I have three different types of insecurity. First is physical, second is emotional, and the third is financial. Each has its own crippling effect, and each concern will often branch into another.
Insecurity can be a cancer, but in some cases, success in one area can temporarily mute the voices of another.
(This is where my pride comes in to compensate emotion. This is where my behavior takes off into the wrong directions, and if I’m not careful, this is when the aftermath of my insecurities lead to an unplanned and unpleasant outcome.)
My concerns with my appearance date back to my earliest memory. This began with my awareness of height and weight in comparison with others. As well, I compared my strength and athletic ability along with my physical attributes to my circles of influence and I felt envious of those who were seemingly better.
No one asks to be the shortest or weakest. No one wants to be slower than anyone else or unattractive.
I never asked to have one eye slightly misshapen from the other. I never asked for the top of my right ear to look differently from my left, and I never wanted a crooked smile or strange teeth.
I never asked to be short, fat, skinny, or weak. And whether these observations are accurate or as intense as they may seem to be is irrelevant.
However, what is relevant is the way I see myself…
My thoughts are not always an accurate science. In fact, my thoughts have legs, which tend to run off without ever stopping, and I can grow tired while trying to chase them down.
My thoughts also have a voice that whisper all too often, and in the worst cases, there is nothing so loud as their insecure whisper.
This stems from my fears and inadequacies.
I am most afraid of my weaknesses. I am afraid of my inabilities and the vulnerable feelings that come with my humble truths.
It has been said that money cannot buy happiness. And while I agree that even the rich have sad times; money does afford certain freedoms.
Over the years my financial insecurities have changed and so have my feelings behind them. It used to be I wanted money to have nice things, to attract nice people, and have a nice life.
Now, my concerns with money is to keep what I have and avoid the threats of defaulted loans and foreclosures.
I wonder if whomever said, “Money cannot buy happiness,” ever sat at an otherwise empty dinner table with a stack of bills in front of them. I wonder if as they looked at the stack of bills, they placed both hands on their forehead, and pieces of their hair stood out between their fingers, because deep down, they knew there was no way to pay what they owe.
I wonder if the person that said, “Money cannot buy happiness,” had a spouse or child in the other room, and whether that spouse or child ever had to go without.
If they did, perhaps they would have experienced the feelings I have, as if I can’t breathe; or as if I’m going to fail my family and something terrible is about to happen.
Each of these insecurities create behavior . . .
I have three different types of insecurity. First is physical, second is emotional, and the third is financial.
I never felt classically beautiful. Then again, it took decades for me to learn what true beauty is, and as I grow, so does its definition.
Beneath any insecurity is one feeling: Fear
Fear is an excellent motivator. But motivation comes with either of two responses, in which case, I can either respond or build, or I can attack and destroy.
Financially, I may not be where I want to be, but I do have the ability to earn. I have the ability to save and spend properly. But when the other two branches of insecurity overpower my better judgment, I tend to forget these abilities, and I spend in order to soothe or appease my other senses.
For more than two decades, I have been asking in prayer for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
But faith without works is dead . . . and what that means is there is no change without action or acceptance.
21 years ago, I sat in an interview for a sales position at a large textiles corporation. The interviewer was also the owner. He was very wealthy and well-dressed in an expensive suit with cufflinks on the wrists of his custom-made dress shirt. His office was large and his desk was made of oak.
He asked, “Did you ever sell fruit before?”
“No,” I told him.
He playfully suggested, “Let’s try something.”
“Pretend I’m a store owner and I have a fruit stand in the front of my store. You have apples to sell me, but some of those apples are bruised. I want you to sell me a case of those apples.”
I agreed to the test, and introduced myself. I explained the scenario as the interviewer wanted and then I began my sales pitch.
“Some of the apples are bruised,” he responded.
“What they hell am I going to do with bruised apples?”
My first response was to negotiate the price, but he stopped me.
“Never adjust price,” he said.
“Sell what you have . . . and what you have are apples. Some have bruises on them. Not all of them…just some. But you need to sell those apples and you need to sell them for a set price or you’ll lose money, so accepting anything lower is not an option.”
The interviewer explained, “You have several options in cases like this. You could have offered an idea where the store owner used the bruised apples elsewhere. Understand something, the store owner needs to turn a profit. That’s it. That’s all he cares about. He doesn’t care about the apples . . . he cares about selling them and keeping customers. You could have suggested the idea of fruit salad, and if he argued about the labor of cutting the apples, you could suggest half an apple in fruit salad turns twice the profit and the cost of labor will be absorbed in the sales price.”
He continued, “You could have tried to sell the idea of applesauce, or fresh apple juice at a higher mark-up. Instead, you tried to negotiate in price, and when you negotiate in price, that means what you’re selling is less worthy, and no one wants to buy anything that’s less worthy.”
We talked for a while. We talked briefly about the business and what kind of salesman he was looking for. He told me about his family and showed me pictures of his wife and children.
The interviewer liked me enough to lend some good advice.
“Everybody has bruises and flaws kid, but there is always a way to find value in what you have. You just need to learn how to look at things from different angles. And I don’t just mean this when it comes to selling apples. I’m talking about life, because the same rule applies, and as soon as you figure out how to look at your benefits and find your own value, everything you do will sell itself.”
My friend good Matt always tells me, “Don’t sell yourself short.”
It’s good to have friends like him. He helps me see things from a different angle in times when I’m bruised and feeling less worthy.