Insecure. It’s a word that’s been contaminated to sound like a disease. Like it’s a black and white diagnosis that you either test positive or negative for. Like people should keep their distance to protect themselves from catching it. Like openly admitting it’s a part of your life means voluntarily exposing the tremendous weight of the baggage you haul around with you.
We use it as an excuse – “It’s because of my insecurities”.
As an attack on others – “You’re so insecure”.
And as an attack on ourselves – perhaps even without noticing or labelling it.
It’s rare to find that description used without all of the horrendously negative stereotypes and associations tied to it. Granted, it would be surprising for someone to actively desire insecurity in another person, or in themselves. But how can we be so repulsed by a trait that, however deep down, we all possess?
One of my close friends appears – from an outside perspective – to be a confident, assertive woman who has it all figured out. Recently, she told me: “I’m having an insecure kind of day”, and I realised something.
The word has become synonymous with weakness, fragility and dependence, when even some of the strongest, most secure and independent people I know still get insecure from time to time. It’s used as a blanket term to describe a permanent state – an unwavering characteristic – when, in reality, it’s something that gets its claws into all of us at some point or another.
It can leap out from your mirror as you catch a glimpse of your reflection, your bank account when it’s emptier than you’d like, the success of others as you reflect on your own, perhaps lesser, station or any other corner it’s been lurking in waiting to pounce.
Some of us are well-acquainted, while others may have only met with insecurity a handful of times. Some of us conceal its every form, while others let it sit on the surface – open and visible.
The point is – aren’t we all just a little insecure?
The message is – aren’t we allowed to be?
Header image: Tina Reynolds / Flickr.