I was talking to a male friend of mine the other day, and he was telling me about how he was going to reunite with a lost love from over 20 years ago. They live several states a way from each other, and had been talking on the phone and texting. But they haven't seen each other in long time.
As he was telling me about this, I couldn't help but notice how insecure he was about seeing her again. Let me tell you this -- he is an attractive man who is 40, and has a fun, outgoing, extroverted personality. If you didn't know him well, you would assume he had no insecurities at all. Because from the outside in, he seemed to have everything. Good looks, great personality, successful career. And he appears to be a very confident person. So I thought, what could he possibly be insecure about?
I just sat back and listened. He said he needed to start running again to lose some weight. He even said he was considering some other cosmetic procedures like liposuction because he had didn't like how his body looked at the moment.
And I just sat there with my mind blown. Usually, we think women have more insecurities than men -- especially when it comes to body image. But I started to consider that maybe I was wrong.
Maybe there were more men out there like him that were insecure too.
Here's another example. I have another friend who has had the herpes virus for a while. Even though some time had passed since his diagnosis, he is still very nervous about dating. Because he was feeling so insecure about it, he did some research, and he found out that he was not alone. Other people had the same problem, and even found a herpes dating site where he could connect with others. Before that, he thought his romantic life was over. He assumed no one wanted a relationship with him because they don't want to get infected. And while he was also a confident, good-looking man, he still had this major insecurity.
When you're feeling insecure about yourself, you feel alone. While your conscious mind might acknowledge that you are not the only one in the world with insecurities, our emotional sides still feel like we're the only one.
This is evidenced by my surprise regarding my friends' insecurities.
But obviously, we're not alone. And after my friends opened up to me about their concerns, I freely shared my insecurities with them as well. I can't tell you how freeing it was.
And the reason it was freeing is for a several reasons.
First, it bonded us. We felt safe enough and trusting enough with each other to share our deepest insecurities. Most people feel the need to put up a front and act like everything is always fine. But for most people, everything is not always fine.
Second, as I had always suspected, it was confirmed for me that no one is really judging me at all. They're all so busy judging themselves that they don't really notice the things that I think of a my flaws. That's refreshing.
And finally, it made me realize that even the most good-looking, successful people in the world who appear to have it all are just like the rest of us. We all judge ourselves. And we're afraid other people are too.
But many times, they are not.
So, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your insecurities:
1. Re-frame them.
Let's say you have acne and are self-conscious about it. But think about all the other problems you don't have. Some people have worse skin conditions. Some people are 500 pounds overweight. Other people are homeless. And millions upon millions of people are starving in the world. In the grand scheme of things, what you are insecure about is probably very insignificant. When you look at it that way, it's easier to let go of your insecurities.
2. Be grateful for what you do have.
So maybe your siblings have made themselves into millionaires, but you haven't. That's okay. Really, it is. Be grateful that you have a job, food, and a roof over your head. And that you have a family. Once you focus on the good things in your life, you have less time to focus on what you are insecure about.
3. Remember that everything is subjective.
The standards of beauty change over time. And they vary from culture to culture. Marilyn Monroe was the ideal back the 1950s. But by today's standards, she's a bit too "full figured" for a movie star. And there are cultures that do not sure our values for a lot of different things. So just because our society says you have to be a certain way, that doesn't mean that it's some objective measurement of reality. It's not. Standards and ideals change all the time.
No one likes to feel insecure, yet it seems to be a universal human emotion. That's sad, don't you think? Why don't we praise ourselves just as much as we praise our loved ones? Why do we secretly (or not-so-secretly) degrade and criticize ourselves for no apparent reason? I don't know about you, but I think it's time that we all stop. Don't you agree?