Sunday, February 3, 2013

Insecurity and How It Affects Us All

"Most bad behaviour comes from insecurity." ~ Debra Winger

Who in this room has not felt uneasy, inadequate and displaced?
Who in this world has not felt envy, anger, jealousy or hatred?

Do you know where all these negative emotions and thoughts stem from?

Michael Neill suggests that they originate from insecurity.

What contaminates us is our own sense of insecurity. It is like a virus that transforms all positive energies, thoughts and feelings into ugly ones. What's worse, it makes us into lesser beings than what we know we are capable of.

Apparently, people who suffer from insecurity are said to possess the following traits in varying degrees:-


  1. Have difficulties in establishing healthy, long-lasting relationships.
  2. Be perceived incorrectly by others as being snobbish or uppity.
  3. Become victims of fears that impair their freedom of action or choice.
  4. Be candidates for paranoia, feeling others are out to get them.
  5. Scare others away from them by their defensive attitude.
  6. Be over-controlled emotionally, having problems letting others in on their emotions. This can lead others to guess what is going on until the passivity of the insecure person leads to an over-reaction by the others, resulting in conflict or rejection.
  7. Have problems on the job or in school when they have the knowledge, skills and abilities to do a task efficiently but are told to do it in a different, less effective manner. They get so uptight about the job and are fearful of standing up for what they believe that they get angry, hostile and resentful until they either quit or succeed in submerging their emotions.
  8. Get passed over for promotions, advances or honours because they are so quiet about what it is they do. This leads the insecure persons to feel more unaccepted, unappreciated and under-valued.
  9. Have problems meeting people and often can become debilitated socially by chronic shyness.
  10. Become so inward that they seek to escape into their fantasy life rather than deal with the reality of their lives.

Though the list is not exhaustive, but it gives us some ideas. Of course, the society and its insistence on what is acceptable and the norm do not help alleviate the sense of insecurity that one may feel. 

From wikipedia, emotional insecurity is defined as 

A person who is insecure lacks confidence in their own value, and one or more of their capabilities, lacks trust in themselves or others, or has fears that a present positive state is temporary, and will let them down and cause them loss or distress by "going wrong" in the future. This is a common trait, which only differs in degree between people.
Insecurity may contribute to the development of shynessparanoia and social withdrawal, or alternatively it may encourage compensatory behaviors such as arroganceaggression, or bullying, in some cases.

Naturally, there are many levels of insecurity and it affects people in different ways. For example, I know some of the most good looking and beautiful people who are also insecure but in varying degrees. Hence, they may feel the need to project or assert their "beauty" more than others. And they may choose to do so in a variety of ways.
In other cases, some people who display a high level of aggression may use their hostility or confrontational attitude to mask their own insecurity. It is interesting to note how some of the "loudest" individuals may be hiding their insecurity by over compensating with their speech or "loud behaviour".
Insecurity can wreck havoc in our communication with those around us, our friendships and relationships with loved ones. So, how do we really break free from the chains of our insecurity?
Michael Neill further expounds that understanding our own insecurity will help us cleanse ourselves from these negative contaminations. Perhaps, even sets us free. 

I find his article helpful in breaking down insecurity for us to see, and thereby making it easier for us to visualize its dire effects on us. 

Please read his article from Huffpost below. 


Michael Neill

Understanding Insecurity

What follows is not a trick question:
Would you rather feel exhilarated, grateful, humble, inspired, resolute, compassionate, and content, or...fearful, sad, worthless, jealous, angry, overwhelmed, and bored?
More to the point, would it surprise you to realize that there was only one difference between the deeper feelings on the first list and the uncomfortable emotions in the second?
One of the many gifts we are given as human beings is the gift of thought, and specifically the ability to imagine things that have not yet happened (and may or may not ever happen). Used one way, imagination allows us to create new possibilities and acts as a stepping stone to creation. Used in another way, it allows us to create feelings of worry, insecurity, and dread in our bodies as we envision all sorts of imminent and eventual disasters in our minds.
The same thing that allows an engineer to design an airplane allows a passenger to imagine that airplane crashing; the same creative element that we use to envision a happy marriage can be used at other times to envision our partner straying and that self-same marriage crumbling under the strain.
In short, the only thing that gets in the way of our experiencing our deeper feelings on a regular basis is the emotional contaminant of our own insecure thinking.
Here's how the misuse of imagination (to create insecure feelings in the body) turns deeper feelings into uncomfortable emotions:

