I was recently working with a client who was gearing up to start a new job. She was so excited for this new chapter, but also concerned that her past fears would get in the way of her success. In her last job she became so self-conscious and insecure about the way she looked that it affected her ability to perform at her highest level at work.
I can so relate. There was a time in my life when my biggest concern was how I looked and what others thought about me. I would constantly size up the room and compare myself to the other people present – be they friends, co-workers, other actors, etc. I would look around and notice who was the most confident, who was the prettiest, who was the thinnest to see where I fit in. Which was usually somewhere on the bottom when I was in that mindset.
This way of thinking is such a heavy burden. It was a pattern that had a hard hold on me for a long time, until I made the conscious choice to shift it. Which is what I’m sharing with you today.
I’m giving you the exact same advice I shared with my client. And, please know, this works regardless of the circumstances. It doesn’t have to be within your career. It can be anytime you are feeling self-conscious and insecure.
Here are three actions you can take to help you start shifting today.
The best way to support yourself externally when you are feeling insecure and self-conscious is to take pride in your appearance. Take the time to put together an outfit you feel good in. Do your make-up and your hair. You want the last look in your mirror at home that morning to be one of confidence where you feel good.
My client decided she would go out and support herself by buying a couple new suits that fit and flattered her figure. These new items would act as a super power while she was at work. They would help empower her and fuel her self-esteem.
What we wear has a direct impact on how we feel about ourselves. It’s not only a form of creative expression, but it also demonstrates our essence. You can tell when someone cares about themselves. It not only comes across in their attitude, but also their clothing. Do not underestimate the power of clothes and style as a support mechanism.
We interrupt this program . . .
Think of that self-conscious, insecure voice as a recording that’s on repeat, because that’s really what it is. Patterns are exactly that. Recycled thoughts we think day to day to day. So, you must interrupt the program in order to change it.
The instant that you become aware of the comparing, “I’m not good enough” thinking, you must take action to stop the tape. You can simply say in your mind, “I interrupt this program,” and then bring your focus to what you are currently working on. You can do 5 jumping jacks. You can lay on the floor. You can smile really big. Or, you can come up with your own ritual.
It doesn’t really matter what you do. It only matters that your action is enough to break the negative loop playing in your mind.
Power exists in the present moment and when you are off in your head, you are totally NOT present to what’s in front of you. That’s another reason you MUST bring your attention back to this moment right here.
One last note, consistency is the key. You can’t just interrupt the pattern once and expect it to change instantaneously. Cause it probably won’t. It’s gotten very used to the path in your head. You will most likely have to apply your new ritual A LOT in the beginning. But, as your thought patterns start to change, you’ll be interrupting less and less.
Where the rubber meets the road.
This is where the juice is when addressing issues like these – the internal work. At the end of the day, how you feel in any circumstance is your choice. So, there is a reason that self-conscious part is coming up in certain circumstances.
I know for me, when I look back at that time period in my own life, I see a young woman who just wanted to be liked and to fit in. I just want to go back and give her a hug. And let her know how beautiful she really is.
I have a feeling this theme of wanting to be liked (or even loved) and fit in resonates with you in these circumstances. What this tells me is that there’s a part of you yearning for love and compassion. A part of you that is feeling alone and afraid.
Now is the time to muster up some courage and connect with her. You can find a photograph of yourself at an age where you first started experiencing these feelings of insecurity and look at that image regularly. Allow yourself to ‘see’ her (you) and share as much love and compassion as you can with her.
Today, I’m even brave enough to share one of those pictures with you. This is me at age 16 or 17, heading to the prom. (Now – mind you, this was the early 90’s, so big hair was in style. I’m not so sure about the dress though! Thank goodness my style has improved over the years!)
For a long time when I looked at that photo I felt tremendous shame. I hated that girl. I would deny it was me every chance I got. But, that’s not helping anyone. In fact, denying her was actually hurting me. I was the one still carrying the shame and hurt with me. (Click to Tweet)
Now I look at that girl and just love her. All she wanted was to be accepted. To feel good. To feel beautiful. To fit in. I couldn’t offer her that until a few years ago – which was a big key to my own healing.
This is a powerful step in the healing process. Try it out for yourself and see.
And, again, remember, consistency is key.
With love and admiration,