If my 16 year old self was able to see my 32 year old self, I think she would have been pretty damn proud. But yet, I still have to remind myself on a regular basis to let go of insecurities that creep in. We all have them. Whether it’s worrying about how we look in a picture a friend posted on Instagram, getting engaged or moving up the ladder in our careers, here are five insecurities we face as women and how to kick them to the curb.
Social Media Appearance
As an editorial stylist, I can tell you that a whole lot of photos make their way onto the cutting room floor before the final imagery is selected for publication. Such is the same with our appearance and social media accounts. In most cases, our feeds are a beautiful array of the brightest moments in people’s lives. Now, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating those moments—but we all need a swift kick in the booty and a reminder that those snapshots are exactly that, snapshots. Let those moments inspire you, but don’t forget that your favorite fashion blogger has bad hair days too.
Life’s milestones should absolutely be celebrated (there’s this great site out there, have you heard of it? wink, wink!). But those milestones—especially getting engaged, doesn’t always happen as organically and effortlessly as we’d like it to. Or, as quickly as we’d like it to. It’s not something that, we as women, are simply insecure about—it’s a societal pressure that weighs down on us, too. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a bridal shower as single or un-engaged and had someone say to you, you’ll have your time too my dear. As if they read your slight frown as jealousy, when really, you were just pissed that they were all out of rosé… who runs out of rosé at a bridal shower anyway?! But in all seriousness, why do we then judge ourselves and our status based on committing to another person and sporting left-hand bling or planning a wedding? Some of my happiest, most successful friends are in their early thirties and still not engaged or married (or even dating someone!). Do I think any differently of them? Hell, no.
Take it from the girl who was with her boyfriend for eight years before getting engaged. Did I wait patiently all of those years for him to ask me? No way. I stubbornly stomped my feet, I dug deep into our relationship to try and figure out what was wrong, why hadn’t he asked yet? I lost touch completely with what brought us together, pushing him further and further away. After a couple years of that nonsense, I was exhausted and finally threw my hands up in the air. I woke up and started living life each day for myself, while still loving him, but loving myself first. You know what? We got engaged just a few months later, and I don’t think that was a coincidence. The point? Don’t live your life chasing after a shiny rock for your left hand or a status update, and ultimately, a commitment from someone.
Starting a Family
While we’re on the topic of milestones… let’s talk babies. You might be thinking, how can this girl relate after just having a baby?! But I was simply lucky to have been the shoulder for some of my family and friends to lean on in their experiences and struggles, and they taught me a great deal. And even then, I had my own insecurities. Just like committing your life to someone, it is so, so important to put yourself first before even considering starting a family. Bringing a life into this world is absolutely a joyous time, but it does not instantly make you a happier or more successful person.
Whether you’re years away from even trying or you’re in the midst of infertility challenges, the most important question to ask yourself is why do I want to start a family. A very smart person in my life asked me that question a few months before I got pregnant and it completely changed my outlook on having a baby (for the better). At the time, I didn’t have an answer and felt sort of embarrassed. Was I just doing the motions? Taking the next step, because that’s what everyone else was doing? Wanting to provide grandchildren to my parents? Thinking it would bring my husband and I closer together? Partially, yes, to all of the above. But once I came to realize my true why, all insecurities faded away. Having a baby will not make you a stronger person, it won’t make your relationships better, it won’t fill a void and it won’t erase the competitive-natured people in your life. Only you can make those changes.
Having a Successful Career
To quote the very inspiring Steve Jobs: When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, “If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me… and since then, for the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today.” And whenever the answer has been, “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
If your answer is “no” too many days in a row, it’s time to redefine what a successful career means to you. Does success mean being your own boss, calling all the shots? Does success mean numbers? Does it mean flexibility and free time? Does it mean climbing to the top? Does it mean providing for your family? Sure, there is necessity in work to pay the bills, but if you’re feeling insecure on the regular, it’s time to start asking yourself these questions. What will make you say yes?
What Other People Think About Us
This commercial a few years back made me cry, and empowered me. It inspired me to change the way I interact with people entirely. It made me more confident and it made me care less about what other people think about me. Every single one of the topics listed above involve what other’s think about us—the worst insecurity. So the next time you find yourself saying sorry, make sure to add on not sorry.