Think about it -- when you are feeling grateful for what you have in your life, you feel wonderful; add in thoughts about how it's all going to disappear (or is already gone and will never come back) and you get to feel miserable and despair.
Admire someone that inspires you and it may well encourage you to find that same strength, beauty, or resourcefulness inside you; add in insecure thoughts about how you'll never be like them and you'll find yourself filled with jealousy and self-loathing.
Happy and content in your marriage? Add in some worry thoughts about how the excitement and passion you once had is gone forever and watch that contentment turn into boredom faster than you can begin taking your partner for granted.
So what do we do about insecure thoughts? If the consequence of insecurity is the contamination of the deeper feelings we all long for and the creation of the emotional states many of us strive to avoid, this would seem to be a pretty important question.
For me, the answer is not in trying to change our behavior or even to control our thoughts, but simply to deepen our understanding of how the whole mechanism works. When I know that feeling emotionally grungy simply means that my thoughts are headed in the wrong direction and my imagination is in negative overdrive, I can take some time out to let my thinking "settle."
I don't have to fix my life, quit my job, dump my partner, or go into therapy -- because no matter how long I've been worrying myself into an emotional mess, I'm only ever one thought away from a deeper peace.
Does that mean it's easy?
Not always. I still get caught up in my own insecure thinking from time to time, and in some ways I've written this post as a reminder for myself. But the more I look for a deeper understanding of how I'm creating my experience of life through my thinking, the more insight I get and the more freedom from the effects of those thoughts I seem to experience.
And when I look behind the content of those thoughts to their source, I occasionally glimpse that space within which thoughts arise and fall. And in that space, I feel both "the peace that passeth understanding" and "the understanding which bringeth peace."

With all my love,

Personally, I feel that our thoughts, emotions and mental state of mind is likened to a coin. The good side presents all the positive possibilities which we could enjoy, if only we allow ourselves to choose that path or side. 
The flip side or bad side does the complete opposite.
For example, courage and cowardice reside in that same coin. Depending on how we tilt, through our choice - we may end up feeling cowardly or brave.
In every situation we face, we always have a choice - face it bravely or internalize it with negativity and that often produces very unpleasant results for us. 
Therefore, how we internalize each situation will determine how we would learn to cope with it. And how we cope will undoubtedly dictate the consequences we have to endure/face. 

As illustrated from the above chart in Michael Neill's article, once we remove the insecurity from the whole equation - our thoughts and feelings would no longer retain any negativity. What's more important, we would not feel any more tormented than we need to.

Of course, all these are easier said than done. However, why should we not even try and work at it day by day so that we can finally break free from the chains of insecurity? 

When we understand how our insecurity influence our thoughts and emotions, we become better equipped to deal with them. We can even control them in a positive manner.

Every single thing in life takes practice. Nothing of great value comes easily.
Even as we drag ourselves to the gym day in day out, we need to invest time and effort in moulding our bodies to a desired shape or size.
The same can be applied to the motions of our minds. 
Eventually, in time, we will become better and stronger at identifying our insecurity and work towards stamping it out.

When we know how to overcome our own negative feelings and thoughts, we can then focus on resolving the daily challenges of our lives. Because the noise that insecurity creates inside the vicinity of our minds or hearts will be cease to become the main highlight of our lives. We will gradually stop wasting our time dwelling on things which do not help us. Then we can finally listen to the voices that really matter - for example, the voice of our own wisdom, intuition or the voices of people who truly care about us and whose advice is helpful. Without the maddening racket of insecurity, we can concentrate on improving our situations and rectify our problems or mistakes. 

Then in time, we would also learn how to utilize insecurity in a positive manner. How so, you may ask?

Once we understand insecurity, we would not let it stop us or hinder us in any way. It ceases to be our barrier. Because we know that ultimately we want to progress and move ahead in the journey of our lives. We do not wish to remain stagnant or regress. Hence, we would only employ insecurity to a point whereby it acts as a spur to propel us further ahead or do better and become stronger. And we would only utilize it for that purpose and that purpose only.

Basically, anything that has the power to stop us from becoming better is an obstacle. It always starts from within and it will take over us completely because we allowed it to. It would get to a point until we become so wrought with negativity that we are nothing but an invalid in life. We become invalid to our loved ones, our dreams, hopes, all the wonderful possibilities in our future and even to ourselves.  

When we know how to manage insecurity in this manner, it becomes a vehicle for positive outcomes or results for us. It does not become our prison or paralysis. It becomes a motivating factor, at best. Therein lies our true personal triumph.

Always remember - we are all made differently. So, there is no need to compare. Just focus on our own personal progress and growth. When we are ready, we will blossom but it would be at our own pace and time. 

The only commitment we need to make to ourselves is to never ever give up. EVER. 

Only then we can become our own saviours and heroes. 

Only then, we would win all the way.  

I shall leave you all with one of my fave quotes from someone who had experienced failures many times, and even insecurity did not spare him. After all, he was famous for being cut from high school basketball. 

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." ~ Michael Jordan

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