Low self worth, value, respect, confidence, this way of living is familiar, seemingly unavoidable. Most of life is riddled with tests of our self confidence. Some of us are born into insecurity and others have it thrust upon them by circumstance, all the same it leeches our energy reserves, our relationships, sabotages us, keeps us trapped in vicious cycles. I’ve written extensively on insecurity as I think extensively upon the topic as I experience it… extensively.
For myself, beginning to learn how to graciously accept these challenges has allowed me to consider other available self perceptions. I can’t deny that I still struggle with feelings of self hatred and self blame but they are no longer the only feelings that arise during times of stress. I can question myself, consider other internal perspectives available.
We suppress so many different reactions within us as we’ve developed such deeply complex mental patterns, so many that we usually focus on the loudest. This causes budding potential to be crowded out by the familiar screaming voice which repeats our deepest anxieties. As I accept the work of nurturing self worth, I accept the work of seeking out the other voices. The Socratic Method comes in handy when interrogation is required to reveal the internal reactions which align with my values. ‘I’m worthless.’ ‘Why?’ ‘I haven’t done anything today.’ ‘Would I call someone else worthless for the same?’ ‘No, but I have a pattern of laziness’ ‘it’s called mental illness’.
If external stressors seem to agree with your anxieties and self hatred, remember that we project our internal reactions outwards. These stressors are tests which provoke these feelings and are not in the least bit indicative of truth. My fiancé recently had a conversation with me about the laundry that’s been piling up, the laundry is my responsibility, and I had to work through the process of self blame and shame. I’d been overwhelmed and dejected over my issues with the household chores and I projected this intensity onto my fiancé’s gentle frustration. I broke down crying and took some time to myself to process my feelings.
Soon I realized half of the stress was self imposed. I came back and we both apologized to each other for our various unavoidable but mild insensitivities and rather than be pushed further into self hate, I felt more empowered and supported in my struggle against executive dysfunction.
Having people in your life who are willing and able to communicate effectively, or at least practice learning, are important to the lessons of trust. We have to trust that they’re telling the truth when they don’t agree with our self assessments.
It’s also imperative not to dump our self hate on other people as it can lead to unintentional manipulation. I’ve gotten much better but there have been instances where I blurt out what I’m thinking in regards to my insecurities at inappropriate times (‘I’m worried you think I’m pathetic’, ‘Am I broken?’, ‘I hate myself’’), backing Casper into a corner where they feel they can’t express their concerns. The balance of expressing insecurity without overwhelming the other party is delicate and takes practice. There is a time and a place for everything.
Being responsible for opening up about insecurity in appropriate contexts is part of growing more confident. Taking advice and concern with grace, acknowledging that there is more to the world than our perception of it, and questioning negative self talk are all aspects of confidence.
Being accountable for our candour and reactions allows us autonomy. Our insecurities aren’t our fault and self blame will only perpetuate the cycle, but so will avoidance, blame shifting, and defensiveness. We aren’t powerless.