I suppose everyone has insecurities and hang-ups about how they fit in with the rest of the world. Well, maybe not everyone, but I would venture to guess a fair number of people have this issue, and I am in good company as one of them. Looking back, trying to unravel these feelings, I have to recall some not so wonderful events in my childhood. I remember in first grade my mom not showing up for the parent/child luncheon at school.
I was the only kid whose parent(s) didn't show up. I remember sitting at that lunch table, watching all of the parents file in and hoping against hope that my mom would come. She never did. I suppose that could be considered the first memory of insecurity - it's been with me ever since.
Now, lest you think my mom is a horrible mother for not attending this event, she was not a neglectful mom. She remembers the incident differently, saying that she didn't even know about the event, that I had not informed her. Be that as it may, intentional or not, the incident did shape my future in a couple of ways. I learned not to trust people, for one thing. I think this is one of my biggest issues. I am never confident that I am a priority in the life of someone else. I always have a nagging feeling that if people knew the real me, they wouldn't like me, or be there for me. I seem to constantly be waiting for the people around me to let me down, because for whatever reason I don't feel I deserve to have good, supportive people in my life.
As time goes by and people stand by me, I learn that not everyone is a fly-by-night friend. That is, if I let them in in the first place. More often than not, I just keep people at arms length - that way, they won't have a chance to let me down. This is not the way I want to live, though, I want to be able to break down the invisible force field I have erected around myself as a insulator against disappointment. It's not always easy, and I often have to make a conscious effort to allow myself to be a bit more vulnerable.
The trick, of course, is learning to be vulnerable, yet insulated as well and, I believe, this is where self-love comes in. If I am okay with me, then when, inevitably, people disappoint me, I am able to brush it off more easily, because I know that the let-down isn't about me. I can't control others and I can't be perfect, so there are going to be times when things happen that are painful. Learning to have the self-confidence to see each situation for what it is - an opportunity for growth - is not always easy, especially after a lifetime of being over-sensitive to the foibles of others.
Along with that, a good dose of positivity is in order. I am trying to be more gracious when people are encouraging, complimentary and supportive. I am learning to take it in, and allow it to become part of me. See, we build up walls between ourselves and others as a way to keep from getting hurt, because we take in all of the negative comments and circumstances that we encounter and it just builds up over time, so it stands to reason, that the only way to break the barrier down is to erect a bigger, stronger, more secure structure around us, using the positive feedback as building blocks. Then we can climb up to the top of that structure and leap over that negative, isolating one.
Believe me, it is not an easy task, but it is one I am committed to completing. I want to be able to stand at the top of that pyramid of positivity and shout to the world that I am worthy, loved and secure. Isn't that what most of us want from life? To know that we matter - to feel secure about the love in our lives. Why not allow ourselves to take in all of the positivity and love ourselves so that we can love others more deeply, thereby helping them to build up their own pyramid of positivity by mirroring our support and encouragement? Sounds like a win/win situation to me.