Insecurities: a crack where the light gets in

I accidentally stumbled upon some blog posts yesterday talking about our human insecurities.

You know–all our perhaps hidden, obscure, painful parts of ourselves that we’ve sometimes pushed away. Tried to heal. Sometimes repressed. Pasted over with positive thinking. Explored endlessly.

We all may use different techniques in dealing with insecurities. The emotions of shame, guilt, anger, sadness, rue, grief, despair often accompany those places in us where we’re shaky and confused and maybe even blame or judge ourselves for being less than we want to be.

I think many of us recognize that we fall short in certain areas. We could do better. We know in our heart of hearts that our actions don’t line up with our deepest ideals. We want to be loving, kind, compassionate in certain situations–yet we react with less-than-stellar emotions or responses.

Don’t you think we all do this? It’s the crux of being human. Most of us want to operate with love and tenderness. Yet we–or should I say “I”–seemingly fail at this on a regular basis. Daily.

Sometimes my actions look sweet and loving on the outside, but inner voices snarl and condemn. Sometimes I long to eat healthy–and end up rummaging in the refrigerator looking for sweets to pacify a charged-up nervous system. The Holy seems to point to the stars, yet my response involves wriggling in mud. The head says one thing: the hands and feet do elsewise.

A blogger suggested to me yesterday: I hope you heal from your insecurities.

Hmmmm. That caused a pause.

Do I want to “heal” from my insecurities?

After a lifetime of spiritual seeking and finding, of looking and losing, of peering and discovering, of watching some insecurities fall away and others strengthen at times–this is what I want.

I want to accompany my insecurities from here to the deathbed. To allow them to exist until age 64 or 95, whenever the last breath happens. To meet them with awareness, compassion, and welcome. Maybe not to *like* them, maybe not to even be happy that they exist.

But to invite the insecurities to the table for tea in china cups. Here, my sweets, my wounded ones, my little cry-babies: want some lemon? You vulnerable despairing ones: a slice of ginger? Green tea or Egyptian Licorice?

There is a part of me that says: NO. No cry-babies at the table. Let’s heal ’em all. Make ’em disappear for good. You know that baby still upset about how the teacher yelled at her for stomping in a mud puddle in second grade? Get Over It. Heal. Be gone.

But that’s not really what I want. I want to hold that inner cry-baby for the rest of my life. To quit pushing her away because she’s so darn vulnerable. So weak. So broken.

If and when healing happens–how wonderful. If and when I’m directed to act in a manner that lines up with idealism–what grace.

But if it doesn’t happen–may loving embrace the insecurities. May kindness hug them. May that be the balm that soothes the baby’s cries.

As Leonard Cohen sings in Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

I am writing this post because I want to remember this in times of insecurity and confusion. To remember the precious vulnerability and brokenness shining forth from the spirits of some of my dearest friends, and how this heart melts because the light shines through and permeates their cracks. I want to remember patience and kindness toward myself. Because when that happens–it’s so much easier to feel love toward the entire broken and beautiful world.

Light even illuminates the muddiest of mud puddles

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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47 Responses to Insecurities: a crack where the light gets in

  1. Beautiful thoughts, Kathy. Such a tender view of insecurities. Of course, it would be nice to heal our broken parts, but as you said, sometimes the best we can do is live with them with empathy and compassion. I suppose obsessing to heal them is not healthy either. Isn’t it that when we try to do something we are not doing it exactly but are doing the trying? That sounds like a funny formulation. Kind of reminds of Alan Watts in a way. Have a lovely Sunday.

    • Kathy says:

      Sometimes it can turn into a lifetime of obsessing to heal the broken parts of ourselves. When I was young I imagined this possible. It may still be possible, but it seems like the possibility blossoms from love instead of willfulness. Yep, kinda reminds me of Alan Watts, too. Thanks for your thoughts, as always.

      • Same. I often ask this question in moments of frustration: Will we ever get better from our afflictions? Like you, I feel they will always be there, a part of who we are, and the only thing we can do is manage it.

  2. James Moffitt says:

    It took a lot of courage and transparency to write this. You are not alone. :). I have faith that God is the supreme healer if only we will lean into him. I guess we all have our own healing mechanism that allows us to go from day to day. Have a wonderful day Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      James, am learning to be more transparent and vulnerable and courageous as the blogging years go by. Yes about God–and I think of God as that Supreme Love. So leaning into God is leaning into Love. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing your thoughts–so much.

