Michael Costigan is a 17 – year-old from Orange County, CA. He is a social entrepreneur, public speaker, and truly enjoys helping other’s better understand teen related issues. You can follow him at www.SpeakingofMichael.com
What makes someone insecure? And when someone recognizes that insecurity, what prevents them from fighting it off? Allow me to play the ʻknow-it-allʼ for a few minutes. Most of my writing is generically termed as being motivational. For those of you who have read my articles, youʼll know that most of what I write sounds great, but doesnʼt always take you the other 50% of the way. Thatʼs because motivation isnʼt that other 50%. That other 50% is you. Strictly and solely you.
If you read, watch, or hear something empowering youʼll probably have a tiny window afterwards where youʼre left with a feeling of inspiration — a moment where you can either be a self-cynic or get up and do something about your insecurity. Maybe after reading this youʼll have that feeling, maybe you wonʼt. If you donʼt, Iʼm telling you right now to get up and do something. Youʼre losing out if you donʼt. Trivialize it all you want, it doesnʼt matter to me.
Every teen is insecure about themselves and their future. I sure as heck am at times. But I think it holds you back, I think sometimes you can be your biggest barrier. In my opinion, thinking about how things “could be” or “should be” is the wrong way to think about things. Youʼre placing a limiting factor on when you can make a change to your life. Everything you are, everything you want to become, and everything you can become doesnʼt start in the future, it starts when you want it to.
1. If itʼs not now, it IS never.
Insecurities are a game youʼre losing in your mind. If youʼre going to win, youʼre going to have to trick yourself into thinking you will win. You can push something off for as long as you like. Your loss. Your discomfort. Believe me, being angry is a good thing. I hope this post makes you angry. Set up a new game against your insecurities. Right now youʼre either like, “The author of this post is delusional” or “He sounds stupid”, I donʼt care, but evidently you do. How badly are you willing to disprove to yourself that youʼre powerless, that youʼre incapable of changing who you are in order to wake up tomorrow without the heaviness of being helpless. Thereʼs a winner and thereʼs a loser. The worst part is theyʼre the same person — you. The only difference between the two is how you react. You canʼt control what happens to you, and itʼs sometimes even harder to control your own thoughts. So quit trying to and start controlling your response. Use your insecurity to fuel your drive to be stronger, better, independent.
2. Donʼt expect instantaneous change. Do expect Change.
Insecurities are perceived. Perceiving unrealistic things is a bad habit. Itʼs like imagining thereʼs a glass door in front of you when thereʼs not. Itʼs just awkward. Overwriting bad habits is only easy to do if you have new habits to replace the bad ones with. You need to identify what the bad habits are and determine what you will use to substitute. Thiscan be as trivial or as serious as you make it to be. If you train yourself to say “Pluck” every time youʼre about to curse youʼre going to sound like a fool, but youʼre going to remember it every time you almost curse. Try it. Then when itʼs working, for everyoneʼs sake, get a better word. You have patterns of behavior that you know well. You know when those patterns begin to conform into the beginnings of a series of negative thoughts or bad habits. Knocking those thought processes requires you to create new ones. If youʼre insecure about your body, and the feelings start with you seeing a plate of food placed in front of you — shift your thinking from that point onwards. No matter how badly you want to fall into your comfort zone, force yourself out of it. You should be as uncomfortable as youʼve ever been. And if youʼre not, more power to you.
Admittedly, I often think Iʼve got it all figured out. Well, I obviously donʼt, but what worries me is when teens donʼt at least try to figure things out. How many of us are really content with our lives? Iʼll bet fewer of us than weʼd like to admit. So if you thought this article was pointless, or you disagree, thatʼs all I can really hope for. The fact that you spent time reading it shows me you were trying to figure it out.