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  • Writer's pictureErika Bugbee, M.A.

For Teens: The Sneaky & Misleading Effects of Doubt & Insecurity: Breaking the Spell of Imagination

Updated: Mar 1

Do you ever wake up in the morning to the memory of something you said or

did the day before that you intensely regret?

And the dread is so uncomfortable you have to move around or get up in order to escape the feeling?

It seems to center around social interactions for some reason – some trivial comment you

blurted that fell flat, came out wrong, or revealed some lame side of you that you normally keep safely hidden away.

Or some moment in which your social awkwardness revealed itself, and now everyone

knows about it.

I can't tell you how many of my clients talk about these frequent moments of shame.

I bring it up because I was recently swapping stories about this very thing with a friend of


This guy just might be the most ‘socially at-ease' person I’ve ever met. He gets along with

everyone, he likes people, people like him, he’s good in groups, he’s good one-on-one.

But that’s what I find so refreshing.

Even this super social guy, with all his confidence and self-assuredness gets caught in waves of doubt and self-consciousness.

Insecurity is something that visits all of us. Even adults that have their sh*t together.

If you’re a teen or young adult, or you have young people in your life, you know that

adolescents typically have more insecurity and emotional turmoil than any other age group.

Their chemistry is in a state of chaos and constant change, their mood swings are fast and

furious, and their ability to regulate their emotions is a brand new skill they have to learn on

the job. While everyone watches.

It can be a frightening and disorienting experience being a teen.

But what so many of my teen clients find reassuring is the fact that even the stable

fully-functioning adults get insecure and start questioning and doubting themselves at times.

It’s normal. It’s a thing that happens to regular people.

And more importantly, doubt and insecurity isn’t a sign that there’s anything wrong with us or

our lives.

Self-consciousness isn’t a sign that we’re faulty, broken, impaired, or missing any


Insecurity, doubt, and self-consciousness are signs that we’re in a temporary low mood and seeing ourselves through doubt-colored glasses.

We simply get lost in our thoughts and feelings. That’s what moods do. It’s normal.

The sneaky part is that in those low moods, our imagination creates the illusion that we need

to fix ourselves, change ourselves, or re-evaluate our lives.

But what’s amazing about people is that while we all get swept up in our thoughts, we’re also

capable of realizing that our imagination plays tricks on us. That it lies to us.

And that realization protects us from buying into those lies.

That’s what happened to Cesar Millan, the guy I talk about in today’s video.

Cesar Millan is a world-renowned dog trainer, author, and TV producer.

But despite all his achievements and self-confidence, he spiraled into doubt and insecurity (at the height of his success!) and ended up in the lowest point of his life.

He said he felt like a failure. Like he wasn't good enough, that he had no worth. He questioned himself and every part of his life.

(To watch the episode trailer of Cesar Millan’s show in which he shares his personal story,

click here: ** Please note that while many

viewers find this episode to be therapeutic and hopeful, the subject matter is sensitive and

talks about depression and suicide. Viewer discretion is advised.)

So insecurity and self-doubt happens to us all.

And yet it’s possible for each of us to catch onto the fact of that spell -- the doubt-colored glasses spell.

And once we do, the spell loses its grip on us.

That’s what happened to Cesar Millan.

And it happens to teens every single day. Somehow we can see our friends under the spell of doubt, and we can see they've bought into an illusion.

It's just a little trickier to catch it in ourselves. But it's definitely possibly.

While teens can’t stop their imaginations from running wild, a little bit of understanding into how our thoughts can twist and distort our outlook gives them a profound advantage.

They get less carried away and less spooked by their dark and insecure thoughts, take their

moods in stride better, and recover faster.

Anyone can get good at low moods – having moods without getting eaten alive by them.

That’s what today’s video is about.

Click below to watch.

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