Insecurity is that monster we let breed and feed and then it gets in the way of everything we do.
Want to begin your own project? Nope, that idea isn’t brilliant enough. Can’t speak to that interesting someone because you aren’t good enough. Can’t hit ‘apply’ on that application you’ve been working on for months because it’s not impressive enough. Can’t ask for that raise you’ve been working hard for because maybe, you aren’t quite as hard-working as you thought.
Let’s address this parasite that feeds on our confidence and good instinct. How do we unconsciously create this monster inside of us? Why do we let it live? What makes it stronger?
Insecurity sometimes stems from our need for approval. We live for it – our parents’ approval, our friends’ approval, our teachers’ approval, our boss’s approval, our spouse’s approval. Wherever we can get it from. We crave it. Our need for constant approval slowly feeds our insecurities, bit by bit, failure after failure. Every time we miss that grand expression of acceptance, our insecurity grows a little more.
Here’s the thing I want you to think about: External approval is a reflection of that person’s (approving party’s) acceptability, choice and standard of tolerance. My approval of you won’t be based on who you are or pretend to be, it will be a reflection of who I am and what is acceptable to me.
It’s been said countless times before, but as long as you are able to accept who you are, other people’s opinion of you shouldn’t affect you. I don’t mean this in an egoistic, chauvinistic way; I mean it in a self-satisfying, carefree way. And even though you’ve read it, it’s about observing in everyday life that we’ve been judging ourselves through the eyes of other people instead of letting our conscience decide if we’re right or wrong; instead of letting the mirror tell us if we’re pretty enough or not; instead of letting our achievements decide if we’re good at our jobs or not.
Our insecurities arise from our need of validation. We all want it. We all need it.
I saw it with myself recently. I post a link on Facebook, a picture on Instagram, a status on Twitter and I wait for the likes and re-tweets. Sure it’s a reflection of what I’m thinking, seeing and feeling but more importantly I have come to notice it’s not about how much it means anymore, it’s about how well received my updates will be.
So, if I post this picture of my garden flower, will I receive more or less likes than the picture I took of the worn out tree bark and dirt?
What I write has become less my expression of my innermost thoughts and more a conscious effort to be accepted as a “deep-thinker” or “voice of the silent”. My articles are now subconsciously being redirected to topics of readability and interest rather than mere ramblings or reflections of the turmoil in my mind.
I noticed this more when I had a chance encounter with a perfect stranger. A man in his 40s sat next to me one day, and we indulged in a conversation that didn’t last as long as it felt it did. We spoke of generation gaps, religious beliefs and tolerance, current IT age ruling our young minds, simple joys in life, travel, people, and so much more.
He shared some of his very personal experiences with me and I retaliated with some of mine, unconscious of judgment or the awkwardness of too much information. He even showed me one of his stories from his personal diary – a story he wrote on one of his travels. I was so touched by the story I suggested he share it with his friends and family and maybe write professionally too someday. To that he smiled and responded, “Only some people understand me and think like me. Professional writing is too mainstream for me.”
That word stopped me short.
I realized what he meant by mainstream when I applied that word to my work. It dawned on me that whenever I have written in my personal diary (which exists and has never been seen by a single living soul yet) and on my personal blog (which I do share with friends and family sometimes), the topics on both are very different and I immediately understood what he meant.
The reason my personal diary exists is because it is full of momentarily fits of word diarrhea I experience – a trance in which words flow and thoughts rush through my mind – I have no conscious or subconscious control over them. These are too random and personal, emotional and maybe even dark to appear on my personal blog.
The blog is therefore, only for my “mainstream” thoughts. My blog exists because it is created by the filtering process of validation. What may be accepted by my readers goes there – what may not be stays in the deepest corners of my personal diary – scribbled in doctor-like handwriting.
Our need for validation, which I explained to my perfect stranger as well once I recovered from my ‘eureka’ moment, is created by society and drives us to control our inner most deepest thoughts, desires, wishes and filters them to produce the public image of us.
What we share on the internet or even personally with close ones is the product of not only our artistic beautiful mind. It is the main course with a side of our own judgment. We take the basic elements of our being and alter those for people around us just to be accepted and appreciated.
The likes and shares, the re-posts – that’s what our soul is filtered by – the more the better we are. Our thoughts are left incomplete and unexpressed; our words stop at our lips and can’t leave our body to drop on other’s ears or eyes because it may not be acceptable.
This is the problem with our society – it feeds our ego and makes us temporarily elated falsifying a sense of happiness. Truth is, happiness isn’t based on our fragile ego; it’s based on being able to do what we like. Sadly, what we like has now been modified to what others want us to like and like that we like it. More simply put, we like what we think others will approve of us liking.
I like dark, sad poetry and I indulge in creating some basic form of it myself, but I will never show it to people because I don’t care any longer. Appreciation can’t feed my soul forever, so I won’t look for it any more.
I will do what makes me happy because my happiness has to stem from within me, not on other people’s perception of me. Join me, won’t you?