Keeping our insecurities at bay Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Sep. 24, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

On many levels, we are all the same. We all have hopes and dreams, aspirations. We all have a mental picture of the person we want to become.

But none of us feel handsome enough or pretty enough. None of us think we're smart enough. We all want to lose weight, and we all wish we had more friends. We all have insecurities.

But imagine the most popular people you know, the ones who fits your definition of cool. At some point, far more recent than you think, they probably stared in the mirror and questioned themselves. They'd never share it with anyone else, but they probably had similar insecurities as the ones we all face.

There's nothing wrong with this feeling. It's normal. Often though, we get defensive when we fear others will realize we have these thoughts. Our response mechanisms vary.

Some people get defensive, others get aggressive; some keep their feelings secret, while others hide them in full view. It's not a question of whether we'll react, but how.

We're told we get better at dealing with these voices in our head as we grow and mature. We're told we'll learn to control the feeling that we should be better. Most adults will tell you they successfully dealt with these insecurities.

But at some level, regardless of age, we're all waiting to be found out. We live with the fear in the back of our mind that there's someone out there who is better, waiting to take our spot, waiting to point out the insecurities we most want to keep hidden.

The challenge isn't to be more secure but to find the confidence to not look over our shoulder to see if someone is pointing a finger at us. How can we do that? One key step is to be mindful that others have the same thoughts. They fear we'll be the one to point our finger back in their direction.

We should never forget this secret and we can always use it to our advantage. We can match their confidence. We can look them in the eye and smile when we do. No one can look down on us unless we let them. We don't have to give people the power to call us weak.

That's advice not just for those who are young, but for those who are young at heart. The most amazing people I know are those who refuse to leave fun in their past. They're the parents with more excitement for vacation than their children. They're the grandparents you see going on rides at the amusement park.

Those who grow to become fun-loving adults are better at embracing this. They still have the fear that someone will point them out, but they couldn't care less because they know those fears are unfounded. They accept that there's someone more handsome or pretty. They know there's someone smarter. They admit they could lose weight and they value the quality of friendships rather than their quantity.

We will never be truly confident, but we can learn to be comfortable. When we achieve that feeling, the thoughts of those around us matter much less.

Erick Rommel is head staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


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