Tag Archives: Insecurity

Free Yourself From the Cycle of Stress to Live More Fully Than Ever

Photo credit: Kalliope Kokolis
Photo credit: Kalliope Kokolis

For many of us this is a season when it feels that we are going faster and faster. Everything’s racing, through school semesters, wrapping up work commitments, entering the holidays; the currents of life are in full tilt.

Given the time of year, one student fell into a period of intense stress resulting from a cycle of classes, studying, working, and little sleep. He didn’t realize how long he had neglected to write home until he received the following note:

Dear Son,

Your mother and I enjoyed your last letter. Of course, we were much younger then and more impressionable.



As you know, it’s not just students. Some months ago a friend described getting caught in this state busy-ness while trying to get her daughter to school. She was busy getting things ready while her daughter was trying to show her something. Every time her daughter would call her over she would say, “Just hang on a moment. I’ll be there in a second.” After several rounds of this, the little four-year old came out of her room tired of waiting. She said to her mother, hands on hips, “Why are you always so busy? What’s your name? Is it President O’mama or something?”

Along with the speediness we have the sense that there is not enough time. It’s interesting to observe how often we are living with that perception. It is usually accompanied by a squeeze of anxiety: “I’m not going to be prepared,” and a chain of insecurities. “There’s something around the corner that is going to be too much,” “I’m going to fall short,” “I won’t get something critical done.” There’s this sense that we’re on our way somewhere else and that what’s right here is not the time that matters. We’re trying to get to the point in the future when we’ve finally checked everything off our to-do list and we can rest. As long as this is our habit, we are racing toward the end of our life. We are skimming the surface, and unable to arrive in our life.

Thomas Merton describes the rush and pressure of modern life as a form of contemporary violence. He says: “…to be surrendering to too many demands, too many concerns, is to succumb to the violence.” When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to our inner life and being in a resonant field with others. We get tight. We get small. We override our capacity to appreciate beauty, to celebrate, to serve from the heart.

Our mindfulness practice offers us the opportunity to pause and rediscover the space of presence. When we stop charging forward and open to what’s here, there’s a radical shift in our experience of being alive. As we touch into this space of hereness, we access a wisdom, a love and a creativity that are not available when we’re on our way somewhere else. We are home, in our aliveness and our spirit.

Enjoy this talk on: The Space of Presence

Adapted from my book Radical Acceptance (2003)
For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

Watch the Live Hangout on Bullying with Gotham Chopra, Shane Koyczan, and Other Special Guests!

Our third Google+ hangout in the “Aspire to Inspire” series focuses on the crippling effects of bullying. Gotham Chopra is joined by poet Shane Koyczan, whose video for “To This Day” went viral due to it’s honest, heartbreaking prose about the lifetime effects of bullying. Other guests include: Martin Shervington who will offer insight from his experience in psychology and life coaching, Margot Leitman – a comedian who just released her first book “Gawky: Tales of an Extra Long Awkward Phase,” and Kevin Epling, the National Co-Director and Michigan representative for Bully Police USA.

If you haven’t seen the Shane’s poignant viral video, check it out (and have your tissues at the ready):

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss our final “Aspire to Inspire” hangout on cancer survival, this Monday!

15 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 15

* Written by Xian Horn

High school-like situations may not end when we graduate (adult relationships, auditions, the workplace), but we can get much better at handling them.

These are the fifteen things I learned the “long” way:

They can keep puberty and daily life (at any age) from being the end of the world.

1. If your love interest (or employer) doesn’t notice, like, or love you “that way,” it does NOT mean there is something wrong with you. It simply means they are wrong for you right now.

2. How people treat you says more about them than it does about you. It’s not always personal or all about you.

3. Everybody has insecurities, they just manifest differently in every person.

4. Bullies and gossips are more insecure than their targets. “Haters” need your sympathy and prayers more than your hurt and anger.

5. Judgment (of yourself or someone else) clouds your clarity of a situation. This can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings and bad decision-making.

6. When you are secure you’re not so easily offended by what people say or think.

7. Envy is a waste of time: if something good happens to someone else, it means it can happen to you. If you can’t have what someone else has, you can have something else better for you.

8. The strongest person is not necessarily the person with the biggest muscles or loudest voice.

9. The beauty in someone else does not take away from the beauty in you. Trust that you have beauty, talents, and gifts—whatever company you keep.

10. You don’t have to do anything to be more beautiful, but you may have to put in work to feel beautiful everyday.

11. Rather than being perfect (flawless), focus being authentic or becoming whole.

12. Loving everybody does not necessarily mean making everyone your BFF. It’s okay to be selective about your inner circle.

13. People-pleasing is the easiest way to lose your authentic self. Don’t let others’ opinions or fear of rejection have power over your God-given gut instinct.

