The other day, I was sending my editor some of my posts and I got this knot in my stomach and this feeling of utter insecurity overcame me. I sent her the following email.
I have to tell you that I feel a little insecure about the posts I sent to you last night. I’m not sure why. I know that mastering vulnerability is a significant part of my journey in this life, but I must say … I have a knot in my stomach. And the thoughts that I’m battling are “they are not good enough, clear enough, and they don’t have enough meaning,” which translates to “you’re not good enough” in my head. A familiar echo that has followed me all my life.
Overcoming this little internal feedback is really what my journey in this life is all about. I know this. And I think it’s to help others overcome it too. To rise above and beyond our feelings of worthlessness and not being “good enough.”
Oy. I feel an honest blog coming on (again!).
Thanks for listening.
You may wonder why I’m sharing this email with you. Well, for all the words I’ve written to you and for all the many more that I’ll write, I must tell you—not a day goes by that I don’t feel vulnerable, and at times, frightened about sharing my intimate thoughts with you, my fears, my desires, my hopes, my life.
Some days the vulnerability doesn’t feel bad. It feels good to be close and to share with you (intimacy). And other days the vulnerability is really scary for me. You know what’s interesting, though? It’s not my thoughts that I’m sharing that give me the sense of fear. It’s your thoughts about receiving my thoughts that frightens me the most—what you’ll think of me and my words. I guess that’s my hardwiring showing itself. In those moments when I’m most vulnerable that hardwiring still tries to kick in as a failsafe to ensure that I don’t short circuit.
This is what my failsafe has looked like all my life:
Vulnerability/Insecurity = Withdraw, run, shutdown
I think it’s safe to say that throughout my life, my greatest fear has been not being enough, and that no matter what I gave—of myself—it was never enough, because I was not enough. “Not being enough” includes not being good enough, quick enough, thoughtful enough, smart enough, intuitive enough, brave enough, intimate enough, considerate enough, lovable enough, pretty enough.… Then there’s the shame and insecurity that comes with not being enough [of something]. And then, the fear of loss.
In continuing to work through this fear, I’m sometimes reminded—in moments like the one I shared with my editor—that we are all human, and no matter how much we strive for and achieve growth, we are all, most likely forever, works in progress, in some way, shape, or form.
I strive for my failsafe to look like the formula below:
Vulnerability/Security = Intimacy, safety, comfort
And it’s in moments like these—when we’re striving to be our best selves—that I’m most aware that the people with whom we surround ourselves can truly make all the difference in our search for meaning and the subsequent evolution of our souls.
Having “safe” people in my life helps me to learn how to engage a moment of uncomfortable insecurity, honor the feeling, own it as my own (not something someone else did to make me feel that way), express it to my safe person, and then move through it and beyond it. These safe people are teaching me intimacy and how to stay connected to the feeling of intimacy.
It’s likely you have safe people in your life too. Safe people are the ones who don’t hit your triggers (see Getting Our Buttons Pushed: Or So We Think) and with whom your connection transcends your shortcomings.
Safe people help us to rise up when we’re feeling a bit low, cheerlead for us when we’re feeling that we need someone in our corner, and offer comfort and support when we’re feeling frightened, uneasy, ashamed, insecure, or insecurely vulnerable. They are compassionately honest with us—we can count on their honesty—and they choose not to placate us.
In turn, we honor them, recognize the relationship is not a one-way street, and understand that they’re not our crutch. They are our soulmates. Yes, I said it. In one way, shape, or form, they get us, we get them, and there’s an innate synching—a soft place to land—a soulful, evolved connection. (For clarity’s sake, I’ll call these people “safe souls” rather than soul mates from now on.)
I am so thankful for the new safe souls in my life—everyone who has started to surround me as I live out my life’s mission.
And, I am oh so thankful for all of you, friends. I can feel your connection, even in the absence of a physical one. I can feel your cheerleader vibe. And please know there are times when I need it and I bathe in it.
You see, folks, all this writing is … all these thoughts are … uniquely mine. But all this strength? All this tenacity and grit to face down my biggest, most frightening of fears? It’s because of each of you and the safety that my ever-growing pack of safe souls provides me.
There are some things that we can do alone in this life, and there are some things that we needn’t brave alone. I used to feel as though I needed to do everything on my own because I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone (remember I felt worthless and thus unworthy).
Now I realize that I don’t want to do this website/blog/mission alone. I want to be open and connected with people. All people. And for the first time in my life, I realize that I need people. Safe people. And needing them doesn’t make me any less capable or able … It makes me so much more.
So search your rolodex, friends, make a list of your safe people, and list why they’re safe. If your pickins are slim, start checking in with yourself, get to know your shortcomings. It may be that until you truly get straight with who you are (and I mean really are), you may not recognize a safe person if they bopped you on the head with a two-by-four.
Alternatively, you may realize that those people in your life who are in slots that should make them safe (e.g., spouses, partners, family, etc.), aren’t. That says a lot (a whole lot) too.
Remember, there’s meaning in everything and everyone.
Here’s to the search for meaning … and a soft, safe place to land.
Until next time, friends,