We are all insecure to some extent, it’s only human. But do you know what it’s not…an inborn trait. So then how does it happen?
There is a Slight Genealogical Effect
To be fair, some of us are born with a gene that makes us more susceptible to insecurities. But, in the same way that some of us are born with an addictive personality, it cannot break through reality if we were never exposed to addictive substances. When people are born with this ‘insecurity’ gene, they are simply born with a different temperament. Meaning, they let their emotions affect them negatively from early on in life.
It is believed the people born with this gene that induces low self-esteem is naturally self-loathing. In the same sense, they will often be susceptible to depression and have a naturally negative nature. But saying this, nothing inborn comes close to what is brought on by society.
Natural insecurity is caused by fear. A healthy type of fear that alerts us of danger. Say, a ten month old is taking their first steps. They have a natural fear of falling. They generally rely on parents or guardians to keep them safe and this is one of the first times in their lives they have had to do something alone. Little do they know that they aren’t any less guarded or protected than they have ever been (unless their parent lets them fall, introducing them to mistrust). Still, this natural insecurity is perfectly healthy and keeps us alive on a daily basis. What I’m talking about is low self-esteem. A disorder that is a form of self-hatred.
The Biggest Culprit
It all starts when we are young children. There are three main reasons that insecurities are born.
The worst part is: these are not always direct. Meaning that it can be completely unintentional. So let’s break this down, starting with the most brutal of them all: abuse.
Abuse can come in many forms from physical to mental and everything in between. Obviously bullying in school is less preventable and more well-known that abuse from parents and loved ones. This can be brought on by parents, siblings, or significant others.
Physical abuse is a way to cause physical pain to another being. Physical pain as punishment is the most common cause. This is because it is often called discipline or a showing of your love. Many can’t see the line between abuse and discipline and many don’t believe there is one. This can occur in relationships of all kinds, but most commonly in parent/child or male/female relationships.
Emotional abuse is underrated and likely the most fatal. Of course, name calling of any kind is at the top of the list. It is said that if you call someone something long enough, they’ll start to believe it. Another even more acceptable way to abuse someone emotionally is to blame them. Blame them for every and any problem in your life. Commonly seen in romantic relationships is the prevention of letting your SO see their family, destroying their possessions, and keeping them from friends.
One type of abuse seen in almost any abusive relationship is humiliation. Making fun of the victim, using fear to control them, or threatening them (to leave them or take their children).
Verbal abuse is a sub-type of emotional abuse that includes constantly bringing up the past, lying, disrespecting loved ones, and belittling the victim.
Another overlooked version is not listening to your loved one. Or even more harmful, shutting down every idea or opinion they have, sometimes even interrupting their every word, not leaving them an opening to express themselves or reason out their actions.
Spiritual abuse is less heard of but every bit as harmful. Not allowing the victim to follow their chosen spiritual or religious tradition, forcing your own spiritual or religious path or practice on them, making fun of their religion or spiritual tradition, and using their own religion to manipulate them (taking their beliefs out of context in order to control them).
Neglect is the second most common cause of insecurity. Surprisingly, this reaches much further than parenthood alone. it is a passive form of ‘abuse’ and is often unintentional. Neglect is simply failing to meet the needs of another (typically under your care).
If you meet someone in need, a stranger even, and you fail to help them to the best of your abilities, it is seen as neglect. This neglect can leave a person feeling unworthy of love and/or assistance.
Most commonly seen when parenting, neglect is present when the child is not only unfed, not given water, unsheltered, and not given clean clothes. It is also seen when the child is not given social companions, when medical needs are not met, not showing physical or emotional affection, and when the child is not given a healthy diet.
All of these may seem obvious, but there are a few types of neglect that are overlooked. But rather than go over them, let me explain my next point, which is closely related to this type of abuse. It is known as rejection, but can be a form of comparison. I always say that rejection is reflection. If someone rejects you, they are reflecting their inner feelings. On the other hand, it is possible o feel rejected by someone when they are not rejecting you. This is a reflection of past rejection in yourself.
Comparison is a well-known cause of insecurity. We all see the models on television while we starve ourselves in order to not repulse ourselves, the billionaires who inherited their income while we work sixty hours a week to pay the bills, or the mothers whose children behave like angels when we feel as all we do is show ours love and still feel like failure.
But did you know that this comparison starts when we are infants? When adults see a baby for the first time, they immediately will compare them to other children they’ve seen. When they grow up and ‘flaws’ appear, the adults will possibly good-naturedly take not that their ears stick out. The child will think, “Is there something wrong with that? Do I look weird?”
This is ever-present when siblings or close friends are involved. Say you have three children. Two of them love country music just like you do, but one of them prefers rock, having a different taste than the others. The parent may not care, they just listen to country with the other kids, taking them to concerts, making jokes about the superiority of rock music. You are your two children see nothing wrong, while that third child is growing bitter, self-esteem dropping as he sits at home alone.
An even less pointed approach could be more harmful. It’s called expectations. Imagine you are to take a test your parents just know you will pass. They mean to encourage you, but their pressure makes you feel worse. Like if you don’t pass, you’re a failure.
Whether you know it or not, your child, wife, brother, boyfriend, or best friend can feel if you are disappointed in them. How would you feel if you found out your husband has always liked blondes when you’re a brunette? Or you hear your father say, “anyone who doesn’t like football is a fool”?
Inside, you don’t like football, but you claim the passion in order to feel accepted, to steer clear of disappointed him. This will lead to insecurity and a feeling of unworthiness for not truly enjoying the sport.
Though it must be said that a history of feeling rejection, neglect, or abuse will automatically assume the worst, leaving an innocent loved one with a broken heart due to the accusations. This is an endless cycle caused by self-esteem-zapping conduct.
Know Your Worth
It is one of our human goals in life to be accepted. By friends, family, and romantic partners. But the scary part is (that not many of us can truly understand) is that what we really need is to accept ourselves. Our worth isn’t measured by what others think of us. This would mean that we would have to live up to someone else’s standards, creating a carbon copy of another human.
If this were to happen, there’d be no individuals, and if there were no individuals, there would be no world as we know it. No Van Gogh, no Columbus, and no Mother Teresa.
Finding your worth isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s like saying that a tarnished old silver statue will shine on its own after setting out overnight exposed to the bitter air and cold rain. This simply can’t be true. It can shine once again. But it will take work. It will take a heavy dose of vinegar, baking soda, and silver polish. Though it can be done, it wouldn’t hurt to let a few trusted friends in to assist with the polishing.
Just remember it has to be you that begins the transformation and you that finishes it.
Abuse is a very nasty thing brought on by those more insecure than the victims themselves! It can’t be prevented and it can’t be obliterated. But you can heal, and you can help others on their paths to self-worth! Rather than passing on this disorder, let’s at least attempt to end it altogether!
I could never cover all of the bases on such an important subject in one article, so let me know your thoughts on what I left out and what I didn’t!