Macklemore’s new song Light Tunnels is awesome, and frankly says everything I’ve always kinda believed about celebrities and Hollywood. He describes what it’s like to be at a big Hollywood-type awards show, in this case it’s the Grammy’s, and one of the things he shares is:
“So we Botox our skin and we smile for the camera
Might as well get a new nose while we’re at it
This is America and insecurity’s our fabric
And we wear it and we renamed it fashion”
He also uses the phrase “insecurity dressed up as confidence” a couple of times. I love all of that, and that someone is actually saying it.
As I speak to these kids, and I’m in and out of Middle Schools and High Schools, and as I volunteer my speaker services for this suicide prevention non-profit I work with, and go speak to students associated with the non-profit, I’m always struck that massive insecurity is already setting in at their young ages. I mean I shouldn’t be surprised because it is the same insecurity that has plagued you and me since we were that same age. It just somehow feels wrong that it’s already plaguing THEM!!
I spend a good part of my talk sharing stories about all those times I felt like I would never “get the girl,” and how I never thought I’d be cool enough, and how sometimes I would walk down the halls and feel like no one really could see me. I help them realize that we ALL feel this way, but all of our media tells us we aren’t “them” so then we might as well be insecure about ourselves.
So who do I mean by “them?”
I share in the book that the idea of reality tv, and this perceived reality that is nothing more than scripted nonsense, has had a profound impact on our happiness levels as a people. We are always comparing ourselves… we aren’t as pretty or good looking, we aren’t as rich, we don’t have those cars, “they have zero talent, how can they make so much money… I bet they’ve never worked a real day’s work in their life.” None of which is true about us or about them.
Recently a man who I had shared the stage with committed suicide. He was the picture of perfect success. Gorgeous and surgically altered wife, glowing white teeth, fit, nice suits, mansions, money, success, and he would share it all from the stage in an attempt to help other people feel like they could achieve the same level of success. My heart cries for his wife and children… but where did it all go wrong?
Apparently it was “insecurity dressed up as confidence” just like Macklemore said.
What about the recent display of outright crazy from America’s real first family :), the Kardashians. Bruce isn’t Bruce, Kanye is 150 million in debt and begging Mark Zuckerberg for a 1 billion dollar loan (by the way Yeezy, if you are gonna blow up the Zuck for some cash… maybe use the social networking platform he invented and actually runs, not another one. Oh another reason to use the FB, is because all your rant and insecurity laden pompousness could have been articulated in one post, cuz uh, you get more than 140 characters on the “Book of Faces”… just a little free advice there Kanye.)
All of that crap is literally just “insecurity dressed up as confidence!”
This is why I have found gratitude to be so important. I’m sure I will always have some internal sense of insecurity that I deal with, but I don’t let it plague me, and define my day any longer.
I used to constantly compare my level of success and achievement with those around me… like a perpetual “urination” contest (keepin’ it PG folks). All of that kind of stopped when I started really using FLIPping the Gratitude Switch with it.
“I don’t care what your house looks like and how many square feet it is, I’m just thankful I have a roof over my head.”
“I don’t care that you drive a tricked out Range Rover… I’m just thankful I have a beautiful new car, and my payment is only $260 a month. It still has Bluetooth and a touch screen and everything, and I feel pretty awesome about it.”
“I don’t care what your body looks like, I’m just thankful I still have two legs that are fully functional, that I can take to a treadmill and go put in the work to lose weight.”
“I don’t care that you have millions or billions more than me… I’m just thankful I have enough, and can spend as much time as I want with my kids and family, and go to Disneyland every now and then, and give to my Church. I feel blessed beyond measure.”
There are so many more examples, but these are some of the biggest that I have seen take root for me.
You don’t have to compare you to others… you only have to compare you to YOU!!!
I have folks that compare themselves to ME… first of all that’s CRAZY, and secondly… that’s CRAZY!!! Don’t compare yourself to me, or anyone but yourself, and the knowledge you have of who you can become and what you are becoming. Then just be THANKFUL that you are who you are this moment.
You may not have achieved the level of success you want yet, but look at is as if you are actively on the road to that success, and every step you take is a step of progress that brought you closer to where you want to be… focus on the gratitude for the tiny bit of progress made, not the deficit of desired achievement you believe is present.
You may not be a perfect parent yet, but dwell on and be thankful for the little wins… you know when your child actually DOES listen, when they simply and beautifully tell you they love you of their own free will and choice. Focus on those little victories, and be thankful that somehow, some way, you’ve done something right to create that little moment. Then realize that you are on the path to doing even more.
I feel like insecurity largely stems from the perception of lack, but if we are just thankful for what we have then there is no lack. If there is no perception of lack, then there is no reason to be insecure.
Most of the pillars of success, fame, beauty, etc, that we use as the measuring stick of our own is nothing more than what Macklemore says… “insecurity dressed up as confidence.”
You can use gratitude to navigate insecurity… be thankful for who you are, what you have, what you have become right now in THIS moment. This, YOU, is more than it has been, you are better than you have been in the past… fix your mind upon that which is awesome about you, and it will make it even to accomplish the next bit of success and fulfillment you seek.
For those that want to hear the song… here you go, but WARNING… I don’t think this is the clean version: