Insecurity and How it Takes the Lead

We all have insecurities. Sometimes they are ones that developed in our childhood, sometimes they can be circumstantial. We can have insecurities about the way we look, a skill that we lack, the way we parent, our abilities at work. Our insecurities can be tied to our sense of esteem or confidence, and they can be long lasting or fleeting. In any case, insecurities tend to take the lead. When feeling vulnerable, we often let our insecurity speak the loudest:

“There is no way I can handle this.”

“I hate the way I look in this dress.”

“No one will want to eat this.”

“I always sound stupid at social gatherings.”

“You’ll do it because I said so.”

“I will never get a better job.”

It is important to remember that we can’t outrun our insecurities. And because our insecure thoughts tend to be rigid and laced with criticism, they feel much more authoritative and we lean into believing them.

The reality; however, is that we are not meant to criticise ourselves. Learn from our mistakes? Absolutely. Belittle ourselves? Nope. Our soul, our life force, our inner core would never want that for ourselves. The first step is to recognize when we have allowed our insecurities to take the lead. It is from here that we can begin to identify what needs to change and begin our journey to become more secure in ourselves and our abilities. With time and effort, we can win the race. 🙂

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The Power of “I am”

Words matter. Ask anyone who has been criticized in their childhood, or bullied with words, and they will tell you that it has long lasting effects.

The way we speak to ourselves; therefore, matters. Our internal dialogue is often automatic and we can carry with us the words heard (and now believed) from childhood. Repeat after me:

I am worthless.

I am ugly.

I am unlovable.

We can play around with the words “I am” to incorporate almost anything negative. “I will never meet anyone.” “No matter how hard I try, nothing ever works out for me.” “I have a black cloud following me around.”

We can call it a self-fulfilling prophesy; or we can look at it as the energy that we are sending out into the world. In either case, the result is the same – when we say those words to ourselves, we hear them. And we live them.

It is important to recognize the power of “I am.” Repeat after me:

I am worthy.

I am beautiful.

I am lovable.

Take a deep breath, and say them again. And again. And again. Take any negative statement that has been created in you, and change it. Say it before you believe it. Be determined. It will change how you see yourself, and you will begin to see results.

I am capable. I am worth it. I am brave. I am here for me.

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Important Self-Care Words

When we think about self-care, we often think about the things we do to support and honour ourselves and the time we set aside in order to achieve those tasks. Here is a reminder of some self-care words that, being on our radar, help us to create a satisfying and joyful life:

  • Growth. Are we moving forward? Creating goals for ourselves? The path to progress is movement.
  • Acceptance. Of ourselves; of others. Of knowing that we often can only control our reaction to something or someone.
  • Creativity. Such an important element – for a healthy ‘fill up’, accomplishment and joy.
  • Soulful. How are we feeding our soul? Connecting with our inner spirit is an important element of self-care.
  • Nurturing. Not only of ourselves, but of the loved ones in our lives.
  • Balance. Pretty much the key to everything.
  • Connection. We can find many ways to feel connected to others and ourselves – building our time wisely.
  • Joy. Let us not underestimate the power of feeling contentedness and joy; we can strive for it through our self-care goals.
  • Kindness. Kindness matters – always.

Adopting these words into our overall self-care needs and goals, we aim towards creating a routine for ourselves that best supports us.

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The Importance of Self-love

I came across this quote by Kim McMillen:

“When I loved myself, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” – Kim McMillen

How many times do we fail to see our value? Perhaps we have been in a job or relationship so long, we feel worn away. Perhaps we feel that to leave it means we have failed.

I love the line “My judgement called it disloyal; now I see it as self-loving,” as it implies that in order to stay, we have compromised or misread our value system; the truth it would seem, was found within.

I then came across a poem entitled “Self Love” by Lang Leav – it sums up perfectly what I am attempting to convey:

Self Love

Once when I was running, from all that haunted me: to the dark I was succumbing – to what hurt unbearably.

Searching for the one thing, that would set my sad soul free.

In time, I stumbled upon it, an inner calm and peace; and now I am beginning to see and to believe, in who I am becoming – and all that I’ve yet to be.

– Lang Leav

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A Thoughtful Poem About Body Image

A poem by Hollie Holden has caught my attention:

Today I asked my body what she needed,

Which is a big deal.

Considering my journey of 

Not Really Asking That Much.

I thought she might need water

Or protein

Or greens

Or yoga

Or supplements

Or movement.

But as I stood in the shower

Reflecting on her stretch marks,

Her roundness where I would like flatness,

Her softness where I would like firmness,

All those conditioned wishes

That form a bundle of 


She whispered very gently:

Could you just love me like this?

