Welcome back to Self Acceptance, Discovery and Growth! First off, I just want to mention that we’re only 5 days away from World Mental Health Day, a very significant day for both sufferers and non-sufferers! I personally am feeling especially touched by this years’ day of support, and will absolutely be posting a special message on October 10th!
Today I’d like to go a bit deeper, by discussing insecurities. This one can be very hard to see or it can be really in your face. At least that was my experience; for the longest time I was simply feeling the brunt of my insecurities and then I only recognized a few of them. Over time I’ve come to know them fairly well and even have entire discussions sometimes when I can catch myself. A discussion goes something like this:
Insert criticism that makes me doubt a huge part of my self-worth. “Oh hi insecurity, you’re back again.” Yep. You know why though right? You just failed. “Yeah…I know. We just took that super personally.” But it’s not fair. We should tell them that they make the same mistake! How can they say that to us? Hypocrite! “Calm down… we don’t want to start an argument. Besides, they have a point.” That’s true. We do things wrong all the time. Soooooo many bad choices and what we were told now is just another example. “Look we’re not bad at everything…mistakes happen.” You sure? What we did is stupid and you know we have a long record of that…“Yeah I know but still. I’m sure. Kind of. Let’s just move on.” If you say so. I still think we mess up all the time. “I know. Shhhh. Later.”
A Good Foundation
Kidding aside (yes I use dark humour, it’s my coping mechanism and you’ve seen nothing yet), a discussion with your insecurities as they pop up is actually VERY important because you can begin contradicting them. I know that it’s super hard, trust me. I’m honestly not consistent in combatting them! But, living a life where your structural base is made of tremendous insecurity really doesn’t make for a sturdy house to build upon, if that makes sense! I would know… and I’m pretty sure you realize that too.
Now, let’s do some digging. Fun fun fun. What are your insecurities? What are your self-limiting beliefs? How do these affect your behaviour/life? Try to be as honest as possible even if you don’t like what you come up with. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of these insecurities. We’re not likely to have them unless we feel bad/guilty/ashamed of the thing itself. To give you a few examples, I’ll include some of my own insecurities.
The Reason I Need Sensodyne
I am very sensitive to criticism, which results in me lashing out or becoming resentful. I often find flaws in the other person because I get hurt so easily. I haven’t always reacted this way, in fact I used to beat myself up tremendously. I suppose to protect myself now I often turn it around. I know what I’m doing is wrong though and I always feel guilty about my reaction later and wish I could take it back. I end up preferring it when it’s only inwardly directed, but that’s not good either! In other words, I am insecure regarding any criticism, but I’m also quick to misinterpret what someone says and therefore see it as a personal attack. It can even be super small. For example I can falsely interpret the tone of a person and it will trigger self-doubt and fear which will probably impact the entire conversation.
I don’t believe in my ability to be successful. The two biggest examples right now are how I constantly worry that I will never be a good enough writer, I won’t succeed at becoming a psychologist and therefore I won’t be able to help anyone. Further, I don’t believe I’ll be good enough at anything because I feel mediocre in all things. Even if I’m a bit better at something than average, I never reach that top group. This kills me and I hate it. On a large scale it makes me feel like I’m a failure at life and won’t ever succeed at being happy. Often these things come together and cause me to give up on projects or at least always wonder if they’re worth even trying! Obviously this really negatively impacts my life.
I’m extremely insecure about my weight, hence my eating disorder. I think recovery is going to be a lifelong battle to be honest. I’m no less insecure about my body and weight and the thoughts are just as bad…I’m just doing my best not to act on them and having bigger goals saves my…bacon. (Why bacon?) Anyway this is a huge insecurity that I have to work around all the time. Oh and this absolutely leads to me being jealous of others because I constantly compare myself and come out on the losing side. What happens is that when I hear of / see / meet someone smaller than me, smarter or better in any way, it torments me and it’s sometimes visible to my family. I’m terrified of it showing in front of others but I don’t think it does. I think it just makes me even quieter and shy…and pretty depressed, as you can well imagine.
I have many insecurities, some of which I’m too confused about to discuss yet even with my psychologist, but this is probably my biggest insecurity of all. For those of you who feel this too, well…I’m just very very sorry because I relate tremendously. My largest insecurity is about the state of my mind. I can’t trust it as it has proven itself to unreliable and unstable. I am grateful for it when I write, love, feel beauty and joy, and many other things, but at the same time it scares me beyond explanation. I can feel myself moving towards a certain mood but other times my mind can turn on a dime and I never know when or how. Meaning I could be in the worst / most inconvenient / dangerous situation to switch but a small trigger could come along and flip that switch. Long story short, I am afraid of these drastic changes, especially when it comes to school and work. This was a lot worse when school wasn’t online and I don’t have a job right now. (I really wish I did.) Sometimes though, especially in the past but now as well, I’m afraid of becoming dangerous. Towards myself and now others. I have this anger now which is a very new feeling and is highly disconcerting!
Enough About Me!
Before this becomes a self-therapy session for me, I hope this helped you see the end (ish) result of digging. But hang on…I know this probably seems super intimidating. After all, how could it not? If you’ve been feeling the painful consequences of your insecurities and have been trapped in your disorder, you might find it hard to pinpoint what it is specifically that triggers your insecurities. At least, this was my experience for a long long time and continues to be because…HEY! Insecurities can be dealt with but another tends to take its place. Solution: Learn how to fight insecurities before they consume you, because they won’t really stop coming. But that’s not a story for today. Before we go, I’d like to give you a couple of questions to help you begin this exploration.
- In what situations do you feel the most ill-at-ease or out of place?
- Describe the qualities of a person/people you are jealous of? Personality, physical appearance, socioeconomic status / employment, etc. Then explain why you are jealous. (An example being: I’m not as thin as that person.)
- What questions asked by others make you the most uncomfortable and unwilling to answer?
- What are things that you’re ashamed of and can’t stop thinking about?
- Did you do something / go somewhere / experience something / end up in a situation that ended badly and now you’re afraid to repeat the incident?
- Have you been (or are) bullied / intimated about something that continues to trouble you because you think they’re right?
- Take a look at your relationships: significant other, family, friends, coworkers…
- Do you feel dependent on others for safety, comfort, not feeling alone, etc.?
- Are you going the other way to be as independent as you can?
- Are you afraid of getting hurt in relationships?
I hope these questions help, and I’ll add more when I think of them. Take care, and I send you courage! There will be more on this topic soon.
If you found this helpful and missed Part 1, you may want to take a look at Self Discovery, Acceptance and Growth – Part 1