Insecurity: A lack of confidence in oneself; self-doubtEnglish Dictionary
We have all suffered a bout of insecurity at one point or another. If you are among the blessed few who haven’t, you might know someone who struggles with an insecurity. This is my gift to this Christmas.
Insecurities are the most notorious home and relationship wreckers that I know of. Since humans are naturally set for self-preservation, this self-doubt is commonly projected onto other people; commonly the source of the insecurity.
Now before you say, “I don’t have/know anyone with insecurities” let me give you a few examples. Insecurities may stem from family background, weight, age, social standing, toxic relationships, feeling like something is too good for you, constant comparison of self to others, race, skin color, grades, bank balance, body shape and the list goes on.
Everyone has their Kryptonite
It is perfectly normal to feel insecure from time to time. What you do about that feeling is what matters. There is no need to beat yourself up about it. Do not try to lock it away in some part of your heart or brain; it will only poison you and cause you to implode at some point.
Insecurities are like emotional shadows; they flee with light. But like all shadows, they are also formed when a light source is obstructed. This brings me to the first point:
#1. You control your insecurity!
Say what! Yes, you do. Reason with me for a moment, shall you? Insecurities are as a result of your feelings about a certain thing, person, circumstance or situation. Feelings are developed from your thoughts about the said thing etc. You are in full control of your thoughts; unless they are from a subconscious pattern of thinking of course (which you also can allow or refuse). So bottom line, you control your insecurities.
One might argue that society, mainstream and social media feed insecurity. To which I would say; no one but you controls what you see, hear, watch or entertain from the media and society.
Many young girls and boys fall prey to the body shape and weight monster created by Instagram posts, Pinterest and all the other sources. I know I did. It did not help that some people close to me strengthened the image by calling me fat and asking why I did not do exercise or eat less. Overtime, my brain picked up the pattern of thinking that I am ugly and should change myself as long as my sister is smaller than me. Truth be told, there was a lot of positive affirmation going on around me from my parents and siblings but my mind latched onto the negative and ran with it.
At 22 years of age, I still feel terrible if someone so much as hints at the fact that I have gained weight. I have long since realised that this reaction is not as a result of a fact but an old pattern of thinking that left traces despite my efforts to free myself from it. In the same vein, I have an unhealthy attachment to comments about weight loss.
That was then, this is now…
The difference between now and then, though, is that I now know that I am in full control of how I feel about my weight and should not yield that power to anything else be it social media, people’s comments, my fickle self-image in that regard or comparisons. I am 100% responsible for what I think and how I reacted to the stimulus.
This, I believe, is the first step to dealing with any insecurity. If you do not take the reins, the insecurity will control you (a dreadful place to be).
#2. Create awareness
Once you shine light in a dark place, the shadows flee. Shine light into your insecurities. Create awareness in your mind and life about them. Pay attention to the comments you make about different things. Insecurities commonly prey on the unsuspecting mind that remains oblivious to their presence.
“Eh! Our ka small car can fit in this small parking space.”
“For us, we are not like those rich people who have so many assets.”
“I wish I could be like…”
All negative self-talk could potentially be indicative of an insecurity. Sometimes, we get so used to it that it takes someone else calling you out on it to realise it.
All negative self-talk could potentially be indicative of an insecurity.
Another thing that could show that you are insecure about something is when you get super defensive if someone makes a comment about it. I have found myself at the end of a perplexed stare after a tirade about how the person should mind their own business when the poor chap makes a comment about my appearance (commonly a comment I do not want to hear). The jokes just won’t be funny. You will find yourself blowing things out of proportion; creating trouble where it is not by misinterpreting a harmless statement.
Once you notice where your insecurity is, call yourself out on it anytime it rears its ugly head. You could get a friend to do it for you (PS: This person should be someone who you trust and love very much and who would never give up on you because things could get ugly). It will be weird at first but as you become more aware and realise that you are in control then you can move on to step three.
#3. Truth Vs Opinion
Most insecurities stem from opinions; either our own or those of others. Upon realising where you insecurity lies, it is imperative that you understand the possible facts or events surrounding it.
In my case, these are the facts:
- My cousin probably did not know what else to talk to me about.
- I am a beautiful, intelligent, kick-a** girl!
- My body shape does not have to be the same as that of anyone else for me to be considered beautiful.
The opinions feeding your insecurity can easily be cut off by truths about the same thing. Go ahead and speak truth into the insecurity. Also, if there is anything you can do about the situation, do it! Insecurity about being overweight can be done away with when you workout and get in shape. Money-based insecurities can be thwarted with good solid financial habits of making money (working for it), saving money and growing it.
If you can do something, do it!
However, this does not guarantee that the insecurity will go away. It may morph into something else like a need for material things; fancy cars, clothes and whatnot. Effort, alertness and consistency on your part will make a huge difference. Time and again, the insecurity may try to get its claws back into you. All you have to do in such a case is remind yourself that you control how you think and feel and speak truth into the situation.
#4. Seek help.
Seek help! Professional or not; sometimes we get in over our heads. If you find that you cannot get your feet under you in a storm of insecurity, find a hand to hold; a lifeline if you may.
You might find that you are a person’s lifeline. In this case, love on the person! Love them unconditionally. Show them the truth about their awesomeness. Even if it is only one thing that is great about them, point it out. Make it a point to call them out NICELY when self-depreciating talk comes out of their mouth. They might push back and tell you that you are lying (you had better not be lying). Compliment them, don’t flatter them. There is something good about everyone in the world! All you have to do is find it and help them see it.
Insecurity does not have to control you, your relationships or your life! Stand up under it. If you have any tips on how to deal with insecurity, please share them in the comments.
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PS: I promised to write about developing a consistent workout routine and I will post that as well. This felt closer to my heart so I wanted to share it first.