“You get insecure too?!”
Why, yes—I do. I mean, don’t we all? Apparently I present well to the world, even when I feel like a bumbling fool inside.
For some reason, my dearest friends seem to often be under the impression that I have it more together than I feel. One of the most shocking revelations I can offer people often seems to be this:
I, too, have days when I feel crummy, inadequate, inept, bumbling, outcast, insecure, awkward and unliked.
Just because these feelings don’t own me anymore doesn’t mean they don’t crop up.
These feelings used to dominate me, resulting in a horribly overgrown wall of egotistical arrogance that I put up for defense. I’ve since broken down the wall, and spent the last two years practicing vulnerability and openness. I’ve immersed myself in the art of healing and self-love.
Through meditation, yoga, healthy decisions, prayer and service to my fellows, I have discovered—and come to fully believe—that my innately flawed human existence is divine and perfect.
I still don’t love it when I make mistakes, but now I can laugh about them. Instead of being ashamed and beating myself up over my sometimes shoddy responses to life, which I used to perceive as failures, I can gaze upon my foolish actions with kind love and gentle humor.
This is one of the amazing gifts of my Buddhist practice; I’ve stopped taking myself so damn seriously! And I learned and continue to practice maitri, or loving-kindness toward myself and the world.
What a relief this is.
Where I was once paralyzed by fear of being unlovable if I wasn’t perfect, I now embrace imperfections. I never would have thought this was possible just a few years ago. Had someone told me there was peace of mind and self-love to be found, I would’ve laughed in their face. Now I understand.
Meditation can and will sharpen the mind’s ability to pause and observe itself—rather than letting it mind run rampant with its stories and filters.
So, yes I still have the feelings and thoughts come up, whispering about judgement from others, inadequacy, and how much of an awkward weirdo I am, but they no longer dominate me.
It’s because I don’t believe them anymore.
Because I have embraced and stuck with a disciplined meditation practice, I now believe positive affirmations and words, even when those old ego-driven comparisons to others are creeping up on me.
The first thing to remember is that whomever you are comparing yourself to, is comparing themselves to someone else. Say it until you believe it. Then say it some more.
Then, these are the quotes that get me through when it gets tough. These words remind me that I am never alone in my feelings, and that if even these talented powerhouses feel this way, then I must be okay just as I am:
“I don’t even know why I’m saying this in an interview situation, but I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.”
~ Trent Reznor
“And above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.”
~ Isaac Asimov
“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”
~ Pema Chödrön
“The greatest sin is to call yourself a sinner. You are a child of God. Though gold be covered with mud for centuries, it remains gold. So the pure “gold” of the soul can be covered over with the mud of delusion for aeons, but in its true nature it remains forever undefiled.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.”
~ Robert De Niro
Because, truly if this list of beautiful minds and brilliant souls can relate to the feelings I sometimes have, it makes me pause and realize, Who the heck am I to beat myself up so badly?
If people who achieve great creations and give brilliant gifts to the world relate to me, then I can cut myself a break.
When all else fails, I just bring it back into perspective. Before the feelings overwhelm, I pause, I practice pranayama breathing, and I regroup with these questions:
In the greater scheme of things, does this thing that has me feeling so inadequate really matter?
Does it? No.
Do I really believe that right at this moment anyone is spending their time sitting here thinking about how much I suck?
Of course not, they are thinking about themselves, not me.
Am I really so self-absorbed that I believe everyone sits around thinking about me? (Which almost always makes me laugh, because when removed from the confines of my head, this idea is so absurd.)
Why do I think I need praise and acknowledgment from everyone?
Oh right, that’s just my ego. My heart knows I’m perfect as I am intended to be.
And, my favorite:
Oh well, if they are over there judging me and thinking I suck, it’s okay; that really only means that they judge and hate themselves, and it’s just projecting onto me.
Can’t argue that one, can you? When we put it all back into perspective, we see the truth.
We are good enough.
We are perfect.
We are divine and we are love.
Sometimes, we just need to take a little break and have some distance from our minds to put things into perspective.
That’s what meditation can do for you.
Blessings of love! Please share below about your inner feelings.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: James Douglas/Unsplash