil of fear and the desire to be well thought of.

My issue isn’t so much that I want to be liked.  I want to be respected; well thought of.  Considered to be intelligent and a source of accurate information.

The result of my wiring and my (relatively informal) training, is that I became very introspective in my early adult years.  I was always rehashing and analyzing every conversation I had.  (It didn’t help that my social group was relatively small and tight and narrow.)

“Why did I say that?”  

“I wonder if they knew that I meant ______ and not _____.”

 “I hope they don’t call me and want to talk to me about our interaction.”  

“What are they thinking about me?”

I often feared that I was in trouble or thatI had been misunderstood or that I had inadvertently offended someone.(Offense would definitely have been inadvertent, since I feared offending anyone, and though I am out-spoken, I am not mean-spirited.)

One day, after an interaction at a meeting, I was in my home doing my usual wonder-wonder/rehash-rehash and suddenly realized I was wasting a lot of energy and thought over something I had no control over.

  • How could I know what someone else was thinking?
  • How could I know what someone else was paranoid and insecure about?
  • Why did I feel as if I was the only one who had responsibility for how a conversation went?

Sigh.  Too much angst for a young mother who had her hands and her life full of small lives and a busy husband.

So… I decided to take action.  Sort of action.  Anyway, I decided to be different.  To think differently. I decided I would no longer be insecure.  It was that simple.

I told my husband, “Dave, I have decided not to be insecure any more.  If I do or say something that I know has offended someone else, I will quickly accept responsibility and ask forgiveness.  If it is not obvious to me that I have intentionally or unintentionally offended someone, I will not spend any time worrying about whether I have offended someone.”

“And,” I continued, “I will assume that if I have offended someone, it is their responsibility to bring it to my attention so I can apologize.”

I don’t recall Dave’s response.  Probably because he was dumb-struck from wonder and glee.  This was a turning point in my life. It was good change.

Of course, there certainly have been times since the big decision that I have second-guessed myself or wondered how a conversation had gone from the other person’s perspective.  But, I have been able to remind myself that I am only responsible for myself and that I need to show up full of who I am, ready to give and be, conscious of others around me, but not fearful of how I will be perceived or judged.
**As a post script…..I told a friend that I had made the decision to stop being insecure.  I do admit that this young woman was one of the main intimidators in my life at the time.  I tend to be upfront and open so I told her I had come to the conclusion that I was simply going to believe that who I was would be adequate and that I was no longer going to be insecure.  She laughed.  Laughed!  “You can’t decide to not be insecure!”  Ha.

So she thought.

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