“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.” – Brené Brown
I came across this quote on twitter this morning (tweeted by @theparentcue), and it deeply resonated with me. Just last night I was talking to a close friend about how insecurity connects all of our fears and doubts in life, giving them the power to produce incapacitating stress and anxiety. One insecurity leads to another, and then another, until everything in your life seems completely hopeless.
“Dang, I messed that up. I’m so stupid.”
“Everyone else around me must know how stupid I am. They probably all hate me.”
“If everyone else hates me, then why should I like myself?”
“If I don’t even like myself, I must not be worth anything.”
“If I’m not worth anything, then why am I even here? My life is a big mistake.”
“If my life is a big mistake, then certainly God doesn’t care about me… if He even exists out there at all.”
It can be so easy to get stuck in one of these self-defeating mindsets, and to allow it to escalate beyond your control. I have done this time after time in my life, and I’m sure you have too. Where does it start? With a simple insecurity.
It is so true that when people don’t build their lives on a solid foundation of love and belonging, they will not have the courage to simply be themselves. Why? Because being themselves would mean putting their imperfections on display for the world to see. And how can you be brave enough to do that when you are unable to accept that you are loved, cherished, and valued?
As I have been working through my journey at braverthanbefore.com, and as I have had open conversations day after day with people who are struggling through the same issues as I am, it has become increasingly clear that we don’t just have anxiety problems. We have a problem that is much more central to the core of our beings than that. Our problem is that insecurity is feeding these vicious lies into our hearts and minds, and we seem to be none the wiser! Instead, we start to regard the lies as truth and, in doing so, we allow them to manipulate and control us. It’s like an unseen mind control drug that is quietly and covertly being fed to every person on the planet!
The more I look at my struggles this way, the more I realize that it is possible to overcome them. I have lived for 30 years as a total perfectionist, practically killing myself so that I could find the validation I have always been looking for. But I have found this to be a faulty and invalid method of soliciting acceptance. So it’s time for a new strategy, and I think Brené Brown’s quote is a good place to start.
I genuinely do believe that having a strong sense of love and belonging will give me the courage to be imperfect. For me, there is only one source of unconditional love and belonging in this world, and that is the all-powerful God of the universe.
At this point I want to say that I know and appreciate that my blog is followed by a wide variety of people who represent many different backgrounds, faiths, and ideologies. I want you to know that regardless of your beliefs, you are a valued part of my readership; and when I talk about God, my hope is not to alienate you or chase you away. Rather, I simply want to be honest with my experience, and hope/expect that you will do the same on your own platform. If we are willing to talk openly about our worldviews, without judgement, bias, or prejudice, perhaps we will find a deeper sense of the belonging that we are searching for!
In my worldview, I am loved by a God who created me to display His great image and to be a part of His family. In my worldview, there is no greater sense of belonging and love than the one that is found in a relationship with this compassionate God. And in my worldview, the starting point and foundation for overcoming insecurity is to allow the creator to define the created. In other words, if I believe that I am created by a God who loves me, it only makes sense for me to look to Him for an understanding of who I am, how I am loved, and where I belong. In doing so, I will find the courage to be imperfect. I will find the courage to just be me.
Whether you agree or disagree, I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you ever find your own self-defeating mindset escalating out of control? If so, how do you respond to it? Do you have a strong sense of love and belonging? Where does it come from? Tell me about your worldview!