Saturday, 10 January 2015

insecurity's a bitch

The last few days I have been contemplating the concept of insecurity. For most of us living in the 1st world insecurity tends to be more about ourselves and less about out lives. Most of us are pretty secure in having somewhere to live, something to eat, education and someone to talk to. What we obsess over is thing we want more control over, like our appearance or our love life, or things we have no real power over, like the future or other people.
I have been waxing lyrical in my inner monologue about how proud I am for overcoming my anxiety and feeling more secure than ever but really it's been fate and a degree of letting go of control that have allowed me to feel this way. Moving to a country I'd previously know rather little about was such an enormous leap of faith that I was weirdly relaxed about it - you can't fight what you can't predict. Everything here has been unpredictable, how well I would take no longer always coming top in my classes, the friends I would never have made at my university, the new hobbies that have become highlights of my week, or the man in my life who never lets me down.
Unfortunately, the ease with which I acquired things after so many years of feeling like everything was hard work has made me overly sceptical. This, coupled with the consistent joy that is my anxiety, means that I can go from cool as a cucumber to frazzled like crispy bacon in about 10seconds flat. My insecurities have just found a new way to manifest themselves; by leaping up out of nowhere the second anything isn't 100% perfect.
On the one hand, life's disappointments and tribulations have given me an incredible appreciation for how incredibly lucky and happy I am, but on the other hand they have imbued me with a cynicism that has put me on constant edge - just waiting for something to go wrong. I guess one of the biggest obstacles we face in life will always be ourselves, living up to our expectations, avoiding being consumed by our disappointments. Learning to let go is probably the greatest gift I ever gave myself in the fight against my insecurities. Yes there will always be someone out there whose life is better than mine, who might be kinder, more interesting, more talented, prettier, saner, softer, sweeter, and just generally have their shit together a bit more, but that doesn't need to make me feel any less great. We all perceive ourselves and others differently, and while you might be looking at someone and wishing you could quote literature as effortlessly as them, they might be looking at you and wishing they could pull off blue hair. The person you think is too gorgeous to know you exist might think you're too talented to ever be interested in a hack like them. What we forget when we feel insecure is that the only person worth comparing yourself to is yourself, and even then we need to focus on our insides and not on our superficial appearance so much. So what if you were thinner when you were 17? You also hadn't achieved half the incredible things you've done since then and in fact you probably felt worse about your weight back then than you do now.
So I'm not saying that we can ever reach a point where we won't feel insecure, we're human and therefore unfortunately prone to pettiness and jealousy - even the very best of us - but that doesn't mean we shouldn't let go more and try to focus on what's around us and what we're doing rather than getting stuck in our heads and worrying about stuff we have no control over. We can't stop anyone from being better than us in someway, but we can stop ourselves from letting that slow our progress to becoming better versions of ourselves.
As far as I'm concerned, my insecurity can suck it, I'm an adult and if I can't be happy about that much then I wasted my angsty teenage years complaining for nothing. I have a degree of control in my life that makes me feel like I have at least the power to cut out some negatives and add in some positives and that's all I need to keep moving forward. Fingers crossed I can keep this outlook for a little longer, if not, at last I've written myself this reminder.

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