14. Standing for something doesn’t mean standing for everything. Be prepared to disappoint some for the greater good; be prepared to accept those who disagree.

15. The “oops” you have made are not mistakes or regrets per se; they are lessons to help you and/or others do better. It may even be a blessing in disguise. You may not see it now; it may take time to see what the lesson or blessing is. Be patient with yourself. Let your story unfold.

Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy, serving as writer, mentor, and positivity activist. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.” With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian Horn is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women. To support her True Beauty efforts for people with disabilities, please join Xian’s Facebook community and follow her on twitter here.

Photo by katerha.

Deepak Chopra: Jealous of Handsome Men


Hi Deepak, you have inspired me so much…thank you. My question is this.. I’m 24/female and have known that I’m attracted to women ever since I could remember. I feel very challenged and envious when I’m around men especially men that are good looking. I don’t understand it and i don’t like feeling this way. Why do I feel this way and what can I do to no longer feel this way anymore?


You say you are envious of attractive men. Since you have stated that you are gay, you are most likely jealous of handsome men’s ability to attract desirable women. You probably envy that power and also their socially accepted openness in going after women they like. You may not feel you have the ability to attract a woman the way they can and quite probably feel the social disapproval if you did flirt with a woman in public. So something along these lines is probably behind your envious feelings. The good news is that handsome men are not really competition for you. The partner you are looking for is going to be attracted to other women not guys. So bear that in mind every time you feel jealous when see a cute guy.




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Deepak Chopra: Restarting a Love Life


After 20 years of being single( i am 48) I have started seeing this lovely man. We have been seeing each other for over 6 months now and it looks like it could be a good relationship. Unfortunately I have been suffering from fear and insecurity big time.
He is still married but has been separated for 3 years. He keeps in touch with his wife. I realise it is me who needs to grow but at times get very desperate.
I try some meditation and inner child therapy. Also will start working out more.
If you have any suggestions, it would be very much appreciated.


Twenty years is a long time, and although you didn’t say what your reasons were for staying single for so long, we can assume they must have been significant. That said, it makes sense that transiting into a healthy relationship will take time and patience. Don’t rush it or be too hard on yourself if the closer you get to being with your partner brings up exaggerated or irrational feelings and responses out of proportion to the situation at hand. Your feelings are in reaction to your memories of the past, not the present reality. Take a deep breath and realize that the past must be let go in order to enjoy living in the present. Ask your boyfriend to reassure you that the past is past and that now is now. Then tell him you are ready to let go of more of the past pain and ready to embrace the love that is present now.




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Irrational Atheists on the Loose?

 An outspoken band of atheists has chalked up an impressive record of articles, best-selling books, and wide public recognition. To buttress their arguments against the existence of God, leading anti-religionists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have borrowed the prestige of science. Which makes for a clean and simple dichotomy. Religion is irrational, bound up with superstition, emotions, and wishful thinking. Science is rational, dedicated to data, fact-finding, and impartial objectivity. The problem with such a simple picture is that it isn’t true and never was.

Without a hint of irony, New Scientist magazine has just published an article by Jonathan Lanman entitled "Religion is irrational, but so is atheism." It’s an eye-opening piece, although by the time one gets to the end, it seems self-evident that atheists are of course emotional, biased, blinded to arguments that don’t fit their world view, and prone to gross over-statement. Lanman, a lecturer in anthropology at Oxford, makes the following points:

To begin, he cites research which questions the popular assumption that the more educated you are, the less likely you will be religious. In fact, the "Enlightenment assumption," on which atheists lean heavily (equating religious belief with ignorance, to put it bluntly), isn’t proven to be valid. Lanman asserts that we have little real knowledge about why some people believe in God and others don’t. He points to a wealth of evidence that shows how vast the unconscious brain is and how mysterious the forces that shape us. This mystery applies to everyone, not simply the devout.

Instead of claiming that something has gone wrong in the brains of believers — another ploy favored in atheist rhetoric — Lanman suggest that environment has a great deal to do with what we believe. There is abundant evidence for that, too. Yet as a first step, we have to ask what we are studying. There isn’t one atheism but many, according to Lanman’s extensive research in the U.S., U.K., and Europe, ranging "from a lack of belief in God to a lack of belief in all supernatural agents to a moral opposition to all religions."

In the midst of this confusion, he found that two phenomena leapt out as his studies progressed. The first was that a large number of people don’t believe in any supernatural agents in the universe, despite the fact that religion is worldwide. The second is moral opposition to religious belief. "For many, religions are not just factually wrong but morally harmful and to be opposed." Looking at these two factors, Lanman notes that "nontheists," people who have no particular religious beliefs, aren’t the same as "strong atheists," who judge against and condemn religion. Lanman was intrigued that these two groups, which seem like allies, are negatively correlated. "Denmark and Sweden, for instance, have the highest proportion of non-theists but very little strong atheist sentiment or activity. The US, however, has a very low proportion of non-theists but significant levels of strong atheism." Why?

