We discuss about communication and methods to relate in order to have as little conflicts and as much agreements as possible. We digress. We continue with self-esteem and ways in which we project in our relationships, including in those at the workplace, so many dragons that don't exist, and we create drama for past situations in which in reality we don't have closure, drama that we don’t even remember now.
“Self-security has its limits”, I tell them pleased by this discovery, that I recently got to know as well and which makes me feel a lot better in my condition of imperfect mortal.
They stare at me surprised and for a second I can swear that the entire audience holds its breath.
“What do you mean?”
“You want to be assertive in any situation and in any relationship?”, I asked, looking at them with the empathy of someone that already went down the spiny road of perfection and, in the meantime, freed herself of it, mostly.
“YES!!!”, they collectively shout out, strongly and with emphasize.
I sigh. I am afraid that I will be the one that will disappoint them. Whatever will be, I have a duty towards them, and that is to say out loud things just as I see them and how I consider them as being real.
I often come across this expectation, especially fixed in the younger ones around us. I see young adults, aged 25-30, studded in the heavy shoes of perfection, ravished by its implacable heaviness, trying hard to show, especially to themselves, that everything works out just as in fairytales.
In 2019, fairytales have exceeded the boundaries of prince charming books and movies. They now live on Instagram and on Facebook and wear hipster clothes, traveling to sunny places, with always-jolly friends, tasting the pleasures of life and being filled with goodness.
Looking from this perspective, insecurity does not fit here. Our interior bends, with their ugly chaos and the neurosis we experience from time to time, only seem wrinkled impulses that will disappear as we age and we will become more and more clearer and self-secure. Or not?
I used to chase this objective as well. I look back at it now with humor and understanding and in the end, I offered it a few good years of development and dedicated work.
Security sounds good, I know. And it feels even better. And many times, it’s ideal. But it is not an absolute good, as almost nothing is in our world. When we are self-secure, everything seems right in its place. Security gives us comfort, well-being and shows us that we are ok, that we are doing well, that our future is ideal, that the present is well-built.
In a certain way, security is like an amazing happy-end.
Its problem, however, is exactly this, that security is a happy-end.
It doesn't talk about the process, about the labor of our creation, about the questions we formulate thousands of times in our minds, hoping for a good result.
Security doesn’t gets us out from what we already know, it is not curious, it does not teach us how to do a new thing or maybe an old thing in a new manner.
Talking about self-insecurity, the philosopher Alain de Botton says:
“Anyone who isn't embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn't learning enough”.
Looking from this perspective, the lack of security, her uglier sister - maybe only because we are not accepting it - is the one helping us develop, takes us down from the cocoon of the absolute certainty and pokes us with really uncomfortable questions.
We have been taught to fight our insecurity. To chase it away, to curse it, to hate it and to exile it. But, I ask myself wondering, what if we listen to it? And how would we feel if we would be able to communicate with it? Not to nominate it our interior president, but to sit down with it, have a conversation. In the end, however we look at it, self-insecurity does not leave us. It accompanies us everywhere we go. Because it is us and we are it, indivisible parts made of the same interior dough.
Do we want to be self-confident all the time? There is a small fraction of the humanity that succeeds. They have no insecurities, they are not haunted by questions, they do not feel the attached anxiety and, mainly, they don’t feel anything. These persons are called psychopaths and they really don't have insecurities.
Moreover, what we sometimes understand only after an entire life, is that we live with a continuous negotiation between antagonistic states and this is exactly from where our power comes from.
There is no sadness without happiness, no fury without love and no security without insecurity. Our capacity of being uncertain, even though this rises us to difficult heights of anxiety, of asking ourselves if what we are doing is correct or not, of sometimes negotiating with a lot of contradictory information, coming from an unclear and ambiguous environment, is exactly our evolutional capacity of adapt and learn.
In fact, avoiding insecurity is avoiding our own personal growth.
In 2012, a psychologist and university lecturer from Stanford, made known to the world a concept, which reorganized our idea about success. She named it Growth Mindset. I consider it a truly transformational concept, because it turns upside down what we already know and identify as being a successful road.
Practically, if until Dweck we believed that challenges, obstacles and effort should not be part of a truly skilled and talented human’s path, now we learned that these are in reality the hint that things are working out well. Meaning that the chaos, confusion and insecurity are evidences that we are on the path to learning and growing. And the mistakes we make are the resources we use in order to reach our objectives. Or as Susan Cain was saying, another American psychologist, “the discomfort is the price for a meaningful life”.