I’ve written a lot about religion lately, and I know a lot of my articles (article sounds better than blog, just like “pounding” sounds better than “making love”) have been very long, so here is a non-religious and hopefully not too long piece of advice from a not-particularly wise nor experienced person. So feel free to ignore it:
Don’t be insecure.
Insecure people make the worst kind of people in relationships; any kind of relationship. Because if you’re around someone who’s insecure, you feel insecure. You’re not sure what to say to them or how they’ll take it because their mood is always teetering on the brink. You never know if they can take a joke or not, so you play it safe and don’t make any.
Insecure people have such low esteem that they don’t respond to compliments and kindness. You may think that you’re lifting someone’s spirits or counter-acting their low self-opinion by telling them good things, but in reality the inside of the insecure person’s head during this time sounds like this: “la la la la, la la la, you don’t really mean it, la la la, I’m still this this and this.” This is because a lot of insecure people lack the confidence necessary to do anything about what they feel insecure for, so it’s easier to just wallow in self-pity and pretend that there is something wrong with the world and other people, than themselves. For this reason, insecure people don’t respond to generosity very well: because they don’t act like that themselves (see above) they are suspicious of genuine people because they don’t understand them. So when you do something nice for an insecure person they’re always thinking “what is he/she doing that for?” or “what are they trying to gain?” And since they feel suspicious they don’t act appreciatively or gratefully which makes other people think “why did I bother?” (Of course, people who do nice things without wanting anything in return, still like to be told ‘thank you’ or feel appreciated!)
Insecure people also don’t like being with other people because they have to make an effort. People who are comfortable with themselves don’t care if they have too much to say or not, so they’ll happily sit there telling stories all night making people laugh or sit there quietly taking it all in and not worry how they’re coming across either way; (note: secure people don’t have to be loud). A lot of people might seem insecure because they don’t have many friends, but in reality, they can’t be arsed having friends because it’s too much effort.
However, most insecure people will always have a few people in their lives who they do want to be around. They latch onto them because they look up to them, feel comfortable around them, and think that they will be liked/loved/popular by being this person’s friend/partner etc. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that because the insecure person fixates on this select few so much, they become needy and clingy and the other person(s) senses this. It’s like when you’re making plans: you can always tell the person who hasn’t found their niche in the group because they’ll be like this: “so when are we going out? Yeah? What time? Shall I call you or you call me? It’s ok I’ll call you. Make sure you let me know!”
But insecurity makes people feel uncomfortable, and people are less likely to want to have someone in their company who is needy and clingy – it’s a fact of friendships and especially relationships. This is probably because it puts pressure on the other person who senses the other person over-compensating and naturally backs away. Unfortunately, the insecure person senses the other person backing away and gets paranoid, which not only fuels the insecurity even more, but it makes them try even harder and get even needier and clingier – vicious cycle again.
Paranoia and low confidence continue to be result of insecurity, and these things perpetuate the insecurity even more. And if your self-confidence is that low, you won’t say the “right” things and act the “right” way because you’re thinking “what could anyone find interesting in me anyway?” or “why would anyone like me anyway?” You can spot these people a mile off because their body language screams “don’t look at me! Don’t give me attention!” And they phrase everything like it’s a question because they’re afraid of making definite statements.
Insecure people never compliment other people. This is because they hate compliments themselves (they can’t accept them because their paranoia gets in the way), and because they are jealous of people who actually are secure and confident. It takes a really confident person to put aside their own feelings and say “you look great” or “that was a fantastic shot” or “you beat me there! Yeah you destroyed me, I had no chance!” or “you are much better than me at…” This is because secure people don’t mind making other people feel good, because they are comfortable with themselves. Whereas insecure people want everyone to feel as miserable and unconfident as they are. And of course if no one ever has anything nice to say, people won’t like them.
Paranoia, whether it’s justified or not, is one of the most unattractive qualities. It’s related to jealousy in that sometimes it is justified and the two can be corollaries of each other, but they both have the same effect of driving people away. And when people keep their distance, the insecure person becomes even more paranoid and eventually convinces themselves that they don’t need other people really. They start to invent stories in their mind and see patterns and connections that aren’t really there, and when the slightest word / joke / action seems to correlate to the imagined scenario, the insecure person thinks “A-ha! I’m onto you!” And either backs themselves off from a potential good friend who’s done nothing wrong (remember most insecure people don’t actually want equal friends), or they cling even more to the one (or few) people they idolise (thus making that person feeling trapped and pressured).
For the third time: it’s a vicious circle.
Or is it? Can the trap be broken? Can the mind be freed?
Yes. And the answer is so simplistic you won’t need to pay a psychotherapist £100 an hour to tell you it: get over it. Yup, that’s the answer.
If you are insecure about yourself, it’ll either be your physical person or your mental self. If it’s your mental self, this is good for many reasons: you can change who you are. Aside from true mental illnesses, you can work on your personality and make it whatever you want to, if you try. You can learn more; you can socialise more; you can become more cultured; you can try and kick those nasty habits; you might want to improve your spelling, maths, or language. You might want to be a better problem solver, or a more fluent speaker. You might want to be better at multi-tasking, or listening to people. Maybe you need to work on your empathy, or maybe you talk too much. This list isn’t exhaustive; the point is, if there is something about you as a person you feel insecure about, ask yourself: can I change it? If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for? If the answer is no, then is it really worth worrying over?
The same goes for your physical self. (Obviously there is no mind/body split here and I’m not getting metaphysical on you, I’m simply referring to bodies and personalities separately). Are you underweight, or are you overweight? Again, barring chronic medical issues, there is always something you can do about this. Do you need to tone up? Do you need to shed some pounds (or kilos for the Eurotrash out there)? Do it then. If there is something more serious than that bothering you, consider cosmetic surgeon. Seriously, there is so much we have the power to affect with ourselves. It’s your body and mind and you’ve only got the one life. You may as well make it the best! You don’t have to be perfect – accept that you’re not and you never will be. But strive as if you can be.
And like I said above, if there is something that you really can’t change and just have to live with, then you just have to accept yourself for who you are. And if you do that, and if you don’t let those things bother you, they won’t bother other people either. You will be ok with yourself, so other people will be too! They will accept you and like you for who you are, and that will make you feel good! You won’t feel insecure because either you’re working on your problems or you’re not worrying about them. And people will sense your confidence and how at peace you are with yourself, and that will make them feel good! They will want to be around you and invite you out before you even have a chance to ask! This will make you feel comfortable around people and secure around them, thus fuelling how good you make them feel, making them like you even more, which will make you more confident –
– Another cycle again, but this time a good one.