In a word, threat, he says. There is compelling evidence that societies that rank high in security and well-being are much less religious than insecure societies where life is hard. Presumably, if you feel good about your life and others around you aren’t religious, there’s not much reason to adopt an attitude of moral outrage and condemnation of believers. Yet Pres. Obama wasn’t exactly right that people "cling to guns and religion" when life goes wrong — rather that turning to consoling beliefs, people in distress have negative religious views (as is evident from the hell fire and damnation style of much Bible Belt preaching). In contrast, the most comforting religious ideas, such as New Age spirituality or hell-less Christianity, flourish in the affluent west.

Here Lanman strikes down one of the cherished arguments of strong atheists: "Psychologically, we have little to no evidence that our minds will believe in something just because it would be comforting to do so." It was always short-sighted — and incredibly condescending — for science-minded atheists to claim that believers are basically children looking for comforting fairy tales. If the comfort thesis is wrong, there’s a better explanation, which Lanman calls "threat and action": there is strong evidence "that feeling under threat increases commitment to in-group ideologies, whether they are religious ideologies or not." It should make atheists think twice to realize that their motives for attacking religion are kin to those who defend it. Both in-groups are motivated by emotion, bias, peer pressure, and the habit of "us" versus "them" thinking.

It’s crucial to note that Lanman isn’t defending religion, which he explains as a set of actions and beliefs rooted in many kinds of irrational responses to threat. Belonging to the in-group creates fertile ground for superstition and irrational behavior to grow. Atheists look much the same as viewed by an anthropologist: "Strong atheism is not the absence of an in-group ideology but the defense of one: modern secularism." The ideology underpinning secularism sprang up in the West after the Reformation, leading to its present secular form, in which "citizens use their rational minds to cooperate and improve their lives." Thus when religions stubbornly adhered to a belief "that the purpose of life should be transcendent rather than earthly well-being, religions themselves became anti-social and even immoral."

Lanman has more evidence to cite, but his overall conclusion is simple. Our beliefs and behaviors are not based on dispassionate reason. In hindsight this may seem blindingly obvious, but in fact the cutting edge of brain research delves into the merging of reason and emotion in the brain, following the pathways that connect the two. Neuroscience has concluded that decisions are never devoid of emotion and that "lower" brain responses like emotion have privileged pathways that the higher brain cannot override until time has passed and the cerebral cortex is allowed to enter the picture with its rational faculties (that’s why you jump first when you hear a gunshot and only a few seconds later decide that it was only a car backfiring).


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PHOTO (cc): Flickr /  PhotoDu.de


Prelude to Sweet Darkness



At times, our ego gets in our way, self doubt creeps in and shakes the ground under us. We act out scripts and replay scenarios in our minds. We start make assumptions and go into a negative mode that can ruin the relationship.

Communication is the key. First, we need to explore our hearts, check in and get in touch with how we feel. Do the self-doubts and fears serve us? Are they real or are they old patterns of behavior based on insecurities?

These feelings that come up can become great gifts. When we look at the gifts closely, sit with them, give them a voice, and share with our partner (The Ego 2 Heart way), our partner can listen and be with us totally.

I went into the old scripts, feeling insecure about the fact that I was not able to reach or talk with my partner.

The poem I previously publishedSweet Darkness, reminded me to go deep inside, check with heart and find the courage to face my shadows. I allowed both the love and the shadows to surface, to share with my partner, and invite him to dance the dance of shadow and light together.

This exploration allows us to continue on this awesome path of adventure where opportunities to grow await us along the way.

With gratitude.



I wonder what was in your heart when you heard me calling and yet not calling me back.

There is so much underneath that is not being revealed.

Anxiety, fear, etc.

I hope we will be able to open a door to these, so we can move on.

Proud, tall nothing to hide, working on shadows, growing, living in truth, living our passion, knowing our passion.

I forward you a poem Leon shared with us at the shadow workshop by David Whyte. [Sweet Darkness]

I feel it fits what you and I are going through.

I hope it will help the door to open for us so we can find our way into our dreams, whatever they are.

I just wanted to write and say how much I love you- this what came out.

It is all good.

Time we connect to the inner truth inside us, find the path we came here to walk on, and the deep desire to walk that path together.

An invitation to a journey, an unknown adventure where we always wanted to touch, where the secret of happiness, secret of life! awaits us.

Are we ready to make the leap of faith into darkness where the light is brighter than we ever known?

I love you, trust in our destiny, in our commitment for a better tomorrow for us as well as the world around us.

For more information on Dr. Moti and Ronit Peleg, Ego to Heart workshops, their Oprah Show appearance and their upcoming book, “Destined Encounter,” go to www.ego2heart.org.



