The [Quick and Dirty] Guide to Dealing with Chronic Fear, Doubt, and Insecurity
Stay calm. Take a deep breath. Meditate. Find your truth.
After twenty-something years of dealing with fear and doubt in various areas of my life, I’ve decided that traditional methods of overcoming chronic insecurity aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
It’s not that they don’t work. It’s that they don’t work for every situation and circumstance.
Yea, it would be great to get to the bottom of what’s bothering you and meditate your way into a coma of warm fuzzies, but the truth of the matter is, sometimes you don’t have the time. Sometimes you don’t have the patience. And every once in awhile, you kinda sorta wanna murder anyone coming near you with a yoga mat and tranquil smile on their face.
(Just me? Oh, ok. *insert awkward silence here*)
If the take-a-deep breath route isn’t floating your boat, here are my nontraditional strategies that will help you kick fear, doubt, and insecurity’s ass and get right on back to the incredible work you’re meant to be doing!
Traditional Wisdom: Pause. Reflect. Find your truth.
The LC Coleman Method: Cold shoulder, baby.
You’re smack dab in the middle of a productivity spree when all of a sudden, a wave of intense doubt and fear about the road you’re on comes crashing down. What to do?
Traditional wisdom encourages you to pause, and reflect on where the fear is coming from. But seriously, who has the time (read: patience) for all that?
Try completely ignoring your fears instead.
If you are an older sibling, you likely already have this tactic down pat. For those of y’all new to the cold shoulder routine, it goes a little something like this: Someone (likely your younger sibling) does something that gets on your nerves. Instead of giving them the response they are looking for, you ignore them until they GO. AWAY. (Repeat as necessary.)
Often times you’ll find that the concentration it takes to go through the motions of whatever act that fear interrupted – finishing that blog post, writing up that contract, sending that resume – will be enough to take your mind off of your momentary attack of insecurity.
Traditional Wisdom: Stay calm.
The LC Coleman Method: Get angry.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a very calm person . . . ever. So the idea of staying calm, cool, and collected while negative emotions are trying to hijack my positive momentum is not even close to being realistic!
Instead, I go with the one emotion more powerful than fear: Anger.
If ignoring your fears doesn’t work, try getting angry. Get pissed at your fears. Get pissed at your doubts. Get pissed at all the people who have ever told you that it couldn’t be done; all of the people that told you that you, specifically, couldn’t do it.
(Note: Never ever get mad at yourself for FEELING insecure. Get mad at the insecurity itself.)
My silent rant goes a little something like this:
Ugh! I was right in the middle of something juicy! Fear of failure, you can kiss my $&%#! And for all of y’all out there who said I would never make it, who told me to give up before I even got started – stand back and watch me work! There’s no freaking way I’m stopping now. I’ve come waaaaay too &$@&$ far! Sit back, shut up, and enjoy the ride!
If you’re anything like me, at this point you’ll be more than ready to tackle the task at hand – out of pure, unadulterated stubbornness if nothing else.
Traditional Wisdom: Meditate.
The LC Coleman Method: Write an eviction notice.
So, your wanna-be-BFF, Insecurity, is still hanging around, eh? Ignoring it didn’t work. Getting mad didn’t do much good either.
Time to bring out the big guns: a strongly worded letter.
(If you are over the age of thirteen and don’t see the value in occasionally writing a strongly worded letter to those evil parts of your self-conscience (otherwise known as fear, doubt, insecurity, or Never-In-My-Life-Will-I-Do-That-Again), I seriously wish I lived your life.)
For everyone else: An eviction letter. A letter of resignation. A re-orientation memo. A “we’re breaking up” Facebook note.
Pick one. Address it to the negative emotion in question and get to writing!
(The key here is making sure to name drop all of your significant accomplishments to date, including but not limited to: childhood circumstances you’ve overcome; haters you’ve silenced; dreams you’ve already made come true; misc. awards, honors, degrees; and that time your best friend borrowed your favorite pair of shoes without asking and you DIDN’T strangle her – staying out of jail #ftw)
A reminder of how awesome you are goes a long way on days you’re not feeling 100%.
Traditional wisdom: Give up.
The LC Coleman Method: Find a friend to do your dirty work.
You’ve tried everything under the sun, but your insecurity attack is still winning the battle of Good vs. Evil. At this point, my friend, you need some reinforcements!
Your friends and family members may not understand every choice you make or every dream you chase, but for some crazy, awesome reason, they still love you and want you to be happy. So often we’re afraid of letting anyone know that while we may look successful on the outside, we’re feeling a little broke down and insecure on the inside.
While your instinct may be to hide under your covers and avoid the outside world like the plague, the truth is there is no better time to be surrounded by your die-hard fans (i.e. other change agents, friends, mentors and supporters of you and your dreams) than right after you’ve hit a bump in the road. These are the folks who will fill your head, heart and inbox with the empathy and support you need to remind you why you were so passionate to begin with… and why you can’t give up.
Find them. Make them tell your fear, doubt, and insecurity (those pesky motha lovers!) to go away so you don’t have to.
Did I miss anything? Am I being too much of an angry black woman? Lol. How do you deal when your negative emotions are clogging up all of your prime emotional real estate?