I'm still learning how to dance with insecurity.
Feeling insecure is a feeling that I really, really hate. So when it comes up, I immediately want to do something that will make it go away or shut it up. Like running to the gym to get that endorphin boost up. Or texting a boy. Or pouring a large glass of wine. Insecurity just doesn't feel good.
Insecurity is (at least for me) entirely external in origin. It comes from the putting of someone else's opinion before your own. It is giving your power to someone else. It's allowing someone else's reactions to you to dictate how you feel about yourself.
As humans, our nature is to take in and assign information. So it makes sense that (especially those of us who are highly emotionally attuned) would take in the actions and reactions of those around them and try to assign meaning. Did some guy you were hanging around with seem more interested in his phone than you? One point for you being not that interesting. Did someone compliment your outfit? One point in the pretty column. We're consistently taking in feedback and applying it to our view of ourselves. In this way, we're constantly trying to balance the scales.
Issues come into play (of course) when we choose to assign more value to the wrong areas. "Wrong" is a relative term, but counter productive is probably the more accurate depiction. Good example: caring less about your best friends' compliment than that from an ex. When we start to become dependent on those affirmations from others, especially others with whom we have an emotionally charged relationship, this is where things can start to get hairy.
Not to say that that isn't human nature, which I believe it is. But we've learned a lot of fucked up ways of operating in the last two thousand of years of existence.
So what's the right way to build real, lasting self-confidence?
For me-- there are days when I feel confident as hell. Sometimes this comes from just a lot of stuff going on externally that I can feel proud about: great feedback at work, a few good dates, a blossoming friendship. But when the achievements and feedback aren't piling up, should I too feel equally depleted? Often the pendulum swing is far too quick in the other direction, and my mind forgets all of the good that isn't hyper present in that moment or day.
The ideal state would be to draw your confidence internally - to try to build immunity to the fluctuations and feedback that comes in, to not let it rock your ever present, ever confident sense of self.
But lately, I'm trying to learn how to do something a little bit different: to look at insecurity as a part of life that isn't good or bad, just a feeling that happens. To try to understand where it is coming from and let it illuminate what it needs to illuminate for me.
Last night, I was hanging out with a friend of a friend who I think is quite handsome. We seem to have a lot in common, and we had a lot to talk about. But towards the end of the night, it felt to me that he would rather be anywhere else than hanging out with me. WHICH is a shitty feeling for anyone, but especially someone I had a budding romantic interest in. SO I immediately started to feel bad about myself, question my outfit choices, etc.
Today, to try to rebalance the scales, I thought about putting on something that felt really attention-grabbing for a party I'm going to later. I considered that this backless number would score some flirtation points and that I would start to feel a bit better [The fact that I even really noticed I was doing this for this reason was a step in the right direction]. But something about it just didn't feel right- I felt like I was wearing this for others, not for me.
Instead, I chose to wear something that I feel really good in - comfy, cute, put together, but not for the compliments of others. Just for me.
Maybe that is the lesson in this go round. Maybe not. Time will tell, but for now, I will continue this experiment in not trying to SOLVE but instead just trying to FEEL.