Two years ago, my relationship with my mother came to an end. To sum up my 42 years with her would be a difficult and complicated novel no one would want to read. The last conversation we had began with her asking me, “how much money would it take to get you out of town and out of our lives?”

I had spent my entire life trying to please a woman that couldn’t be pleased. The emotional, verbal and mental abuse became too much. I decided after that conversation that I needed to start my life over from a place that was healthy, full of love, and without expectations. Initially, it was painful and I lost weight, hair and ended up with skin lesions. It took me a full year to seek therapy. I can honestly say that I am a new woman now. I am married and I am a new vocalist in three bands. I never had the true confidence to sing until I was away from the hold she had on me.
I am a content and relaxed woman now, yet I still hear and feel my insecurities and inside voice telling me I am not good enough. My question to you is, will that ever go away? 

Dear you…

First can I just say? GO YOU! Using your voice to sing is such a magical way to model and express your freedom.

Second, I don’t know if your insecurities will go away. So far mine haven’t. And I am okay with that.

What has changed is my relationship to my insecurities and the voice that tells me I am a pathetic loser (my version of “I’m not good enough”). When I feel insecure or hear that voice, I know it’s time to remember who I am and to choose myself. To nurture myself. And I have to choose myself over and over and over again. So I can keep going.

I do this by being a conscious observer of myself: I notice when I feel insecure. I notice when that voice pipes up. I pay attention to the language I use about myself. I question my thoughts and catch myself sooner. I choose to be, as Eddie Izzard put it so perfectly here (at the 5:20 mark): “brave and curious not fearful and suspicious.”

“Oh, there goes my brain again…believing that thought that I am a pathetic loser.”

“Wow…isn’t it interesting how this insecurity always shows up just as I am about to take it to the next level.”

Choosing brave and curious helps take the sting out of those messages and creates distance between them to you. It changes your relationship to them.

In his book The Happiness Trap, physician and therapist Russ Harris describes another way to get distance from painful thoughts:

Pick a thought that you think often and usually bothers or upsets you. Yours is “I’m not good enough.
Take that thought and in front of it, insert this phrase:
“I am having the thought that…I’m not good enough.”
Then do it again, adding:
“I am noticing that I am having the thought that…I’m not good enough.”
And finally:
“How interesting…I am noticing that I am having the thought that…I’m not good enough.”
Notice what happens with each iteration.

The ability to observe yourself and your thoughts is powerful and you are worthy of your own attention. And it’s an ongoing practice.

Much, much love,

Karen

P.S. This conversation from 2015 – Living Brave with Brené Brown & Oprah Winfrey – also has some amazing take-aways when it comes to insecurities!