Updated: Jun 17
How People Should be Kind to Themselves and Stop Beating Themselves Up for Things Beyond Their Control: Battling with insecurities
We live in an era where we are taught how to be kind and merciful to others, because of moral values, religious upbringing, parents’ instructions, or for the sake of maintaining a “good image” in front of others. But we hardly know how to be kind to ourselves. We find a thousand reasons to deem ourselves guilty for upsetting another person, but never forgive ourselves for our own shortcomings. To us, every other person deserves the benefit of the doubt, care, and understanding. But when it comes to self, we become our biggest critics. Have you ever wondered why?
Telling times and grieving incidents in life leave a deep mark on our souls. These experiences sometimes turn into our biggest insecurities that affect our sense of self-worth and how we perceive the world around us. The socio-cultural environment we live in instills in our heads that money, relationships, body image, grades, etc. define our identity. Once we begin to associate our worth with these material things, we lose the essence of the self in the process. We don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes and learn from our experiences; hence we never realize the sense of autonomy and control that we inherently possess. As a result, things not in our control start taking power over us and what is in our control is often undermined.
Our insecurities generate from what we lack. When we lack control over ourselves and our decisions in life, what and how we need to eat, wear, spend, study, and appear is directed by the people around us, which translates into the fear of judgment and rejection. The desire to meet the expectation of the other becomes a battle with ourselves where our agency is compromised and kindness to others takes priority. We are unable to learn how to choose for ourselves, how to express our needs, and how to be kind to ourselves. It is years long cycle that continues to haunt us which we name as insecurities as our brain can sense the situations that lead to a violation of autonomy, whether in the form of controlling family, possessive friendships, or abusive relationships.
Insecurities are not innate but learned from experiences in the context we grow up in. If you perceive unsolicited advice in the name of love as a threat, it is because of the emotional damage that a person or advice must have caused you earlier. We must never ignore our intuitions or how others make us feel in their presence. Our body can recognize even if it suffered from minor betrayal from a loved one at some point in childhood.
Being harsh on ourselves for not living up to others or our own expectations is what we need to unlearn. Not only forgiving but also showing kindness and empathy to ourselves is important which would give us much more peace and relief than anything else. Kindness is an act of self-care where we ensure that we meet our needs and not let others ruin our lives by driving us the way they want. It is accepting ourselves for who we are, and not running after things that do not define our worth. We know what we are capable of and what we terribly fail at. That is what makes us unique and different from others. We all are a vase of God’s beautiful intricacies which encompass our individuality. Nobody will respect us or stand up for us if we are unable to own our imperfections and live confidently with them.
People can only have authority over our lives as much as we give them. Drawing boundaries with others for the sake of your mental health, giving small treats to yourself for achieving short-term goals, pampering yourself when feeling low, and allowing yourself time to rest and introspect when your body needs it, are all acts of kindness and self-care. We need to constantly challenge our insecure thoughts and remind ourselves that we are worthy of love, despite our flaws. The flaws that complete us. The flaws that help us grow, embrace our identity and honor our mistakes. On this journey full of hurdles and cuddles.
Amna Sheikh is currently a graduate student of Psychology at the National University of Sciences & Technology. She does not only have a strong passion to contribute to mental health initiatives in Pakistan but also writes reflectively on social issues to understand life from a deeper and holistic perspective.
She is an in-house writer at Perspective.