I’ve struggled with self-worth issues and insecurities most of my life. I know it’s a common struggle for many people. I was never a part of the “cool crowd” growing up. I was tall and lanky with red hair and freckles, and always felt like an ugly duckling.
Some kids were super smart, others were super cute, there were the naturally cool kids, and the quick-on-their-feet funny kids. I didn’t fit into any of those categories. I was bullied for most of my school career... I was made fun of, lots of name calling, signs on my back, spat on, publicly humiliated, ganged up on, and more. I hated going to school on many occasions. It was a very toxic environment for me.
All that being said, I did have a few very close friends who I’m still tight with today. I moved away from Calgary after College and wanted to start a new journey. I tried to detach myself from the toxicity and moved around a bit. I lived in Vancouver, Japan, New York, and eventually landed in Toronto. I worked as a model, became an actress, changed my mind countlessly about my career path, bought a condo, traveled a bunch, and had some amazing life experiences. I was feeling stronger.
However, even though my confidence had grown over the years, I found that I couldn’t completely detach myself from unhealthy situations. Toxic people continued to enter my life and periodically I’d find myself in destructive patterns. When you don’t like yourself you feel that you don’t deserve to be in supportive and nourishing environments.
After I had come back to Toronto from actually a very positive and life-changing experience at Theater School in NYC, approximately 14 years ago, I started seeing a therapist. That was one of the last ingredients I needed to finally deal with a lot of old cr*p I was carrying around with me.
I was dealing with my sh*t. I highly recommend that everyone deals with their sh*t. We all have it and if you don’t deal with it, it really blocks up your life.
The combination of venturing out, having amazing and crazy life experiences, and seeing a therapist allowed me to separate myself from all the toxicity I was attached to, both on the inside and the outside. When I was 30 years old I purged myself of all the poisonous people who were in my life at that time. Wow! Was that life altering. It may sound simple, but when you include all your friends, family members, and colleagues in that list it’s quite a task. At least it was for me.
I’m now married to an amazing guy, we’re raising a very entertaining little girl, I run a number of businesses, and have the most incredibly loving and supportive group of friends. I am very blessed, and one thing I know for certain is that once I dealt with all my “stuff”, I opened up the door for all of that awesomeness to enter my life.
Then something happened…
I began working with a brilliant business coach Amy K, and one of my commitments during that time was to write 10 blog posts. The posts had to integrate what I'm all about.
Kelsey as an entrepreneur.
Kelsey as a wife & mother.
Kelsey as a woman in business, etc.
So I wrote my first three posts and sent them to Amy. The feedback I got was super positive and I felt really good about what I was contributing. Then I had my husband read them, and he looked directly in my eyes and complimented me on how fantastic my posts were.
I thanked him and felt great, but I also started to feel emotional. My eyes welled up a bit and I was surprised that his lovely compliment had such an impact on me. They were 3 simple little blog posts, so where was this coming from?
I brought it up with Amy and I talked about how self doubt and insecurities still have a way of rearing their ugly heads when you least expect it. I didn’t feel confident about what I was writing, but I didn’t realize it until I fully accepted the praise.
That’s the one I was ready to kick to the curb. I thought I had dealt with it years ago, but it’s sneaky!
When it manifests itself the outcome is self-sabotage.
I am constantly putting off writing the two books I have on the go. I procrastinate, make excuses, and get in my own way.
Sound familiar? It is so common and it’s all driven by fear. The fear of being rejected, judged, criticized or publicly humiliated is greater than the fear of the results of not taking action.
So how do I do that? I make the decision to embrace my fears. I recognize they are real and I nurture them like I do when my 8 year old daughter has a fear. It's okay to have fears...they are there to protect us, but they can also hold us hostage.
Recognize them, put your arm around them, and then remember WHY it's so important to move forward. You're fear can join you on the journey, but it will no longer stop you in your tracks.
Everyday I commit to one or two actions that will support my decisions of WHY moving forward it important. WHY contributing, growing and achieving is crucial...WHY it's fine if people don't like what I have to offer...WHY it's okay to be scared, but more important to keep the momentum going.
Something else to think about is WHO. When you grow and contribute to this world, you are doing it in a way that no one else can. There is no human being on this planet who is exactly like you and you are here for a reason. You're contributions will not only impact your life, but the lives of your loved ones, your community, and beyond. Don't allow insecurity or fear to stop you from offering your gifts to the world. We need them.
top image / Blake Lisk @ UNSPLASH
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