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Akanna Okeke: 5 Unlikely Situations That Reveal Your Insecurities



dreamstime_m_38496225I recently saw a post on social media. It was a video portraying the lifestyle of Nigeria’s super rich in England.  The person who posted it left a sort of warning that said “don’t hate, just watch and enjoy”.  However, the comments I saw beneath the posting did not reflect a heed to the warning.  The ‘commenters’ were seething with indignation over what they thought was an ostentatious display of wealth by the characters in the video.

I later had a discussion with a friend and the topic of the video came up. He had not seen it at the time, but he had something profound to say; not about the video, but about the viewers and their comments.  He said that situations like that usually reveal people’s insecurities.  So those comments were simply people projecting their insecurities onto what they thought was a threat to it; a revelation of it –they felt ‘exposed’.

This got me thinking about situations in life where I have projected my insecurities or have watched others do so.  I came up with this non-exhaustive list with the intent of perhaps helping you to identify yours, and begin to address them.

A Friend Makes a Bold Move
I have a friend that quits her job whenever she has her mind made up that it isn’t what she bargained for.  The amazing thing is that she usually has no other job to move on to when she quits.  She just goes back home and starts looking for another.  That’s quite unheard of, especially in Nigeria. So, how do you think her other girlfriends react when this happens? “Are you crazy?” “So you just up and leave without having another job to go to? Who does that??”

She gets all these comments and she asks me why people think they have to tolerate intolerable situations at their jobs just because they don’t have another job waiting. Why don’t they trust themselves and their ability to find another?  Of course I would smile in response but, in my mind, I answer the question saying: “Don’t you know what the term ‘job-security’ means to people?  There’s ‘security’ in that word for a reason.  People cannot fathom living without that security and when it happens right before their eyes, to somebody close, it ruffles their feathers, rattles their cages, and they scream in opposition; projecting their insecurities onto you and your situation”.

TV Game Shows
I was watching an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire one evening, with my sisters.  There was a contestant who had been doing so well, advancing through the rounds until he was asked a question that we all knew the answer to.  Unfortunately, the man didn’t know the answer to that question and decided to “phone a friend”.  As soon as he made that decision, one of my sisters voiced out: “Ah Ah!! Even I know the answer to that question!”

Fortunately, another of sisters, who’s a psychologist, was with us and immediately explained to us what just happened in ‘psychological terms’.  In effect, she said that my other sister had little belief in herself. During the course of the show, she had subconsciously placed herself intellectually below the contestant and so when he missed the question, she felt exposed. All of a sudden, she found herself above the man she had once placed above her and that insecurity caused her to protest in that manner.

As for me, I just made sure not to say anything again throughout the rest of the show, before someone psycho-analyses me. That was my own little insecurity.

I once had a roommate who went out clubbing with some of his friends one night.  The next morning, he looked very worried.  I asked him what the problem was, and he explained that he had seen one of his (male) friends kissing a guy at the club. [This obviously did not happen in Nigeria, so y’all should chill]

His concern was whether he should ever hangout again with his friend.  I thought the decision was obviously his to make but I wanted to know the reason why he would choose not to talk with his friend anymore.  And he asked, very insecurely, “what if he makes me gay?” Wow! I couldn’t even contain myself.  I had to ask him: “Are you that unsure of yourself that you think someone else can change your orientation?”  He thought about that for a moment and admitted that he probably wasn’t grounded in his own beliefs; not standing for something, hence able to fall for anything.

Driving, and Having Drivers
Growing up, I had a friend whose dad always drove his cars himself. Given the times and his status, he was sure overdue for a diver.  I asked my friend one day why this was, and he laughed and said he could recall only once when this happened.  His dad sat right beside this poor driver, monitoring him closely and yelling out to him what to do: “Brake, brake, brake!! Don’t press the clutch too hard!!”  I laughed so hard, but then I remembered that I had hardly seen my mum being driven by someone else.  And when she was, say she was on a bus travelling long distance, she would always stay awake throughout because she trusted no other driver but herself.

Looking at these kinds of people, I usually notice a common trait.  They always overwork themselves.  They do not think others are competent enough to have the tasks delegated to them.  That is a sign of insecurity.  It translates into many areas of life and if not checked, will cost such people an enjoyable life as they will never sit back and enjoy the ride of life, but will always be anxious to grab the wheel.

