This month, I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s “So Long, Insecurity”. It was when I started reading it that I realized it was a book for women. It’s addressed to women, but I thought the title applied to both genders. Men deal with insecurities too, and I have some of mine that I deal with and so I don’t mind reading a book that would help me out of them.
The book is so rich with everyday examples of insecurities – even real people’s real stories of how their different insecurities caused them to act stupidly – that I feel like it’s addressed to me sometimes, until I’m caught off-guard when she calls me (the reader) girlfriend. Then I’m reminded it’s for the ladies.
But it’s very good all the same! I especially like the hilarious real life stories that people wrote in, about how they acted like fools because of certain insecurities they were dealing with at the time.
A very important chapter of the book is the one where she identifies the roots or sources of our insecurities. She says there are really a number of common contributors to chronic insecurity, and the impact of each can differ dramatically from person to person.
I’m going to discuss only 3 of them here and also state the impact they’ve had on me personally, by making me insecure in certain areas of my life. I’m hoping that this will help you to identify your insecurities, trace their roots, and comfortably discuss their impact on your life. As these are healthy steps we can all take towards finally saying: So Long, Insecurity! You’ve been a bad friend to us.
Instability in the Home
You’re bound to grow up with some insecurity if you grew up in a home where your parents frequently fought, or you had an alcoholic parent who was always unstable in behavior. You never knew what to expect from them. It could be your dad hitting your mum when he was drunk, or your mum always disappearing from the home because she was hooked to some substance that made her very unstable. Parents with mental illnesses are very close to this too.
For me, my form of instability in the home was that we moved a lot. Before getting into secondary school, I attended 5 different primary schools just because we were always moving houses, localities, cities.
This affected the way I related with friends. Because I always had to lose them and then make new ones all over again, I stopped forming deep friendships with people even after all the moving stopped. I learnt how to go wide but not go deep. As one of my friends put it “I can be everybody’s friend but nobody’s friend.” I’m just insecure about losing my friends so I try to protect my insecurity by not completely enjoying their friendship.
A Significant Loss
This could be of people or of things. And since we are dealing with the roots of insecurity, we should be examining the losses that happen early in life because those are the seeds of insecurity that are planted in us and then manifest throughout our lives.
The loss of a parent is very significant; the loss of a sibling too. So is the loss of income in the household. Many people, myself included, have lived and grown up in homes where the source of livelihood was cut off, gone, lost, either through the death of the breadwinner or other unfortunate circumstances.
In my case, it happened just before I was born. My dad, who was a wealthy politician, had his assets seized by the military government. All of a sudden, he was without money to support his family and, to make it worse, he was locked up! You can imagine the shame my siblings felt, and all the insecurities that were planted in them from that time on.
It was milder on me. I only realized that we seemed to have a lot of ‘rich’ friends and family members, while we ourselves were not as rich. And I remember asking my dad why that was. The impact that had on me was to give me a bit of an inferiority complex, where I always looked at some people as ‘cool’ and wanted to be friends with them by all means, only to be shocked when I later found out that they thought the same of me. It still happens and I still ask myself why I’m shocked; don’t you think you’re good (cool) enough?
When you leave school and are applying for jobs, chances are that your email inbox will be inundated with “We are sorry” type letters. This is one experience that I know causes a lot of people to become insecure.
Job Security is a word because there is a thing like Job Insecurity. And people who are insecure about their job positions are the ones who lock their formulas on Microsoft Excel so that no one else would learn them. They are those who do a lot of sucking-up to the boss and taking up more work than they can even handle. They are the ones who allow themselves to be used and abused because they want to seen as useful and irreplaceable. They are the ones who malign their colleagues any chance they get, just so that nobody outshines them.
This insecurity that they feel may be as a result of the many rejection letters they received while job searching, so they feel they have to do everything they can to hold on to this one job they finally got.
That’s what rejection does. It makes us so afraid of losing things and people that we tend to hold on to them too tightly. If you’ve had your heart broken a couple times, then you’ll probably smother the other party in your current relationship with too much attention and neediness.
I haven’t dealt with rejection as much. I think it’s because I don’t go deeply enough in relationships with people. And that’s because of the insecurity I have around instability. I’m still working on that and my reading a book written for women is simply enough proof.
But I’m sure you have dealt with rejection; maybe at different levels, and I’m sure there are other things in your life that have caused you to be insecure at the moment they occurred, as well as trigger those insecurities much later in your life. So, if you don’t mind, I would love for you to share some of them here and let’s all learn from one another.
What are your insecurities?