Before we try to understand what causes insecurity, I want to introduce you to a girl named Lisa:
Lisa never liked to take photos of her whenever she hung out with friends. Even if it was a picnic, a vacation or a party, she stayed away from getting clicked and reasonably enough all her friends found her behaviour strange.
An even stranger thing happened one day. She was playing with her friend’s cell phone when she accidentally turned the front camera on and took a picture of herself.
After that, she took dozens of pictures of herself with that phone in an obsessive way, from every angle, and in every pose. People may easily ignore this kind of behaviour but not someone who is interested in understanding human behaviour.
So what happened here? Didn’t Lisa hate taking pictures of herself? Keep reading to know the reason behind this obsessive behaviour.
What is insecurity?
Insecurity is simply having doubts. When you are doubtful about your abilities to achieve a certain desired outcome or when you have a fear of losing what you own, then you will feel insecure.
Insecurity, therefore, results from thinking that you are inadequate somehow and that your current resources are insufficient to let you obtain something you want or hold on to something you already have.
Feelings of insecurity are warning signals from your mind telling you that you might lose something that is important to you or you might not be able to achieve what you want.
Financial insecurity and insecurity that is experienced in relationships are common examples of insecurities that people have.
There are a lot of reasons that can make a person feel financially insecure. These can range from being raised up in poor circumstances to not having faith in one’s skills to obtain a reliable source of income.
The effect is, however, the same- you are doubtful about your financial future. The way to deal with this type of insecurity is to find out the specific cause behind your feelings of insecurity and work on eliminating that cause.
If you don’t have a job, then maybe it’s time to seriously look for one or set up a business.
If you think that your skills are not sufficient to land you a good job then why not upgrade your skills?
Financial insecurity usually haunts those people who have a deep need to become financially independent.
Like I said before this need can be developed if a person was raised up in poor circumstances or if any major event occurred in his past that made him realize that money was important to him or that ‘he doesn’t have enough’.
What causes insecurity in relationships?
If a person doubts his ability to find a relationship partner or to keep his current relationship partner, then he will feel insecure. This insecurity stems from thinking that you are not good enough for your partner with whom you are or want to be.
People who are insecure in their relationships believe that their partner will leave them sooner or later and therefore tend to become very possessive.
A woman who calls her partner unnecessarily several times a day is insecure and is trying to reassure herself that her partner is still with her. A man who feels jealous when her woman talks to other men are insecure and thinks that he might lose her to one of them.
The way to overcome insecurity in relationships is to identify the reason behind it and work on eliminating it.
For example, a woman who thinks that no man will want to be with her because she is obese and unattractive can get rid of this insecurity as soon as she starts working on improving her image.
Explanation of Lisa’s behaviour
Coming back to Lisa whose obsessive behaviour I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Lisa had self-image issues i.e. she believed she wasn’t good-looking. Even though she looked good by normal standards, the mental image she had of herself was that of an ugly person.
That’s why she avoided taking photos of her when she was with others because she didn’t want to expose her perceived ‘flaw’.
We all tend to comment on photos when we look at them and therefore Lisa’s mind was making her avoid any such possibility where she could receive negative comments about her looks.
Why then did she take photos of her again and again?
When she took a photo of her by mistake, she repeated the process again and again because by doing so she was trying to re-assure her mind that she might not be that ugly after all.
Since she was unsure about her looks she was trying to reassure herself by taking photos from every possible angle in every possible pose.
The fact that she was unsure about her looks is proven by the large number of photos that she took. Had she been sure, one, two, three or even four photos would’ve been sufficient. But she kept doing it again and again because she wasn’t satisfied.
It’s the same as when you look in the mirror from different angles to satisfy yourself before leaving the house.
Feelings of insecurity and motivation
A lot of people think that there’s something wrong with feeling insecure and therefore they try their best to hide their insecurities as much as they can. The truth is that we all feel insecure in one way or the other because of the way we were raised or the past experiences we went through.
What most people don’t realize is that insecurity can be a powerful source of motivation. If we admit feeling insecure and stop pretending that our insecurities don’t exist, then we will take steps that can result in great accomplishments and happiness.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. I’ve published one book and authored 400+ articles on this blog (started in 2014) that have garnered over 4.5 million views. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur. Feel free to contact me if you have a query.