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We don’t typically view the feeling of insecurity as an addiction. I always saw it as a personality trait I was born with, but I’ve come to see insecurity and self-doubt in the same way that an alcoholic will drink to stuff down their feelings - to avoid feeling uncomfortable or tense.

The belief that insecurity was just who I was, kept me hooked to a life that became increasingly small and constricted. In the same way that my temporary addiction to alcohol in my 20s left me with some awful hangovers, my addiction to insecure thinking led to other addictive behaviors such as excessive people-pleasing; hiding out and playing small, constant second-guessing, and never feeling comfortable expressing myself. These habits stayed with me for decades.

It’s hard to swim against a current. Some currents are strong. It’s so much easier to go with the flow, and if you’ve lived with insecurity and self-doubt most of your life, that is the current you flow with even though it makes your life feel small and restricted. Ironically, this is where you’ve come to feel most at home - most comfortable. This is you going with your flow.

Not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes addicted. Some of us can take it or leave it. And it’s the same with insecurity. Not everyone turns it into a habitual lifestyle that plays havoc with your life. And that’s the habit I have broken for good. I can still feel insecure. I can still feel like an imposter, but I now know that they are just early seeds that were planted by someone in my childhood. That’s all.

Doing what you love - going after your dreams - is really, really, important because that’s where the joy of life resides. Don’t be fooled into believing that hanging out with your insecurity and self-doubt will bring about a comfortable life.

It takes much more energy to play small, hold yourself back, and talk yourself out of doing something than to play full out. Playing small is so much more draining.



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