Workplaces and the Changes That Happen There
I’m pretty sure most of us can relate to this, only that we might not have thought of it as a display of insecurity.  There are managers who find it hard to delegate (maybe they are those people who refuse to have people drive them in their cars too!), employees who refuse to teach others what they know (forgetting that it was someone else who taught them) so that they would be the only ones who possess such knowledge in the department.  And then there are those who don’t like it when someone else is being praised for some work done.  They always look for the ‘but’ in that situation.

All these are displays of insecurity.  The fear that someone else could, perhaps, be better than they perceive themselves to be.

Insecurity leads to fear, which then leads to anxiety –a feeling of nervousness, worry or agitation about something you think will happen to you.  You would agree with me that it is definitely not a healthy place to be.

It is not enough to identify the avenues through which our insecurities are revealed, although that’s a good place to start.  We should also seek to fix them by finding out their root causes.  If I caught myself breathing fire at some video showing a bunch of rich kids enjoying life, I would ask myself why I am angry. Maybe it’s because I don’t think it’s fair.  Then why don’t I think it’s fair? Maybe because I don’t think I can ever become that rich. Why? Because I’m not willing to do unsavory things.  Why do I think I need to do unsavory things to get rich? Because that’s what people around me have always thought and said and so, I have always thought and said the same thing.

It appears the problem is with me –with the way I think and the people I associate with.  Maybe I need to change all that. Maybe I need to change my association and read books that will teach me to think right.  The point is, ask yourself why, and keep asking until you get to the root of your insecurities and once that dragon is identified, you can then slay it!

Photo Credit: Atholpady |

Akanna is an avid reader, writer, Risk Analyst and a budding Social Entrepreneur. He’s passionate about personal development, and influencing others to succeed!


  1. Anonymous

    September 19, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    The one about rich people, their kids and women that bleach points to a lot of BN commenters. I’ve observed it for over a year now. People may say it’s anger at politicians’ stolen money, ‘just airing their opinion’ etc, but it’s facts.

    • Gorgeous

      September 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      I hope we never get to a place where we totally embrace the flaunting of stolen money! that is just sick. Stop trying to slide that in there. It shows you lack morals.

    • Anonymous

      September 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      please don’t miss the point just to defend your bs. Is every rich person a nigerian politician ? Who the hell are you to tell me what morals I have and don’t have. Judgemental bullshit. Abeg abeg Mrs Morals

    • Stanis

      September 19, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Gorgeous you missed the point. ladies shouting about bleaching meanwhile some have bleached but all are yellow on Instagram. It seems to me that there are more non-bleachers who ‘tone’ and filter themselves lighter in pictures than the actual bleachers. It defeats the point to me and I think a lot of you will find that you are guilty. Akanna you are very on point for this one.

  2. Daphne_647

    September 19, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    thank you for this article sir. it made me realize that there are some parts of me i need to change.
    And it also makes me understand my supervisor at work a little more. that man tries to belittle me at any chance he gets o. I am sha leaving this place at the end of the month because it has started to affect confidence in myself and doing the job.

  3. Steph

    September 19, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Hmm this article just made me psychoanalyse myself. Just today I made a comment on Linda ikejis post (though it was not posted) fuming about her forced American accent in the video
    Does that mean im jealous of her wealth and that was the only thing I could find fault with to make me feel better about myself? Hmmm perhaps
    On a completely unrelated note I read this post with an image of a female author in my head until I got to the end and realised it was written by a man.

    • african girl

      September 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

      same here. i thought the auther was female

    • african girl

      September 20, 2016 at 9:39 am

      author*. Does me correcting my misspelled word mean i have some sort of insecurity that other BN commentators will think i don’t how to write proper English? LOL!!!

  4. tunmi

    September 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    You made some good points. I’d like to hear the thoughts of your psychologist sister on this. The job security one, yeah it’s a serious insecurity. The inability to fend for oneself is a serious fear. For me, it’s just as bad as bringing in a kid I cannot care for. Now the rich kids enjoying life….l.m.a.o. with Nigerians….bros, you’re defending something else there. Especially when these children are direct beneficiaries of some massive corruption. People have died when it could have been avoided, businesses have been ruined when they didn’t need to.

