That was my reaction after listening to my first Philosophize This podcast on Spotify. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I had some time to do something productive. So I took my friend’s bottle of mulled wine… sat down at my desk, and logged on to Spotify podcasts to see if I could learn something new. I scrolled through the various podcasts available and I saw one with the head of an interesting looking old man as it’s logo. So I clicked on it. That is the interesting story of how I came across ‘Philisophize This’. I then decided to click on a random 1 out of 118 podcasts produced by Stephen West, poured myself a glass and started listening… Oh, Caterina thanks for the free wine by the way😁.
The topic of the podcast was Insecurities. The discussion aimed to look at insecurity from two angles – as a stand-alone method of influencing our behavior, and also to consider how it compares with other methods of influencing human behavior (morality in this case). I’ll focus only on the topic of Insecurities in this article and let morality take a hike. I’ll also use personal examples to further emphasize or refute certain points in the podcast. Understand that my opinions and views on the issue are strictly subjective, and in no way serve to define the views of anyone else.
You can listen to the 33 minute podcast here if you’re interested. I’d also love to read your opinions in the comments section as this article is meant to create room for discussion.
Now on to to the good stuff…
What are you insecure about?
Take as long as you need to answer this question. If there is one thing we all have deep within, it is some sort of insecurity. It is not a matter of whether we have insecurities or not (unless you’re Escanor during the day), it is a matter of how much we allow these insecurities to define our behaviour. Personally, my insecurities have varied over time. Things I was insecure about in the past don’t mean shit to me now. However, I seem to pick up a new insecurity along the way as time goes by, and also as my responsibilities and priorities increase or change.
My insecurities have varied from being a very timid boy, to being sensitive about my height, to worrying about my receding hairline and now my financial state of affairs. There are people I know that have much more serious, very deep-seated issues as a result of past traumas and emotional abuse. So as far as I am concerned, my issues are very superficial at best. This makes me one of the lucky ones, regardless of how I look at it. So in more ways than one, I know that I have little excuse when I let my own little problems affect me so – while I know these people around me that soldier on despite having to carry bigger baggage than mine.
But hey, I’m a petty guy. It comes with the package :).
I’m not as broke as you think (or maybe I am :D). But I have just enough to get by and also take care of some close people every now and then. But that is not how I want things to be. I’m not saying money is the end. But to me it is a very valuable means to an end, and being financially stable is a major boost to any man’s confidence. My closest friends reading this would be very surprised, as several comments have been made about my increasing confidence and self-esteem in the last few years. But hey I don’t have an S on my chest, I am but a man. And even Superman has his own insecurities too. In subtle ways, I allow these insecurities to affect my actions, my short term plans and especially how I approach relationships.
As Stephen put it, insecurity robs you of your individuality. And depending on how much you let it affect you, you are very likely to surrender your authority/autonomy to someone else, and allow them to make your decisions for you. We all know that this kind of agreement usually works more to their benefit than yours.
Every once in a while, I still suffer from the fear of social reprisals from peers and family. I still suffer from the fear of not doing the things I really want to do because of the unknown. Whether or not this is an inherently bad thing is up for debate. Because there can be very valid arguments and benefits that come with ‘playing it safe’ and conforming to society’s expectations of one’s self. These conventional expectations could be one of many things; going to college, getting a job with a company, commuting to work everyday, getting married and so on.
But anyone out there whose true goal is attaining personal autonomy/happiness/success would rather take a risk and challenge the world, than suffer the ignorance of not knowing what the outcome would be if they just tried something different. Because at the end of the day, our insecurities are usually shaped by the people we’re seeking approval from. What if? Just what if you decided to focus on the other group of people that would embrace you and accept you for being different? (I know this is easier said than done, as doing something like this would probably require having to cut off ties with people you are all too familiar with. And that scares us).
But then again, I am not one to talk :). Because like I said before, I still conform in some way or form to the expectations that others have created for me. But that is not to last much longer. As in the last two years, I have taken gradual, yet necessary steps to regain full autonomy.