  3. Robin says:

    Deep gratitude to you for this reminder, Kathy, to invite them all in for tea. Cup after cup after cup of tea, whenever they grace our doorstep. Thank you. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I am still learning about this everyday and sometimes feel like a raw beginner after all these years…but thank you for resonating. May we both keeping inviting them all in for tea until we’re very old ladies with shaking hands but big hearts filled with love.

  4. leelah saachi says:

    I adore this. I have quite a big bunch of them, and my inner improver and knowing-bester goes rather amok now and then – today it is NOW, and still i go here instead of sitting down with it, since I am so TIRED of it 😦 and then the fun happens that you write about exactly the same as i experience –
    seems like Love is leading me then
    thanks you love and Kathy

    • Kathy says:

      Leelah, you made me smile because I know all about the inner improver and knowing-bester. And being so very TIRED of it all. May love continue leading us, and may we sink deeper and deeper into love’s arms. xoxo

  5. rehill56 says:

    I like this pondering about insecurities. The bottom line for me is the more we hide them, deny them, push them away, keep them in a closet, whatever ….they will get bigger and demand attention. Exposed to light, “invited into tea”, acknowledged, they can find acceptance and perhaps healing. And isn’t that what you are saying about others too? That if we listen, accept, have compassion & grace, all the while not taking them on ourselves but offering compassion and an ear those insecurities and broken parts can be less broken because of love. ( or something like that…lol. I’m just waking up- you existential soul, you.:-).

    • Kathy says:

      No wonder you and me are friends, Ruth! We both like having tea with our insecurities and painful sides (and even having tea with each other and talking about them). Love your words about offering compassion and an ear so that those parts can be less broken because of love. Thank YOU, you existential soul, YOU!

  6. Susan D. Durham says:

    How beautiful .. open, tender, honest, kind. I love this. I love how you summed it all up in the last paragraph, too. I sometimes wonder if it’s not our insecurities that are the very cure we offer others (consciously or not) in finding healing, for them and for ourselves. Thank you for this today. My insecurities needed this balm.

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I am convinced that you are right–that sharing our insecurities with others can somehow help heal others. We discover we’re not all alone in this crazy soup of insecurities and challenges. And the love of a listening ear is pure gold. Our friendship has been balm for me dozens upon dozens of times over the years…thank you.

  7. Larissa says:


  8. Thank you, Kathy! Yes to love, this world is a guesser

  9. lisaspiral says:

    I love this notion of holding those vulnerable insecurities while they weep.

  10. debyemm says:

    This is happening way too often to me in recently weeks – “I long to eat healthy–and end up rummaging in the refrigerator looking for sweets to pacify a charged-up nervous system.” I have determined it is stress eating. The most recent bout was yesterday. Then, I pull myself back. I watch my weight. I have a number (which I saw this morning) that is the danger zone number to me because I know how it feels to be helpless as it creeps up and then up again ad infinitum.

    And this strategy seems practical to me (and appeals to my core inner self as well) – “I want to accompany my insecurities from here to the deathbed. To allow them to exist until age 64 or 95, whenever the last breath happens. To meet them with awareness, compassion, and welcome. Maybe not to *like* them, maybe not to even be happy that they exist.”

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, I so relate! My weight-number reached danger zone this morning, too. And it’s primarily danger zone because I do NOT want to buy a new wardrobe!! Am sitting with any insecurities that arise around this and feeling more of a sense of love and not judgment and shame and annoyance. Just watching and loving the part that goes to the refrigerator when it’s nervous. And loving it more deeply–if that’s possible–while also watching other loving parts that want so much to eat healthy. Not sure what the answer is, but perhaps it IS love? I am seeing more and more glimmers of this as the years go by, even though it’s often forgotten and remembered and forgotten and remembered, a thousand times.

  11. Joanne says:

    As always, dearest Kathy, you have articulated feelings that so many of us know to be true, in our heart of hearts, yet could never find the words to describe as eloquently as you do. I’m sure we all carry a wounded child within our souls, and she will never leave us. She will remain, to remind us of the importance of “heart”. And it is through the strength we muster every day, until age 64 or 95, that she continues to survive. xx

    • Kathy says:

      Poor precious inner wounded ones…may we discover that it’s possible to love rather than throw her away. And then maybe (who knows?) love will heal her. xoxo

  12. Stacy says:

    That is beautifully written, Kathy.

    I agree for the mostpart. For me, the danger is that sometimes my insecurities become a security blanket. And I’m that frightened cry baby who won’t let go of the blanket for fear of….


