For many of us, the word insecurity brings up a lot of things to mind. This is the time our inner critics would be making their appearance to tear our remaining bit of self-esteem.
This article describes insecurity as a feeling of inadequacy and uncertainty which affects our ability to handle situations due to anxious feelings. Whether we know it or not, everyone of us has an insecurity about something. With the most common ones being body image insecurity and financial insecurity. These two things usually affect our self-esteem the most because as humans we have learned early on that our value is correlated either to our attractiveness or our ability to provide.
For me, my biggest insecurity is not being good enough and being too much at the same time. Since my childhood, I remember being faced with the burden of being one of the best performing students and my parents would always tell me to do better and not slack off. This caused me to prioritize academics over anything else. The friends I do had back then started distancing themselves when I became more concerned about what to study next over what we could fun activities we could have been doing.
The isolation never bothered me or so I say. In truth, the situation triggers a deep fear within me that I would have to do good in everything if I want someone to stay with me. But I have also learned that I will also lose friends if I do study.
Caught in between two hard places, I was terrified and did not want to decide. I wanted to just be enough for someone without fearing that I always have to be the best or that I have to tone it down a bit.
What I have heard countless times are either jabs disguised as compliments to my supposed lazy intelligence or some sort of comment about how I was not deserving of the scholarship I am enjoying. These sorts of things have become the norm to me that I do not let it affect me anymore.
Although the damage has been done already. I do not take academics seriously anymore. Sure, my grades are still decent enough considering that I only study the lessons while making an activity hours before the deadline and never reviewing my notes for major exams but still deep inside I know that I can do better. However, the fear of losing friends over that is something that scares me to do better. I have allowed myself to stay in the mediocre zone if that will make my friends feel better about being better than me or having better grades than me.
This insecurity of being too much and not being enough at the same time does not only apply to academics. It also applies to my relationships. I remember that a lot of people who tried to court me grew intimidated when I share what I know and they would tease me about being smart but something is wrong with their tone. The next thing I know, they would be doing their best to distance themselves to me. I used to wonder if maybe it was because I should try pretending not to know topics that I know a lot about and just listen to them share their ideas about it without evidences and fact checking going on but it just made me so disgusted at myself for trying to hide myself that I stopped doing that.
The fear of being not enough is deeply rooted to when I got cheated on by someone I trusted after being told that what I do for them is more than what they expected but when I found out what happened, I spent my days asking myself, "Why is it still not enough to make you stay?".
Today, I learned that all of the situations that happened which contributed to my insecurity were out of my hands. Most of them happen because of what is happening to the other party and is not related to what I do or do not do. I realized that friends would cheer for me if I decided to take my studies seriously and not view me as a threat or a competition without the friendly battle in mind. A partner would still cheat if they are a cheater no matter what I do.
So I learned to just live my life and recognize my insecurities as proof that I am still human. I acknowledged the fact that I have shortcomings too and I worked on them everyday continuously.
I may encounter people whose actions would trigger my insecurities but now I know enough to know that what I feel has nothing to do with them and it is not their responsibility. Additionally, their actions have nothing to do with me too, and their thoughts are their own business. Their choices are theirs to make that I should not interfere with and the consequences are theirs to face.
Sometimes, I would still feel the weight of my insecurity when it is triggered and I still feel the urge to scream and to point fingers about how they are making me feel that way. However, instead of doing that or thinking that, I practiced in bringing self-awareness and recognizing that it is my own emotions at work which have nothing to do with someone else. What I feel is my responsibility and not theirs, so I instead sit in silence first to sort out my thoughts. And when I feel ready, I opened up about the persons involved about what I felt, not to blame them or make them feel guilty, but to inform them of what is happening and to allow them to share their side. If there is a misunderstanding, it is easily cleared without hurt feelings instead of being pent up and starting to become an ugly monster that will destroy the relationships and bonds I built throughout the years.
This was very painful for me as a child. I remember when I was a good student. My parents always wanted me to do better . At one point they stopped me from mingling with my friends. They always wanted me to study. But I was a good student.