If I Were a Spice Girl
Long before Icona Pop crashed their car into a bridge (not a care was given) or the Pussycat Dolls did…well…whatever it was they did, there was an estrogen explosion in the form of the Spice Girls.
They hit their stride during my high school years, those dark days when the internet wasn’t yet a household standard—relying on painfully slow dial-up connections with noisy modems—colorful iMacs were just blossoming, we lost both Princess Diana and Mother Theresa, TGIF still meant a night full of great tv shows and Leo DiCaprio graced the cover of every teeny-bopper heartthrob trash magazine. And he wasn’t yet old enough to have sired the kids who bought said magazines. I digress…
Each of the Spice Girls had a nickname: Sporty, Scary, Baby, Grumpy, Ginger, Posh & Spicy (or whatever).
So if I were a Spice Girl, I would be Average Spice or perhaps Bland Spice. Alanis Morissette would have fun with that one, don’t ya think?! See, I’m not the prettiest, skinniest, friendliest, funniest, most athletic, smartest or most successful.
I’m undeniably average, and I’m usually okay with that. It’s when I start comparing myself with others that things get messy.
My closest friends are witty, compassionate and talented; striking, inside and out. I’ve chosen them as friends neither because they make me feel good (though they do) nor because I’m naturally gregarious (I’m not). I’ve chosen them as friends because I see in them qualities I admire and seek to emulate. Unfortunately, spending time with said friends has a tendency to leave me degrading myself, fearing that I can’t or don’t measure up.
The problem doesn’t lie with my friends but in my own attempts to compare myself with them. The deeper problem is that I’m not doing it to better myself but because I lack self-confidence.
Insecurity is a master of illusion, creating a false sense of isolation. In our superficial society we see only what people present of themselves, what their internal PR gatekeeper allows. Our culture demands that we market ourselves, sell the image we want portrayed, never hint at any latent hurt or weakness. Consequently, we often fail to recognize that insecurity lies just beyond the surface with a volatility that ebbs and flows unpredictably, triggered by any number of things that seem most trivial or even nonexistent to the outside world.
The fact is that every one of us suffers from some amount of insecurity, from minimal to debilitating. Even the most self-assured people have been (or are) there at times.
I stumbled across this Twitter post awhile ago that has helped me put things into perspective.
The screen grab is a little blurry, and it’s important, so I’ll repeat.
One reason we struggle with insecurity: we’re comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel. (Steven Furtick)
I don’t know what you’re going through or how you feel about yourself right now. Maybe you feel overwhelmingly average, like your qualities and accomplishments pale in comparison with everyone else’s. Those are your behind-the-scenes feelings and moments; they might seem dowdy or even border on unbearable, but they’re immensely important. Those are the emotions and events—even the rough ones—that set the groundwork for your greatest highlights.
Maybe you feel like the problem isn’t with the behind-the-scenes but with the highlight reel, too. What if you still find it lacking or full of highlights that don’t feel as special as others that you see? Take heart in knowing that it truly is all subjective. Relatively few award-winning motion pictures boast glitzy all-star casts, big budgets or the most spectacular special effects. Often, the most compelling stories come down to “real” characters navigating everyday lives.
It’s not easy to shift your mindset and internalize this, but it’s vital to combating the cancer of insecurity. I find that I must remind myself many times each day, like an unrelenting alarm clock when you repeatedly hit the snooze button. Your life, your story, is comprised of both the behind-the-scenes moments and the highlights—it’s all important.
And you never know, your highlight reel might just be the one someone else is seeing!