Insecurity is a term we’ve heard more than a thousand times in our lifetime. For many of us, we have the understanding that insecurity simply means you don’t feel adequate enough in your own skin. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already struggled with being insecure about your looks, how smart you are, how talented you are, how popular you are, and the list goes on.
There are many definitions of this term out there. But there is a particular one that has, ironically, shaken my perspective on insecurity.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of insecurity is: not firmly fastened or fixed: SHAKY.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. Clearly that definition has to do more with physical materials (like a seatbelt) not being screwed or fastened on tight. But if we pause and reflect on our insecurities for a moment, we begin to realize they all root from our own inability to place our identity on a steadfast foundation.
If you’re insecure about how you look, you are probably constantly seeking compliments from friends and strangers, and if you see someone getting more likes than you are on social media, you might feel compelled to delete that selfie and re-do it. If you’re insecure about your position and job, you may be finding every flaw in your co-workers and higher-ups, thinking to yourself, “I would do that differently.” If you’re insecure about your education or how intelligent you are, you might be looking down upon those who chose not to go to college, failed their math class over and over again, or boasting about your major and how other majors are so lame.
Now, these aren’t accusations! Some of us aren’t insecure about how we look or about our job. These examples I’m giving now are simple observations I’ve made in the last few years and personal experiences I’ve gone through myself. My aim in sharing these isn’t to make you feel worse about your insecurities. From the examples I’ve offered, I want to encourage you to look deeper and understand that when we place our identity in these faulty foundations, it not only affects us personally--it begins to affect those around us and our closest relationships.
Insecurity Sneakily Translates Into Your Relationships
Our insecurities not only deteriorate our ability to fulfill our God-given potential. They also begin to obstruct our capacity to honor, celebrate, and love others and their unique selves.
My best friend and I have known each other since 6th grade, but this year we’re celebrating 4 years of being best friends. Since I’ve known her, I’ve had to fight an uphill battle of being able to honor the incredible woman she was made to be. I couldn’t stand to see her be a bold leader or be admired by others without feeling unnoticed and unappreciated. It was difficult to allow one word of encouragement fall from my lips without thinking it somehow made me less than her. Because of this, our relationship has hit the edge far too many times, and every time we came to a solution, each issue came down to me feeling insecure about myself, my worth, my value, and who I was as a person.
Every time we allow our insecurities dictate the way we respond to others, little cracks begin to form in the trust that has been built. If you’re not going to celebrate or honor your friend or co-worker for that promotion or college acceptance, they’re not going to want to share anything with you. If all you ever do is tell someone what they need to work on, rather than affirming their progress and growth, they are not going to want to involve you in any of their milestones. Sooner or later, you’re going to be isolated and those insecurities will take a deeper root in you.
Now, I am not going to sit here and give you 10 steps to overcome insecurity because quite frankly, we’re all going to process this differently. But if you hang on a little longer with me, I want you to leave with a thought to reflect on the next time you catch your insecurities showing up in your interactions with others, especially the ones you love.
A Steady Foundation
One important lesson I’ve learned since understanding how to handle my insecurities is that everyone is needed in a particular position, time, and place. Like the body, each part, organ, and muscle has a specific function. Most importantly, in a healthy body, every part works together in unison to help it achieve every goal.
You are the needed part. You are the needed function. So what if you’re not the hands or the heart or the mouth? Who says those are the only parts we need to function in life? We need all of them! And if you truly want to be a leader and agent of change, you’ve got to start embracing who you are, your own unique gifts and talents, and realize someone else’s life is dependent on you to step up and into your calling.
Understanding that our jobs, positions, education, money, appearances, and possessions shouldn’t determine our identity helps us to put ourselves in a more steadfast position. Once you’ve fastened your identity to knowing who you are and your purpose, your next step is to celebrate and help others fasten their identities, too.
We may not see each other through these words, but I pray you know how wonderfully and fearfully you were created. I pray your insecurities diminish and you find no difficulty in celebrating, honoring, and loving others.