The Opportunity Cost of Letting Insecurities get the Better of Us.
To explain briefly, an opportunity cost is something you give up in order to achieve something else. This term is very important in the field of Economics. But that’s besides the point :). I’m fully aware that each one of us has our own different insecurities. And what we sacrifice by choosing to let these securities affect us varies from person to person. But the fact still remains; when we give in to insecurity, we give up something intangible, yet even more valuable within ourselves. What if we could really sit down for a moment and reason with the facts? And come to the conclusion that taking a certain decision could be far more beneficial to our happiness and our souls? And the only reason we don’t do it is simply because we’re trying to live up to a standard that has been set for us by somebody else?
But then sometimes, we are so deep in our own feelings that we forget to notice something equally as important – Just how much we project our insecurities unto people around us and how it affects them. One thing I learned from this podcast was that the expectations we usually place on others (especially in relationships) are a direct reflection of our own insecurities. Such is the reason why the degree to which someone is considered ‘cheating’, may be subjective from one couple to the other or from one partner to the next. There is no predetermined universal rule as to what ‘cheating’ includes, which is why it is a rather subjective matter.
I hope you’re still reading objectively, because if you now assume that I am condoning cheating just because I am trying to make a point, then I have no words for you. Really.
But back to the the point of our expectations on others being a reflection of our own insecurities.
I’ll use a simple example. When I go out at night with a girl I’m dating, or if I meet a girl in a pub or club and we’re getting along ‘nicely’, I am fully aware that every other guy in there is observing and waiting for me to slip… okay maybe not every guy :D. But the point I’m trying to make is that there will be a lot of guys who would try to talk to the girl I’m with or interact with her in some way. Especially if my back is turned. Such is the nature of these places.
I am not nearly insecure enough to decide for her who to talk to and who not to talk to. Preventing your date from socializing with anyone else but you is a fat stretch. I have fair confidence in my ‘game’ and the fact that our attraction for each other is solid. But at the same time, I maintain an incredible sense of tact and timing and ‘step in’ should a guy or girl she’s talking to become a little ‘too engaging’. You develop a sixth sense for these things with time. I hope I’m making sense here, because I really cannot break this down any further. You either ‘get it’ at this point or you don’t :D.
So yeah. I wouldn’t say that me stepping in at this point is my insecurity coming up to the surface. The way I see it, me interfering is a simple reminder to the other person to respect the fact that I am here with her. It should be about her but at this point, I allow myself to be selfish. So take your flirty or horny attitude someplace else. (Also, girls love a well-timed interference ;)). I don’t think anyone wants a partner so confident in themselves that they deliberately ignore someone flirting with their date. That’s arrogance at this stage. Do you agree or disgaree with me thus far? Would you say that stepping in after all that is still me just being insecure? Or is that the kind of behaviour you would expect from dates or couples? Feel free to give me your opinion in the comments because I definitely want to talk more about this.
As usual, I would love to have an even more in-depth discussion about the topic but only a podcast would help at this point. That said, the journey to overcome our insecurities can be a tough one, depending on the seriousness. For some people like me, all it could take to overcome them is a frank talk with a close person, surrounding ourselves with people that motivate us to be better, or simply making a conscious mental decision to think better of ourselves. For others, it would require far more effort, compassion and patience.
But whichever category you fall into, remember this;
Strive for confidence, not arrogance.
Strive for courage, not fearlessness.
And lastly, always strive to be better. Not perfect. Because once you consider something perfect, then there is no room for innovation. And no desire to seek further improvement. (A quote I ripped straight off one of my favorite anime characters, Mayuri Kurotsuchi. The line is taken out of context but still damn good).
Thanks for entertaining my thoughts this far. Stay tuned for the next one. Share with your friends, discuss, and leave your thoughts in the comments. Also make sure to see my other articles on this website for great content and learning material from Wealthy Affiliate.
Thank you :).