Dealing with insecurity

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It may seem as though we live in a cruel, unpredictable, and unsafe world. We witness, hear about, and experience the viciousness, inhumanities, and unfairness of fellow humans, injustice and wickedness thriving under the sun, natural disasters and undesirable climates befalling nations, all of which have prompted us to constantly be on guard. We hold our personal safety and self-worth very dearly, and will hate to have either of them under attack. As a result of these perceived threats in what seems like a volatile, dynamic, and unstable universe, we are scarcely at ease, hardly comfortable, and mostly insecure. 

Emotional insecurity could be a reminder of the kind of world we live in, but its very existence and impact can be an exaggeration of our fears and expectations, which can and most commonly lead to poor health and lower quality of life. If you feel emotionally insecure, this means that you feel vulnerable and unsafe, and find the world to be a threatening place. It means that you have fears and suspect that you may have a bad experience, you make an effort to avert a perceived threat or try to extinguish/eliminate that threat. 

We indeed live in an unpredictable world, where wickedness and human egocentrism thrive, and where nature plays its mysterious games. This reality shows that no man is completely emotionally secure, because no man is truly all-knowing and all-powerful. None of us is in complete control of nature; we haven’t yet figured out how to overcome undesirable climatic changes, earth quakes, volcanoes, and so on. Natural resources are scarce in quantity, while human needs and wants are unlimited. We all have to compete for the limited resources that are available. We all want to be respected, accepted, and valued by other people in what seems to be a world where most people are apathetic/indifferent to our woes and hardships, struggles and pains. 

When all these undesirables are taken into consideration, it would seem completely reasonable to be emotionally insecure. However, regardless of what seems like an unsafe world, or the unsafe circumstances surrounding one’s life, nursing emotional insecurity can adversely impact the quality of your life, increase your tendency of falling sick, lead to depression, and enervate you. Studies have found that all suicide cases are attributed to emotional insecurity. Having emotional insecurity can ruin your general wellbeing, which is why there is the crucial need to deal with this rather harmful disorder of the mind. 

Emotional insecurity is largely a result of how one perceives the world and oneself, rather than an objective evaluation of the world and an accurate assessment of oneself. An emotionally insecure person often mentally magnifies the actual threat, so that the perceived threat is indeed many times greater than the real threat. For example, someone who is emotionally insecure may suddenly begin to think that he/she is being watched and diminished by other people on the sidewalk, thereby experiencing anxiety and discomfort as he/she walks along a street or around a town; when in reality, most people are preoccupied with their own personal problems. 

Emotional insecurity may give rise to low self-esteem, chronic guilt, low self-confidence, inferiority complex, and timidity. Living with the fear of rejection is a reflection of your insecurity. The fear of rejection may have sprung from having witnessed or experienced a crushing rejection in one’s life. Caution is thus shown in an effort to avoid reliving the same agonizing experience. And of course, the fear of rejection, which leads to negative expectations, makes it difficult for one to experience lasting serenity and fulfilment in life. 

Emotionally insecure people have a tendency to generalize, because it is the only way they can exercise caution and avoid reliving a bitter experience. Devastating experiences in the past can be a source of great emotional pain by merely thinking about them. It is even worse when one re-experiences them. In an effort to avoid re-experiencing a painful past, an insecure person would avoid taking a risk altogether. This often leads to false generalizations, such as ‘All tall people are bullies’, ‘Love is wicked’, ‘People are selfish and deceitful’, ‘All men are unfaithful’, ‘Everyone is out to take advantage of me’, ‘No one can love me’, ‘No one genuinely cares’, and so on. Generalizations then lead to caution and negative expectations. 

Overcoming negative expectations due to false generalizations can be difficult to achieve, but it sure can. And the only way to do so is to open oneself to the possibility of re-experiencing those bitter events over and over again. It is likely that some of the people you will approach will reject you, treat you badly, or disappoint you. It is likely that some of the risks you will take will fall through, and some of the sacrifices you will make will be futile. Yet, it is better to take risks after risks in an effort to improve the quality of your life, than to settle in your safe zone because you are afraid of reliving a bitter experience or losing something you value. Life is supposed to be lived, and you do not live by settling in your comfort zone. 

The way to deal with insecurity is to believe that you have a meaningful purpose to fulfil in your lifetime (read my article, ‘Why you are essential’) you are a valuable and desirable person, not because of your accomplishments and possessions, but because you as much as everybody else deserves to be loved and respected unconditionally. If you fail, are ridiculed, diminished, or rejected by other people, you don’t have to feel too bad about it. Their unloving actions shown towards you does not mean that you are disgracefully inadequate or worthless. You may have flaws and some imperfections, a past you are not proud of, or a problem you may be struggling with, they don’t make you any less significant and deserving of love and respect. 

Healthy people are courteous and polite, but not necessarily weak and docile. They understand that they live in a hostile world, but that is no reason to be hostile to other people. However, they understand that there is a need to be proactive and defensive once their security is under threat; they must act defensively and protect their own. Feeling insecure is an essential part of human life; it cannot be eliminated. However, it can be minimized. Therefore, strive to accomplish great goals, be polite, and shield yourself from the hostilities of others. That’s how to thrive in this world.