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Insecurity: An Equal Opportunity Stalker

Insecurity: Is He Or She An Equal Opportunity Stalker?

Yup! She is.

 Once again it is the first Wednesday, of the month. And we all know what that means. It is the day that we post about our insecurities as a writer, for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group. On the first Wednesday of each month we release our fears and share our vulnerable side with our fellow writers.

Today I am going to talk about insecurity in general. Of course, as writers we have our moments of insecurity, but as humans we have it as well. What makes us Insecure? Is there a direct link to something in our childhood? Who knows, but I am not going to get into the whole nature vs. nurture thing. I do believe that as we mature, we become more secure. Or maybe when we get older we just don't give a shit about the little things that once bothered us?

Let's define insecurity:


[in-si-kyoor-i-tee]  Show IPA
noun, plural in·se·cu·ri·ties.
lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt:

One dictionary explains it as a feeling of inadequacy, uncertainty or doubt, heightened by a sense of helplessness, rejection, no purpose, and blame.

Both definitions imply something negative. Sure, insecurity can be a negative quality. An insecure person who thrives on negativity can inadvertently invite more despair into their life. The negative characteristics of insecurity become unnecessary burdens in our lives unless we identify why we have such  poor or low self esteem.  A normal person has many insecurities . As writers we worry that our book may not get published, we won't land a top agent, or that people will not like and purchase our books. Men and women of all professions feel insecure at one time or another.

A serious problem arises when we cannot admit that we feel insure or if we let our lack of confidence drive us to commit other acts that only heighten our insecurity. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, we have a place to discuss (without fear of judgment) our insecurities  . We can release our fears without repercussion . This is healthy.

Insecurity rises to an unhealthy neurosis when we are unable to address it, or for people who suppress their feelings or do not have an outlet. We see it everyday. I see it from the petty back-stabbing and gossiping that my teens do to the cut throat co worker who will try and sabotage another's success.

When I see one of my girls compare herself to a friend (or worse, a nemesis) I worry. A little comparison and competition is healthy, but a constant need to compare to another is dangerous; feeling less important in comparison to others is destructive. For example, comparing intelligence, looks, wealth, achievements, education or anything else that could create self doubt.  I do my best to be a good role model for my kids.

 My thirteen year old and her friend saw me tinkering with this post last night and they were like, "No way. Are you crazy? You aren't really going to write about feeling insecure are you? You can't tell the whole world that or everyone will know and then they will make fun of you."

They have a point, right?

After that conversation , I deleted what I had written and changed the focus of today's post. I want them to know that we all feel insecure and that healthy, normal people are not afraid to admit it. It is the people that one of the girls was referring to, when she said, " they will make fun of you", that are the most insecure . People who thrive on putting others down, obsessed with proving to the world (in reality they are trying to convince themselves)  that they are  superior in talent, looks, happiness, wealth, wisdom, popularity, intelligence, etc.

I pointed out that anyone who is compelled to tell the world how pretty they are, how good they look, how many people like them, like their work, how smart or talented they are or anyone who is compelled to tell the world that someone else (usually the object of their inferior feeling) is not attractive, is untalented, stupid, hated by everyone, blah, blah, blah, is someone who suffers from serious and unhealthy low self esteem. Their insecurities have risen to a dangerous level.

As writers, we are fortunate that our chosen profession, hobby, or desire: Writing, provides a natural and creative  release for our pent up feelings. I recommend that everyone , not just writers, use writing as a creative outlet.

My daughter's freshman creative writing teacher required her class to keep a journal to help boost self confidence, minimize feelings of insecurity and offset the influence of negative peer pressure. I took that description from her classroom handout of required reading and helpful resources.

Well put. I could not have written it better.

So, a great big round of applause to Alex Cavanaugh, for hosting this group. It is comforting to know that as writers, we already possess one of the most effective tools to minimize our own insecurities. This is good to know, especially after I read an article that listed the top three most depressing careers. I can't remember where I read it, it was a while back.  I do remember the top three most depressing careers:

1. Attorneys
2. Authors
3. Nursing home Staff

It is not hard to imagine why. It has to be depressing to care for the elder or chronically ill patient. Attorneys are not liked, rated below used car salesmen by most -   c'mon, I know you've heard all the jokes about how we are no different than bottom feeding pond scum. Writing is a lonely job. So it is encouraging to know that we hold in our hands (literally and figuratively ) a useful tool to combat depression and insecurity .

You know what is even better, IMHO?  Communicating and interacting with the friends we have met in this writing community. This is an awesome group and leaders like Alex, keep coming up with more and more ways for all of us to get involved in the community and interact with each other. It is up to us to take advantage of these opportunities .

So hop over to Alex's blog and list of other IWSG participants and make an effort to visit at least twelve other bloggers this month.  Congratulations to Alex, he is days away from finishing the fist draft of his 3rd novel, Cassa Storm.

Oh, and a funny thing happened today while I was googling images for this post. I know, I know, I have to go through my blog and remove all images I found on the web- that little thing about copyright infringement, but that's another post. But, the good news, I found a new blogger that I totally resonated with. Her name is Misty and she is also a lawyer-mom-blogger and you should read her post about feeling insecure. It further demonstrates just how normal the feeling is. Insecurity, as Misty wrote, is an equal opportunity stalker.



Melissa Sugar said...

Trying to make oneself look good by making others look bad is a downward spiral. It only breeds more insecurity.
A little is good because it keeps us humble.
And sharing it isn't a bad thing!
Thanks for all the kind words about the IWSG!

Melissa Sugar said...

What a good lesson for the girls! It's very healthy to admit our insecurities, especially in environments like this one. Well said, Melissa! :)

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks, Carrie.

Melissa Sugar said...

You are very welcome, Alex. Thanks for all you do.

Melissa Sugar said...

We have to compare to know where we stand and improve, but therein lies the rub. Great post.

Side note: Did you change your header?  Something seems different.

IWSG #179 (At least until Alex culls
the list again. :P)

Melissa Sugar said...

It's a tough one, admitting to being insecure, in any aspect of life.  With writing though, I find so much support online, if you want it - you will find it.  And that's the best thing about writing and connecting, you get to make friends and build networks to support you!  

Good luck with your writing and I agree - law is a hard field.  I watch my friends and the long hours and all that reading (not the fun kind either) and I think... not for me.  PS:  I popped over to say I've posted my secret letter now for JC's blog tour - please stop by and find out what the piece is to the puzzle. ;-) 

Melissa Sugar said...

Telling the world about our weaknesses is one way of connecting to others who probably know exactly what you're talking about. It also encourages us put our feelings out there in words. That helps me deal with things like insecurity. Thanks, Melissa.

Melissa Sugar said...

Great post Melissa. I smiled when i read what your daughter said.  It's so true about not appearing insecure because it can make you vulnerable--but as a writer, that vulnerability is what makes for great writing.  Still whenever I post things I wrote in my teenage diary, I imagine my teen self cringing.  :)

Melissa Sugar said...

Good post, Melissa and it's great that you explained how insecurity works to your daughter and her friend. You're so right that something is wrong with the person who needs to put someone else down to feel good about themself.

Melissa Sugar said...

And here I thought dentists would be in that list, even at the top, since they lead in the number of suicides by profession.

Best way to overcome is to write! And you can start by writing an awesome post on Dog Days of Summer! lol

Melissa Sugar said...

was looking for your fairytale, but i got to read this great iwsg post instead! its hard to teach confidence to insecure kids and to find it in ourselves sometimes! great stuff!

Melissa Sugar said...

Well said Melissa :)


Melissa Sugar said...

Insightful post, thanks for this!

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