Stand Tall

Let’s face it: our society does not make it easy to hold your head high and confidently move forward in your life. Our society is much more likely to tell you, in many different ways, that you’re not good enough and you don’t have enough. Is it any wonder why so many people struggle with low self-esteem?

I’d like to point out a common confidence-boosting strategy that just doesn’t work in the long run. A strategy that people often use to try to feel better about themselves is to tear down other people. When a group of people gathers together and mocks someone else behind their back, the group gains a temporary sense of superiority and comfort. When a boss steals an employee’s idea without giving them credit, the boss feels a temporary surge of improved job security. When someone successfully torpedoes a co-worker’s idea before the idea has even been explored, a temporary sense of satisfaction might ensue.

Unfortunately, this strategy only makes things worse in the long run. The more we tear other people down, the more we fear being torn down by other people. The more we steal other people’s ideas, the more we fear our own ideas being stolen. The more we gossip about other people, the more we fear being gossiped about. The strategy of separating ourselves from others ultimately leads to even greater insecurity.

Fortunately, we have a choice. Harriet Woods wrote, “You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims.”

So what’s an alternative? We can draw closer to other people, not push them away. When everyone is included in the group, everyone is safe from gossip. When a boss gives proper credit for an employee’s good idea, the boss has won the employee’s loyalty which ultimately improves the team’s performance and makes the boss look better. (The boss might even be seeking a job at another company someday and be hired by the former employee!) If co-workers listen to each other’s ideas instead of shooting them down, everyone could ultimately benefit from the innovation.

May you focus today on including instead of excluding, giving credit instead of taking credit, and listening instead of criticizing, for your own self-esteem as well as the benefit of others. Stand tall!

To follow me on Twitter, click here: Twitter.com/DrDebBrown.



Envy is defined as spite and resentment at seeing the success of another. Envy is said to occur when a person lacks another’s [perceived] superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.

We have all felt envy in some degree towards another. When envy is not “worked out”, we become “haters”. Our feelings of insecurity can lead to trash talking, gossip, and even sabotage. We can even convince others and ourselves that the other person “isn’t all that”, is less than, and not worthy of attention. Envy can leave us feeling depressed and inadequate.

The lesson is to recognize, that envy and feelings of jealousy rest with you. Envy alerts you to your insecurities and to places in your life where you feel less than confident. Honor those feelings and recognize where they are coming from and why they are there. Sometimes envy pops up and we are caught by surprise. Good! Look at it!  

Never beat yourself up for feeling envy. That’s the last thing you need. But do look at where you are otherwise blessed and list them! You too have some things worth celebrating.

Try to remember, “The grass is always greener…” No one has a “perfect” life. Keep things in perspective and give yourself a break.

I dare you to feel envy, get up, walk over to that person, and say, “Job

well done”. You don’t need to embellish and go overboard, but stand face to face with your insecurities and greet them.

If you have a question or comments about envy contact Sandra A. Daley at: info@sandradaley.com or visit her at http://www.sandradaley.com. If you like this article, you may also enjoy “Self Employed and Loving It!"


Reclaiming Your Power: Insecurity

There is an innate awkwardness to being human. With each decision we make, there is the potential for self-doubt and it is this-self doubt that forms the root of insecurity–a complex emotion that is a mix of equal parts inadequacy, isolation, fear, and hopelessness. Yet these feelings of insecurity that prevent us from fulfilling our potential by inducing us to abide by arbitrary self-limitations are nothing more than erroneous perceptions. We feel unconfident and unsure of ourselves because we judge ourselves to be so. Banishing insecurity is often simply a matter of challenging ourselves in order to prove that we are indeed intelligent and able.

When we feel insecure, we not only perceive ourselves as incapable of meeting life’s challenges but also fraudulent and unworthy of true happiness. We move through life plagued by a sense that others have judged us and found that we are lacking. As a result, we are robbed of our personal power and rendered unable to feel positive about the choices we make. Everyone feels insecure from time to time because each of us is born into the world with unique strengths. If you should find yourself with feelings of insecurity, however, endeavor to understand its source. Perhaps you were repeatedly berated as a child or seldom receive positive reinforcement in the present. A tendency to withdraw from risk or uncomfortable situations can amplify feelings of insecurity. When you have pinpointed the origin of your insecurity, focus on your abilities. The more you utilize your personal power–by taking risks, boldly facing challenges, and acting decisively–the stronger it will grow.

Remember that insecurity is not objective. Rather, it is an emotional interpretation of your value unconsciously based on doubt, shame, and fear. As you overcome those underlying emotions through courageous action and copious self-love, you’ll discover that you are capable of achieving more than you ever thought possible.

For more inspiration, visit DailyOM.


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