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Your Better Self with Akanna: 3 Sources of Insecurity

Akanna Okeke

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Akanna OkekeThis 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?

Rejection
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?

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

12 Comments

  1. Arcturus

    May 15, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Because I’ve been treated badly by people I’ve truly cared for and shown love. I’m insecure about people’s intentions and act ruthless and uncaring. I find it hard expressing feeling because of the risk that it wouldn’t be received well.

    Having an extra year while my mates and close friends graduated makes me insecure about my smarts. I tend to overcompensate, and overshow my intelligence. I’m also cynical when I’m at a high knowledge position.

    I also relate to not feeling cool enough, and that reflects on how I’m quick to judge people as “dead” or razz.

    Growing up in a family that doesn’t express love. It’s always weird saying I love you, even when I truly feel it. Also, growing up wish constant harsh criticisms makes me over critical of people. This comes of me hating or resenting people I care about.

    Pheeew…. That felt good,

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Wow, Arcturus! You’re so in touch with your inner self. I think you’re in such a good place because you’re able to identify your insecurities, their sources, and comfortable enough to discuss them.
      What’s left is to root them out, if you haven’t started that process already. The book helps – it’s helping me see how to respond appropriately to insecurities and I’m almost at the point where she lays out how to root them out. I think you should read the book! 🙂

      Way to go, feeling good! 😉

  2. Rekia

    May 15, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Losing someone early in life and fearing that it might happen again or you might get to feel the sudden rush of pain again, it can’t be explained, but you’ll heal I promise, better still get a tattoo and it would be just okay!

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 16, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      That’s so true, Rekia!
      Even losing my brother when he was 25 made me very scared of turning 25 two years later and also prompted me not to get too close (in terms of friendship) to those who acted like him; because I thought I would lose them too. And all these were as an adult. Now, I can imagine the deep roots that type of loss would have on a child – they would grow up with deep insecurities and would be in dire need of help rooting them out!

      What does the tattoo mean?

  3. Ephi

    May 15, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    I have realized that in certain environments, some people deliberately try to attack your self esteem and get you to question yourself / become insecure. Some do it because they themselves are insecure, or others because they feel threatened in some way. Particularly when you find yourself as a minority in the midst of biased and or racist people. Now, I see what they are trying to do whenever they try their silly stunts and simply deflect it. By God’s grace, I am strong, confident and not in need of anybody’s validation, particularly people that mean nothing to me – so such attempts are dead on arrival.

    One thing that makes a big difference is having a strong support network, which for me is my faith, my family and very select friends.

    • susi cho

      May 15, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Ephi i looove your choice of words (SELECT FRIENDS) it takes someone who has discovered self to choose the people he rapport with as friends and thats one sign of a healthy self esteem. You recognise people in lack of this when they try so hard to please everyone and make everyone like them. Well encountering christ took away most of my insecurities but am still working on one which was as a result of a strict upbringing because my parents didnt like the people around us and didnt want the girls to get pregnant so,it was after school eat,read your books and go to bed, never had friends come visit us, never celebrated my birthday,infact childhood was almost too boring until my aunt came and it became fun fun. so whenever we /i have a visitor i feel stressed trying to make it perfect even before they come and i become uncomfortabLe wishing they change their minds .I only enjoy friendships in a distance and public places so, this is not part of any of the three root cause nmentioned. NICE TOPIC AKANNA

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 16, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Great comment, Ephi! Hurting people hurt others, just like insecure people try to strip you of your security. The deal is to see the game they’re playing before hand and not fall prey to their devices. We can even choose to rise above, and help them instead!

      I particularly liked your last paragraph. We all need that support network! And it reminded me of the article I did on The 5 Fs —> 5 Areas You Have To Get Right in Life (https://www.bellanaija.com/2017/08/better-self-akanna-5-areas-get-right-life/)

      Just add Finances to your mix there, because building financial independence gives you a level of Freedom and SECURITY too! 🙂

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 16, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      @sushi cho: Love your comment! And I’m happy that you have encountered the main uprooter of insecurities – Christ the King! 🙂

      Your upbringing was interesting, and it still gives you stress. I’m sure it’s probably addressed in the book, as I only picked out the first 3 sources to discuss. She goes on to discuss more of them and then how to deal with them and uproot them; running to Christ being number 1!

      So keep on building your self in faith and seek quality help especially from good book, and in no time you too will be saying: So Long Insecurity! You’ve been a bad bad friend!!

      Thanks for writing in and validating Ephi’s comment! I know Ephi doesn’t thrive on our validation but yours definitely comes from too good a place to be ignored 🙂

    • Ephi

      May 17, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Thanks susi cho, the good thing is we do not live with our parents forever and so at some point have the chance to shape our own lives.

      Akanna,
      You are right on the money! Although I’m well compensated, I do not intend to continue in this corporate path for the long term. Financial independence away from paid employment has been my focus area for about 2 years now. I am quite close to getting it off the ground and really excited about it.
      Also, I am so sorry to hear about your loss.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 17, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      That’s great to hear, Ephi! Well done!!

      Thanks for your condolence – God’s helping us deal with the loss.

  4. OLAWALE

    May 15, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    I can relate to the following two;”We are sorry ” type letters and Living with a Temperamental Father…

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Yes Wale, even if you didn’t want the job to start with (maybe because of little pay offered) that letter with “We are sorry” still has a dampening effect.

      And a temperamental father causes a lot of instability in the home, planting deep insecurities in the children. God help us be good parents, and God help you root out your insecurities!

      Cheers!!

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