As a whole, I’d say I’m a confident person. I walk with my head up, look people in the eye when I talk to them, and if I’m shaking a person’s hand, I make sure it’s firm to get the message across that I am strong and you can’t break me.
Because for some reason, people like to break other people down.
Welcome, birth of insecurity.
My insecurities began when I was in first grade when I was first called fat. There, they continued throughout my childhood years and grew in number by the time I was in my first “serious” relationship at the age of sixteen.
First of all, sixteen is really young, and though I had fun in my teens, looking back, I wasn’t ready for a boyfriend or the self-shaming that accompanied it. This isn’t to say my high school boyfriend ever made me feel bad about my body (he didn’t), but the things I was exposed to by being in a relationship at such a young age didn’t do me any favors.
After about a year in that relationship, I started comparing myself to other girls my boyfriend talked to. They were thinner than me, prettier than me, had thicker and curlier hair than me.
I began to doubt myself and feel as if I wasn’t good enough.
After we broke up, and he “dated” those girls I once compared myself to, it was validation for me (albeit false validation) that I was right and they were better.
I didn’t grow up with a father.
I didn’t grow up with a man telling me I was a beautiful princess who only deserved the best. I grew up with my loving mother and great-grandparents who did everything in their power to ensure my upbringing was normal, but it was different.
I see a visible difference in girls who were raised with dads and girls who weren’t.
I see a difference in the way their minds work, the way they carry themselves, how they’re just a little bit more adventurous than those who lacked that male figure in their lives.
Of course, it’s not with all. Only some. And everyone, regardless of how you were raised, is different.
Until recently, I never knew why I am the way I am. Sometimes confident, sometimes not. When I am, you know it. That’s when I break out my red tops and red lips and charm most in the room with ease.
When I’m not-so-confident, I get quiet, my eyes a little droopy, my mind on overdrive. A million thoughts a minute about what’s wrong with my body and why I’m not like XY or Z.
Thoughts enter my mind like do they like her more, am I not good enough, is he bored with me?
A lot of a person’s insecurities stem from their surroundings or events that happened to them in their past that they hold onto for fear of making the same mistake.
Like if I hold onto the fact that my boyfriend had feelings for another girl, then I’ll never forget it happened to me, therefore I’ll be prepared for when it happens again, and it will, because the mistakes of my first boyfriend will be the mistakes of my current and also I’m not good enough.
The thing is is I am good enough.
The mistakes of my past relationships won’t be the same mistakes in my current relationship, and if they are, I will know, and this time I will get out quicker and won’t let him explain himself and won’t attend his family BBQ and pretend I’m happy when I am not.
It’s pretty simple really.
But it’s easier said than done.
So what can we do when we’re having a moment of feeling less than our worth? When we’re not wearing our red top and charming everyone in the room? Why do we feel insecure in the first place?
Insecurity stems from fear, and since we’re humans and ultimately have the best intentions for ourselves, we automatically protect ourselves from fear in the ways we know how.
What do we do when our insecurities get in the way of our worth?
- Talk. Having an open dialogue of what you’re feeling can really help out in a tense situation.
- Know. Your past does not define you. My growing up without a father isn’t a fault of mine. It doesn’t mean I’m not able to be loved by a man. It doesn’t mean I’m destined to be single forever or will be burned again and again by dudes. It just means I have to work a little harder to break down that wall of fear and let someone in and give them my trust.
- Believe. You’re beautiful and capable and intelligent, and you need to know this about yourself. If this means literally looking into a mirror with your hands on your hips and your chest out and saying “I am amazing,” then freaking do it. No one will believe you’re the complete package if you don’t know you’re the complete package. And you are.
It’s a long road to self-love, and a hard one at that. I’ve been on this journey for twenty-five flipping years and sometimes I don’t know if I’ll ever see the light.
But when I have those moments when I walk into my closet and pull out my red top, I know that’s where I’m supposed to be. Not in the self-destructive headspace where I fall sometimes due to my past.
Because that was then.
And this is now.
And I am twenty-five and feeling alive, and I am beautiful and capable and intelligent, and no man will ever define that for me or take that away.