Insecurities: I don’t know a single soul who doesn’t wrestle, at some point, with one or two (quite possibly a whole heap!) of these. We feel them rise; seeping and sometimes crashing through our fragile surface, seeking out the point of least resistance, spilling forth to expose our raw vulnerability.
Fear fuels our insecurities – the fear that we are not good enough; not lovable enough; attractive, desirable or clever enough; the fear that we are not safe in the world, that our needs will not be met; that we will be left bereft and alone. The roots of our fears are manifold and unique to us, and yet whatever the cause, the impact can be immensely painful and often leads us into self-defeating behaviour. Our insecurities can take our feet right out from beneath us just at the place where the ground is hardest; they leak out and leave tell-tale stains all over our lives and relationships. At best, those that we love and that love us will be tender with our struggles, but left to rampage, our insecurities can lead us to destroy the very things we cherish and need the most.
Situations that rock our faith and trust, or undermine self-esteem, leave a tar of self-doubt; it is viscous and deadly, clogging our responses and impeding the free and spontaneous flow of our joy. Self-doubt strengthens and nourishes our insecurities until they becomes psychological cuckoos; overpowering and dominating our thoughts, distorting our actions and edging out the positive forms of validation that we each receive, but so often ignore, in favour of the negative voices heard both within and outside of us.
Insecurities have a direct line through to our past hurts – all those times when life genuinely winded us. Laying the past to rest can go a long way in helping to understand and heal insecurities but we first need to recognise that they often mask our pasts; they can masquerade as present day people, issues and actions; ones that appear to impact on us from without but are in fact projections of something within us. Such projections have the potential to both obscures or reflect our historical response to a situation that once damaged us. If our insecurities seek to obsessively but ineffectually defend against our past, we can find ourselves living there far too much for our own health and sabotaging our present to boot. And yet when we dig through the layers – the emotional strata that settle like ash over a place of devastation – we touch on not only a sore and tender spot but a site of potential; of understanding and healing. It’s that eureka moment when we are no longer merely caught up in the emotional current of reactions but can actually see where the water surfaces: we can see the source.
I guess it all depends on how we treat our emotional scar tissue. The skin is a marvellous organ. Actual scar tissue, if massaged with nourishing oils starts – over time – to become more flexible and the scarring less visible. Our wounds cannot be undone but they can be gently and tenderly worked upon, until we find that their appearance has changed. There is always initial discomfort; we can become tight and inflexible around the old entry site of a wound and this is as true psychologically as it is physically. We might learn to treat our emotional scars as we do the cuts upon our skin: when we focus lovingly and patiently on them – if we honour and acknowledge the events that brought us them, without allowing ourselves to be consumed by them – then we might begin to uncover the root of the sometimes unfathomable behaviour that our insecurities draw from us. In doing so, we are given the opportunity to break a destructive pattern and let the past go.