I’m told that I come off very secure. It’s a surprise to even people who have known me well that I’ve ever struggled with feelings of insecurity. That I had to intentionally work on learning to cope productively with jealousy.
But I did. I’m doing a lot better with it these days than before, but some things never change: I am still a lot more emotionally insecure than I let on.
It’s strange, because I’ve found that talking about my insecurities, talking about my fears, rob them of their power. But I simultaneously find that there’s often a cost to doing this, one that isn’t talked about nearly enough. The trouble is that talking about insecurity can be super repellent to other people.
Some people might read that and reflexively say, “That’s not true!” But honestly, it’s a rare situation indeed where one person can go on and on about their insecurities ad nauseum and another person will listen patiently and reassure them for hours, days, or weeks.
There’s a point where practically every supportive listener’s patience will run out.
Generally speaking, insecurities have more stamina and staying power than other people have the patience to entertain them and argue against them. It’s simply the truth.
Does this mean we should never talk about our insecurities? No. Because it is important to voice them, because unvoiced insecurities can drive us to act in underhanded and destructive ways towards other people. They also have a way of becoming something we’re ashamed about. And when our fear stays completely in the shadows, it can grow in power.
So I’ve found it helpful to let partners know what’s bothering me. Usually once. But I never do talk about it with someone else for as long as I’d really need to in order to effectively work through it.
Instead, I end up doing most of that work in private. And all the while, I look less affected by that work than I actually am. Because I’ve also found that most people who care about me also have trouble tolerating the fact I’m suffering, even if they’re unable or unwilling to help me alleviate that suffering.
And the last thing I need when I’m already suffering is to have someone else upset that I’m suffering or judging me for it.
Anyway, talking about insecurities can be like walking a tightrope sometimes. We don’t talk enough about that.