Sometimes my greatest obstacle isn’t my lack of ability but my insecurity. It is mostly my fear of failure or inability to believe I’m great that keeps me living or acting like I’m inferior. It happens to me all the time on the volleyball court. The more confident I am, the better I play. The minute doubts creep into my head, I stop being able to count on my body. It is the insecurity that disarms me.
The problem with insecurity is that it’s a deceiver. It puffs itself up to look like an invincible adversary, but so much of it is an illusion. Insecurity exaggerates my flaws. It overstates my shortcomings. It makes claims about my inabilities that wouldn’t seem plausible to an objective party. Insecurity magnifies every mistake and failure until they seem inescapable. What’s more, it tries to shackle me to past missteps so that I can’t move forward. It weighs me down with doubt.
The problem with insecurity is that it’s so easy to believe. It’s a loud and persistent stream of thinking. I can tell myself lots of stories about why something happened and make it entirely about my inabilities: I am the reason we lost the game. I am the reason that business/relationship/project failed. However, insecurity is never telling the whole truth. It only endorses doubt. It doesn’t admit that no one is perfect or that mistakes are a part of life, but that life goes on.
The problem with insecurity is that it makes everything a weight. It asks you to drag past failures and losses along with you so that you never feel free. And if you should enjoy a success, insecurity makes it a burden too—whispering in your ear that it’s something you’ll never be able to repeat. On insecurity’s lips all missteps are made fatal and all successes become flukes. Insecurity makes every outcome lose-lose.
The problem with insecurity is that it shifts the focus from where it ought to be. Insecurity manages to be a critic without being a cheerleader for improvement. Usually, rather than feeling insecure about my abilities, what matters most is if I’m trying my hardest and/or enjoying myself. Whether I’m the best or worst isn’t what’s important. What others think of me is actually not my life’s purpose. If I can move beyond insecurity, I can live embracing freedom. I can accept my gifts as well as my struggles. I can offer my best and not worry about whether it’s “good enough.” I can stop focusing on deficits and instead work on improvement.
So if a lack of confidence ever rises up as an obstacle to pursuing greatness or any accomplishment in your life, knock it down. Remember, insecurity is a liar and an unnecessary burden. Don’t get penned in by doubt. Break free. It might look ominous and impenetrable, but insecurity isn’t a very thick wall. The more you defy it, the faster it falls down.