zen habits : breathe

The Guide to Insecurities You’ve Been Waiting For

By Leo Babauta

Everyone feels insecurity. It’s a part of our lives, which are filled with uncertainty, no matter how much we want to get rid of that uncertainty.

We often use the term “insecure” to negatively label a person who doubts themselves, but in truth, no one is free from feeling insecure. We feel self-doubt, we feel anger that stems from a feeling of insecurity, we feel fear and groundlessness and frustration. All of this comes from the insecurity of the uncertainty of life.

And none of it is a problem.

It’s not a problem that we feel insecure sometimes. It’s not a problem to feel fear or self-doubt or anger or frustration. These are just feelings, and they come up in response to the uncertainty of the world.

The problem comes from how we deal with the feeling of insecurity. We might curl up and hide, lash out at someone in a hurtful way, harden our rigid views of the world so that everyone else is wrong and we’re continually angry. We might procrastinate and run to distraction, use social media to avoid feeling insecurity, try to control others or the world around us to end the feeling of insecurity.

And so in this guide, I’m going to share a method for dealing with feelings of insecurity that are more helpful. But first, let’s dive a little more into where the feelings of insecurity come up, and how we usually deal with it.

Cause & Effect of Insecurities

Let’s look at some common examples of feeling insecure, where the feelings come from, and how people often react:

As you can see, these situations (and there are many more common situations involving insecurity) all have a couple things in common:

  1. Cause is uncertainty: Our lives are uncertain. Projects and tasks and events and trips and activities are uncertain. Relationships and how other people act and what they think of us are all filled with uncertainty. Our minds feel this as a kind of insecurity, felt within the body. And then it triggers a thought pattern about ourselves, about the situation, about the other people.
  2. Common reactions are unhelpful: We avoid, shut down, run away, procrastinate, lash out at others, complain, beat ourselves up, run to distractions, shut our hearts to others, limit ourselves. These are not usually helpful patterns, but they are the ways that we habitually deal with the feeling of insecurity.

We can’t avoid the feeling of insecurity in our vastly uncertain lives. But we can find more helpful ways of dealing with the feeling.

A More Helpful Method

In short, a more helpful way of dealing with this feeling of uncertainty is to just stay in it. Learn to be OK in it. In fact, learn to see the deliciousness in it, so that we no longer have to run to our old patterns.

Here’s how I’d recommend working with the feeling of insecurity:

  1. Drop in. Notice that you’re feeling a feeling of insecurity in this moment, and drop your attention from your thoughts about the situation to the sensations in your body. Stay here for a moment, turning towards in with curiosity.
  2. Don’t act on your feeling of insecurity. Whatever you do, don’t take action from this place of insecurity. Not yet. Notice your first urge, what action you want to take … but don’t follow the urge. It might be to judge someone, complain, lash out, run to distractions, procrastinate, comfort yourself, shut your heart down, hide, avoid, quit. Don’t take that action. Just stay in the insecurity for now.
  3. Relax into it. We often feel tension and anxiety around having a feeling of insecurity. Allow yourself to relax into it, relaxing the muscles in your body that have tensed up because of the feeling of insecurity. Open your mind to this feeling, allowing it to be there, finding more curiosity about it.
  4. See that you’re OK. Sitting there in the insecurity, not acting, relaxing into it … you can check to see if you’re OK. Can you breathe deep into your belly? If so, you’re OK. You’re not in physical danger. The world isn’t literally falling apart, even if it feels a bit like it. You’re OK. Feel the goodness in your heart, that’s always there. Feel your OK-ness.
  5. Be centered in the midst of it. The feeling of insecurity hasn’t gone away, but neither have you. You’re sitting or standing in the middle of a sea of insecurity, feeling into it, relaxing into it, centering yourself in stillness. Feel your breath. Be the presence & consciousness in the center of the chaos.
  6. Find joy, gratitude & deliciousness. In the middle of this feeling of insecurity, see if you can find a little gratitude for being in this space, alive and witnessing the beauty of chaos. See if you can find a little of its nourishing deliciousness, filling yourself up with the life force of insecurity. See if you can find joy, being alive right now, fully feeling your insecurity. It’s not a problem, this feeling, it’s a beautiful experience.

Through this practice, we start to change our relationship to this feeling of insecurity. It’s not a problem, it’s completely OK. We can be friendly with it instead of needing to get away from it or banish it. It’s just a part of our human experience, nothing to panic about.

And from this place of OK-ness, we can start to find the deliciousness in this experience, the joy in it, and witness the awesome beauty of this moment, insecurity and all.

If you’d like to train in this kind of uncertainty, please join my Fearless Training Program. We’re going to relish in this kind of training, together.


See all posts »

Join two million breath-taking readers: rss | email | twitter | facebook