The Insecurity Evolution

Last day at my current job! Woo!

Ok, now the real post.

Maybe they’re on my brain because I’m starting the new could-be-the-dream job, but I feel like I’ve been thinking a lot about insecurities lately.

I think everyone has their thing. You know. The thing that keeps you at the bathroom mirror a few seconds longer. The one that makes you shy away from pencil skirts or sleeveless tops. The one that keeps your hair long or your makeup a touch heavier. Or the one that makes you laugh louder or speak up less.

We all have something that makes us feel less adequate, whether it’s all the time or just every once in a while.

I’ve written about my own insecurities a few times. (After all, overcoming the bulk of them was what helped me score a spot in Glamour magazine and a guest post on Espresso & Cream.)

But one thing I’ve only recently become aware of is how insecurities can evolve.

For example, growing up, I was always conscious of my crooked teeth and big feet. Braces straightened the teeth and a growth spurt (sort of) balanced out the feet, but puberty was less kind in other ways. Suddenly I was tortured about the size of my thighs, and later, the flatness of my stomach, the jiggle of my upper arms, the fullness of my face, blah, blah, blah.

Healthier living and healthier thinking helped me outgrow and get over most of those insecurities (though I’d be a bold-faced liar if I said I never had a day where I dismissed skinny jeans because, well, I just wasn’t feeling all that skinny that day), but the really interestinghorrible part about growing up is that just because you outgrow or get over one (or nine) insecurities doesn’t mean you’re good for life.

Over the past few months, every time I see a picture of myself I think, “Hmm…is my forehead…big? Like, weirdly big? And have my teeth gotten more crooked? Maybe I should have replaced that broken retainer…” Plus, you already know my issues with the crooked nose. And I’ve always wanted to be about four inches taller.

I think the biggest difference between these insecurities and the ones that plagued me in the past, though, is that I just don’t care as much. Sure, I wouldn’t be devastated if they suddenly went away, but I don’t let it affect my entire life like I used to. I would never describe myself as an insecure person.

Part of that is due to a revelation I had when I was at my worst in terms of insecurities. I remember being in my car crying about something or other I didn’t like about myself (because I am queen of the driving breakdown…super safe, obviously), and suddenly having this flash of, “Oh my GOD, would you get over yourself?”

It was kind of a startling moment. But the fact is, insecurities are petty and selfish. There are people with real problems out there. The size of my jeans is not a real problem.

I think, in general, people know this. Usually when you’re freaking out about something like what your shoulders look like in a tank top, you’re just not thinking clearly. You’re obsessing. You’re fixating. The biggest thing you lack is not muscle tone — it’s perspective.

Really, the gaining of perspective is probably the real biggest insecurity evolution I’ve experienced. So when I’m frustrated that my torso is kind of short or that my ribs are so wide it looks like I have no boobs at all (it’s a real thing, I swear), I let myself have a, “Well thanks A LOT, genetics!” moment, and then I roll my eyes and get on with life.

Because, en general, I’m good. I’m fine. And I’m thankful that my biggest problem is filling out a bathing suit.

Do you think your insecurities have evolved as you’ve gotten older? Would you describe yourself as an insecure person? And, spill: What’s your lamest insecurity? It can’t be worse than wide ribs or a (possibly?) large forehead.