    • Kathy says:

      Dearest Stacy, I have no answers! Just years and years of explorations in this area of human emotions, and years and years of so many self-judgments. Am not sure love works at all, except for the instances that it really seems to work better than the self-judgments. I am wondering if our inner cry babies might let go of their security blankets if they feel loved and safe enough. Slowly, slowly, responding to the balm of love. Holding on with a fist, before holding on with two fingers, one finger, and maybe letting go for half a second at first. Of course the babies want/need their security blankets, sweet things. They have never ever been given the amount of love they need to let go.

      • Stacy says:

        I don’t know at all. Can one love away insecurities, even one’s own? I haven’t seen it work on the human side. Maybe the spiritual side can love us enough for us, but fallible humans can not. Therein lies the conundrum. At least children are unaware of the potential that remains untapped. I don’t know. Did I say that already?

        • Kathy says:

          Like you I am not sure if the human side can love the human insecurities so much that they begin to feel fulfilled. But there seems to be an intersection where the holy meets the human where Love can enter through grace. Adding another don’t know to match yours…

          • Stacy says:

            That was what I was ineptly trying to say. It IS possible to fulfill insecurities, but only when human accepts the grace of the Holy. But that acceptance is a choice, and one that we don’t always make wholeheartedly.

  13. Thank you for introducing me to Leonard Cohen and this eloquent song. Insecurity and confusion are parts of all our lives, if we’re honest with ourselves. Sometimes healing means finding a way to live with our afflictions, our imperfections, and with the imperfections of others. “Forget your perfect offering.” That line will stick with me for a very long time. Healing doesn’t necessarily involve a cure. Love this beautiful expression from you, dear Kathy. ♡

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Barbara, isn’t this song by Leonard Cohen grand? I told Barry I want it played at my funeral. (Although am not sure I want a funeral…) Learning to live with ourselves exactly the way we are. To forget our perfect offering. Thank you so much, and am glad you resonate with this!

  14. sherrysescape says:

    This is exactly what I needed to see today, Kathy. Thank-you for your poetic phrases and for you understanding of human nature.

    • Kathy says:

      Sherry, I am glad to have written this for all of us the other day. For all our wee insecurities that we’re so often judging and pushing away. May love–God–heal all. ❤

  15. Ally Bean says:

    The cracks [insecurities] are where the light gets in. I didn’t get that when I was a younger person, feeling I had to be strong all the time. But now I understand it and agree with you. I take myself much less seriously than I once did, perhaps that’s part of it.

    • Kathy says:

      All Bean, I know what you mean about not getting this as a younger person. I feel like I learn–and feel–something new about this all the time, at deeper and deeper levels. Or maybe something is just sinking in a bit. May we be able to be vulnerable AND strong.

  16. Lori says:

    This reminds me of my favorite quote, by Paul Ferrini. I’ve shared it with you before (it’s on a blog post). Here is just one sentence from it, “All that is transcendent comes from the lowly, the light from the dark, the flower from the mud.” Your awesome photo in the mud fit this part well.

    We do agree on some things, and this is one of them. 👍💗

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, I kinda remember hearing that quote before. I love it—although the mud can feel challenging at times. And, yes again, we do agree on some things!

  17. atthecorner says:

    I usually embrace my insecurity and then let it go. I know I can’t forget it and it’s all right. Thank for the lyrics
    –There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in–

    Life is a chaos and that’s why it still alive 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Some of the wise ones have advised us to do just as you said–embrace our insecurity, and let it go. Glad you enjoyed the song. Many blessings…

  18. Tilly travel says:

    This post spoke to me Kathy, I know there are many different me’s, some of them I like others I don’t, and sometimes I want to shout and scream at some of them. That said I accepted them all, i can’t change them, they are who they are. I embrace them all and hope the best me wins out most of the time

    Bright Blessings

    • Kathy says:

      Tilly, I so believe in the many parts of ourselves. We are complex creatures, aren’t we? May we embrace all the parts of ourselves without allowing them to run the show, although it’s a Great Experiment to see how we do that. Blessings back atcha!

  19. I love your beautiful testament to being human and of course, those exquisite words of Leonard Cohen. Your words have smoothed some of my rough edges and I thank you for that…

  20. MORGAN ALLEN says:

    I like your use of personification, it adds emotion, for example, “But to invite the insecurities to the table for tea in china cups.” Quotes like really add to the all-around meaning.

  21. I think maybe that’s the best way to deal with them Kathy. I find they come and go. Just last night I was having one of those evenings where it seemed every bad memory from childhood was coming back to me! I don’t think those insecurities ever go away, so all we can do is be kind to them.

    • Kathy says:

      You know, Andrea, many times we think that those insecurities will someday disappear. And maybe they will. But as long as they hang around maybe we can learn to be a little kinder instead of beating ourselves up?

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