Have you ever felt so uncomfortable with yourself that it prevented you from doing something?
Ever felt like the repercussions of failure would be too shameful or embarrassing to deal with? Me too! Still do sometimes. Although I’m not perfect, I have a pretty good handle on it nowadays. I realized this the other day when I had a friend messaging me, nonstop, about which picture she should post to elicit male attention and what responses to use when replying. I was obliged to help…and continue helping…and continue helping. Then, I started to get impatient with the extent of the insecurity around her desire to be accepted by others…and not judged. I thought it was so strange that someone who appeared to have so much confidence, actually had low self-esteem. Then my empathy kicked in, I understood that feeling of inferiority and an insecurity of judgement being so strong that I couldn’t ever reach the next level of emotional evolution in life. There are several things that perpetuate this problem that we should bring to light.
“I don’t care what they think.” Everyone cares to some degree that they are accepted by someone, as human connection is essential to life. A world already full of fear, inferiority, and insecurity is further perpetuated by the dishonesty of the most insecure people of all… the ones who go around boasting their security. A rejection of validation through acceptance or social approval. Much like professional athletes, those that have a true talent at something don’t usually brag about it. It’s like a gold medal Olympic athlete reminding us how “cool” it is to be a winner. We know motherfucker…we saw it on TV. You might have a medal, but Sally can fuckin weave baskets under water…so who’s superior or inferior now? What’s the measurement based on?
Authentic and Consistent
Awhile back, I read an interesting article that really got me analyzing and thinking about its validity and have now come to believe it to be 96.5% true. What it suggested was that fundamentally, in every human, there is a necessity to be authentic and consistent. Consistency is a need or desire to be reliable in behavior or action, certain in your morals, values, and purpose. So much, that they become your compass in life, keeping you grounded no matter what. Consistent people are reliable and predictable in their behavior because they have defined their authenticity.
Authenticity is, as you know, an ability to be comfortable and secure with yourself …good, bad or indifferent. In a world of social media and fitting in, there is very little of it out there. Yet, people are afraid of it because they fear that their authenticity, or unique individuality will be judged as “weird” and rejected by “normal people.” Think about how crazy that is…being your authentic self and then being not only judged for it, but then giving a shit about what they thought of it like it hold some kind of important weight. Like they’re some kind of expert in the field or some shit. The only way that math adds up is if you found what the baseline of, “normal,” was. What would “normal” be and what would make them an expert in “normal?” Like…who the fuck are you to define normal? It’s like a mediocre hockey player trying to tell a professional golfer what’s wrong with their backswing, or Hillary Clinton trying to tell Donald Trump how to become president…calm down.
Judgement is one of the primary reasons we feel insecure about anything. We magnify the significance of how others’ might feel about our authenticity instead of how we feel about suppressing it. On one hand, we have a strong desire to be our unique and authentic selves but on the other, the “need” for everyone to accept it. We attach a value to our personality based on social acceptance. While you might ask why yourself if you’re“good enough,” I’d ask why you would attach any significance to someone critiquing your authenticity if it’s truly authentic?” “What if they don’t understand it, relate to it, or accept it? For, why do they have to?” “Well, what if they’re mean to me for it?”
The reason most people are insecure about sharing their vulnerability is because they have a defense mechanism designed to protect themselves against potential harm. A fear of being judged or rejected. The only reason someone would feel this fear of judgement is because they knew how awful it is when dished out because they’ve done it. The one who is insecure is not the victim; in fact, they are usually the culprit which brings about the fear of becoming a victim of their own crime. So, instead they decide that being “cool” is safer than being “real” and opening themselves up to experience life. When someone can’t think or act like themselves out of fear, the only other option is, “cool” because all of the other options have already been selected.
I was picked on and judged for consecutive years, having an unquestionably negative impact on my life; up to and including an inability to be vulnerable with anyone for over a decade. While I was innocent in the bullying, I was the biggest culprit in its legacy. It wasn’t my fault that I became invulnerable from a fear of judgement but, it was my problem to deal with. They weren’t going to be the ones to make it right or make me whole again. I thought that lower companionship would give me the comfort of acceptance…but the truth is that I judged myself. We are our own worst critic. The things we say to ourselves are the most appalling and devastating of them all. No one else could ever verbally compete with the brutality of our home made brand of negative self-talk, regardless of how savage and ruthless you are. Yet, we cut ourselves down without a second thought. How can you expect someone else to respect you if you can’t respect yourself?
My friend from the beginning if this story told me she felt like she, “was either fumbling over her words or marketing her body.” Which is fine, neither of these is particularly right or wrong in context, generally speaking, except for the way she described it. That statement tells me that she is uncomfortable with the potential judgement and fear that come with being herself, so she’s wearing a mask to appear ordinary for approval. This means that she has a preconceived notion about how the “right girl,” should look and act.
So, from a perception of inferiority, she trades in the qualities that make her special and unique for ones that are “safe” and “normal” in an attempt to be “attractive” instead of “appreciated.” How many times a day do you think that guy runs into ordinary women? How many times does he run into extraordinary women? Which one stands out most to him? Which one do you think is more valuable and attractive to him? If people understand this then why don’t they do it? God forbid you ever consider prioritizing you liking them over fearing they won’t like you.
Take a look around.
Scroll through any social media application and you can feel the scorching heat of judgement emanating from the screen of your phone. Everyone is out to prove something to somebody about the characteristics of their self-worth by seeking approval to feel that gratification…and those are the bravest of the insecure! There’s a whole other category that won’t say anything at all.
Why should they?
More people are being crucified and insulted for their feelings and beliefs than ever before. We’re less confident and more egotistical, more condemning and less open-minded, more selfish and less aware, more intelligent and less intuitive, more envious and less grateful, and more judgmental but far less empathetic. Everyone is searching for a sense of ease and comfort in the world but looking in the wrong places for it. So, those that can’t will tear down the ones that can out of envy and insecurity. The simple question you need to ask yourself is, “Does the potential fear of rejection by being honest outweigh the certainty of the insecurity and discomfort I will if I remain dishonest?”
Consider what it would be like to live the rest of your life playing a part or living the rest of your life being the part. Will you be the actor or the director?
When you judge someone else, you’re not questioning their character…you’re defining your own.