  5. linda

    September 19, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    This points to a tweet someone posted (@Cohann), about how people are obsessed with finding cracks in the lives of people who post about their happy love lives on social media. Which is why blogs like NGL and BN articles on celeb breakups thrive. People hate to see someone posting happy stuff, especially if it’s from a rich, beautiful woman. You see people literally counting down till they breakup or going online to find out whether her husband is cheating on her, or her bags are fake. Truth be told, some people are beautiful, married to rich men that adore them, have good careers, nice bodies, kids that play the violin etc. I do find some SO annoying and corny though, but it’s their life, their reality. Some are rich, some aren’t. Some lose weight easily, some don’t. But even if you find the cracks in theirs, it won’t make yours more cemented. It’s something I learned to live with a while ago, and I realised that my life too is a blessing, whether Bae and I fly first class to Paris every weekend or not.

    • Kooks

      September 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Until today I have never cared to like a comment, infact ehn, I love your comment gannnnnn. Spot on!

  6. Daizzy

    September 19, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Bellanaija you practically just ruined my experience with your annoying Etisalat ad! I understand you want to have client ads on your site, but it shouldn’t be intrusive and take away from the reader’s experience! There should be an option to also close it! You might think this is the best way to get people’s attention with an ad, but I can bet you most people will find it annoying! Keep it up and watch the number of hits on your blog die! You just lost a reader till you fix the annoying pop up AD!


    September 19, 2016 at 10:03 pm



  8. The real D

    September 20, 2016 at 1:47 am

    The job one was me, i.e not wanting to train others on the job so I could be the only in the company to know how things are run. However, unlike the example the author gave, i had to teach myself how to get things done as all the people that knew how to do the job had left the company and the person that was to train me upped and left the day i took the position. So yea i had to learn on the go, training wheels off and all but that did not stop me from losing my job with the same company, no not that position. I was promoted for my performance but was assured that should things not work out in my new role I would be reinstated in my other position that never happened, I had trained someone else on what i did and yup she is sitting comfy today, as she is now the only one in the firm that knows how to do what i taught her. Was i upset? not really,( that was because i knew and still know God had a better plan for me) but reading this also made me realize yes it was job security that kept me from teaching others until my promotion forced me to. I mean when i took over that role i did way better than the last person that had the position prior to my stepping in and that made me quite popular not only in my department but with the entire firm and it was a multinational corporation, so fear catch me that if i taught someone if they did better than me than people will speak of me like they did the person i took over from. I am done with that, i will teach others should i find myself in that position again because like i said it did not help me keep my job anyway, i.e where was the security i was expecting it to provide???

    Nevertheless, in that same company i had someone that did not like others being praised, no matter how irrelevant it may be she would always find a way to diminish others accomplishment although she was well known and praised for many things within the company but once she felt attention was going to someone else, madam was never happy. I had just assumed that she just wanted to be the only one climbing the corporate ladder (and she was too on an accelerated program) but never viewed it as an insecurity. Nevertheless, come o my people don’t all this motivational -success speakers tell us to find a niche and be good at it to make yourself indispensable both in the corporate and business world??? has that changed??? if it is a niche then everybody else cannot know it abi???

  9. EbonyFre

    September 21, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I don’t think you clearly understand the meaning of insecurity.
    Interesting stories, but somewhat unrelated, except te last point which is related to the topic

  10. Olanna&Odenigbo

    September 21, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Hmmm that part about taking the leap with no plan in the waiting….. I recently ended a relationship with a man in his 40s, we had different directions…. he was convinced I was leaving for another guy. Actually, he assumed I was going back to my ex, and he did same on his end…..till after break up he saw me getting on by myself slowly with no ex in sight… He actually sat me down one day and asked ‘so you just left without having another relationship to move on to?’ I thought hell yesss, its a hell of a lot better than emptying myself in such relationship with him- like water into a basket. I cannot shout abeg. at some point you gotta help yourself, cos the future of staying miserable with anybody to avoid being single, is more terrifying for me, than the singleness itself.

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