Carol Cassara's daily blog posts are inspirations for creating our best lives. There's nothing she likes better than helping women recreate themselves, whether it's helping them home in on a new career or reviving a blog or freelance writing career.
She is a lifelong writer (her first column was published when she was only 16!) who lives in northern California with two guys: her husband and her way-too-smart maltipoo. When she's not at her keyboard, she and her husband travel the world. The most amazing thing that's ever happened to her is that she and her first husband got remarried some 27 years after being divorced. Carol says her memoir about that reconciliation is a lot harder than it sounds like it should be.
Is Insecurity The New Black?
“What’s been the biggest surprise of midlife?” a younger friend asked me the other day. I’m sure she thought that I’d had some epiphany about my own life.
But that wasn’t it.
My biggest surprise in midlife is the number of wonderful women who are seriously insecure about themselves.
I look at these women and wonder, “where does this come from?”
They are capable women who have raised interesting and accomplished kids, sometimes juggling a job at the same time.
Single moms who have made good lives for their families.
Proficient women who have successes and achievements in their own right. Accomplishments they don’t seem to value, although if someone else achieved it, they’d be first to cheer and congratulate. I certainly value them.
Maybe this describes someone you know. Or even you.
Among women my age, insecurity may be the new black: that lack of confidence pulled out of the closet as often as the LBD. That feeling that makes us susceptible to people who have nothing good to say. I’m sure you know the ones. They serve up the backhanded compliment. The snarky criticism. They prey on insecurity.
So what’s going on?
We’re all insecure at times. The late Erich Fromm once said, “The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure but to tolerate insecurity.”
That’s because we all feel insecure about something at one time or another. It’s normal.
We can tolerate insecurity. But we don’t have to let it drive our self-esteem.
If insecurity is your little black dress, here are three easy steps to change up your “wardrobe.”
Steer clear of people who make you feel insecure. Maybe it’s inadvertent. But maybe it’s not. Maybe making others small is how they feel big. They handle their own insecurity by trying to make others feel it too.
Every so often I cull the list of people I spend time with. I’ve had to pull back from some because they emanate such negative energy. At the grocery few months ago I ran into someone I’ve known for a long time and see periodically. I’d just finished at the gym and wore a ratty old shirt and no makeup. I saw her look me up and down and I saw judgment. She gave me a compliment it was clear she didn’t mean. I laughed as I got in the car to go home and knew that I had no interest in spending time with this person again. Because I’d paged back in my book of memories in an instant and realized how much negative energy this woman put out.
Count your accomplishments. Make a list of all the successes in your life—and don’t worry, you have them. Post them in a spot that you will see every single day. And be sure to read them every day. Don’t forget to add to them regularly.
Whether it’s making the kind of apple pie your friends beg for or performing brain surgery, an accomplishment is an accomplishment. Not everyone will be a brain surgeon but everyone’s really good at something. Identify those somethings and pat yourself on the back for them.
Strut your stuff. Don’t worry, only you can see your little black dress of insecurity. Everyone else sees a beautiful person with much to be proud of. So hold your head high. It’s ok to know yourself and be proud of your strengths.
By the time we get to midlife, we know ourselves pretty well. But sometimes it’s helpful to reintroduce ourselves to our strengths. Go ahead! And introduce us, too. I hope you’ll share your strengths in the comments section below.
I love this advice! Especially the last part. Reintroducing myself to my strengths is what this blog is all about. After losing myself in motherhood, I reconnected with my love of writing, rediscovering a valuable passion and talent that has led to discovery and happiness.
And now I am working to develop my photography skills. I am just entering mid life, but I'm loving it so far. Thanks for reminding us what a rewarding time in our lives this can be, Carol!