– Hollie Holden

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The Importance of Connection

I have just come back from a lovely weekend away with three friends. There were many contributions to what made this weekend a wonderful example of self-care:

  • a beautiful setting. The cabin was rustic; the view was fabulous. Sitting on the front porch to see the pristine lake, a resident friendly duck and a painted turtle that liked to keep popping his head out of the water. Nature at its best will always provide the perfect setting for peace and healing.
  • wonderful food. Rich with flavours, bright with colour – a little bit of indulgence goes a long way to self-care.
  • fun drinks and some upbeat music; impromptu dance parties are simply the best.
  • the opportunity to relax, read a book by the water, taking a walk to explore. Unplugging to re-charge. 🙂

And by far, what amounts to the best contributor to self-care? Connection. The copious amounts of laughter, the story-telling, the sharing of our lives, a few (good) tears, and the knowledge that faced with any challenge in life, your friends will be there for you, cheering you on and lifting you up. That is quite a blessing indeed.

Photo credit: Me! That was the name of our cottage 🙂


Let’s ask the question “Is Self-Care Selfish?”

I often hear in therapy that “self-care feels selfish.” One of the things we explore when first hearing this statement surrounds a person’s understanding of why they feel that way.

If we tend to be someone who self-sacrifices or is a people-pleaser, self-care does not come naturally. Hence, the feeling that we are being selfish. Other times our busy lives dictate this feeling. Running around with little kids, having a commitment laden job, or trying to manage work and home life can sometimes throw time for yourself on the back burner. Giving any thought to self-care feels self-absorbed. Perhaps growing up we didn’t witness our own parents pursuing a personal interest or spending time on their own with friends.

Self-care is not about self-preoccupation.  In fact, when we ascribe to self-care practices, we allow ourselves to better take care of those we love. When we have the ability to first recognize and then begin to practice the art of balanced self-care, we have more calm energy. We have spent some time purposely feeding our comfort system. This leaves us less frazzled, less overwhelmed, less crabby. We have a better us to present to our family and friends.

Self-care is not selfish, is it an act of love that we choose not only for ourselves, but for those we love as well. 🙂

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A Thought Worth Considering

When we are wrestling with whether or not we say yes to something that has been requested of us, we can keep this saying in mind:  “Don’t confuse my free time with my availability.” 

This is perhaps something we need to consider before saying yes. Perhaps we have set aside an entire day to do nothing but putter. Cross a few things off the list, enjoy choosing our own pace to the day, deciding how we want to spend our time moving between productivity and relaxation. Technically we are free. And so when someone asks of us a favour, we may begin to feel guilty if we don’t say yes. We may begin pushing the limits to our perception of what we perceive to be selfish.

In our examination of “Do I have the time, energy and support available to me to agree?” question, the distinction between free time and availability becomes an important one. The value we place on how we recharge our serenity is important and worthy of consideration.

Free time versus availability…a thought worth considering 🙂

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Re-Charge Our Serenity

I often speak of our comfort system – our relaxed state – and how we are meant to be there most of the time. For many people, the pace of life, anxiety or the lingering effects of trauma  keeps them in their fight-or-flight system most of time. This can lead us to feeling frayed, frazzled, overwhelmed and exhausted. A past client once spoke about how he goes to water to ‘recharge my serenity.’ He spoke about growing up near Lake Superior and how going to any body of water and getting out in his fishing boat for an evening or an afternoon helps him to recharge.

I  am drawn to the way he described the process of moving from an anxious or overworked state to a relaxed one. When we consciously make choices to recharge our serenity, we are inviting peace and calmness into ourselves; we become more aware of our spirit.

And so let us make sure that recharging our serenity is a part of our daily plan – getting outside in nature, through prayer, meditation and gratitude, through seeking meaningful connection with others, through music, quiet time, laughter, the purposeful seeking of joy. Creating the space for the recharge will help us to feel grounded and settled.

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Daily Non-Negotiable

When we think about the importance of self-care, it tends to encompass many things. Sometimes it is making sure that the pace of our day is balanced; it can mean the setting of boundaries, the things we consciously choose to do to feed our comfort system; the ways in which we rest, use our senses to self-soothe, feel at peace. Whatever our chosen means of feeling grounded, it is our tendency to set ourselves aside when our days get busy – when we feel frazzeled or frayed, we are actually less likely to lean into our self-care strategies.

Perhaps that is why it is important to wake up each day and ask ourselves, “What is my self-care, non-negotiable for today?” For those who take comfort in routine, their non-negotiable is something they tend to take comfort in doing every day; mine for example comes in the form of a walk. Within an hour of the sun rising, with the blues and yellows of the morning sun, and the air fresh – it sets my day.

For others, their non-negotiable might contain variety; perhaps it is a walk one day, a relaxing drive with tunes on the next, a bath, a meditation, a warm cup of tea while sitting in solitude.

In any case, the lesson comes from setting aside time in our day – just for us. When we make it a part of our day, it reminds us to slow down and relish the art of designing our own lives and how we want our day to feel.

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