The other day I was reading an article about the habits of happy people and thought, “Man! I wish I could write an amazing piece like that and live those habits on the reg.” Then I thought about the reasons I haven’t become a happy, balanced superhero and hosted a tiny pity party for myself from the comfort of my living room. Then I got inspired.
The only way out is through, so I decided to stare down one of my demons. And then I made a list.
I bring you the “10 Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Things Insecure People Do” as told from the vantage point of a woman determined to stop being one.
1. They use.
Sometimes it’s drugs. Sometimes it’s people. Usually, it’s a little of both. I’d elaborate, but it might turn into a diatribe and the only real point is that we are users. Proceed with caution.
2. They dwell.
Oh boy do we dwell. What past? I’m living the drama right now baby. We cannot get over even the smallest of insults. Break ups? Total devastation and we will relive the tough moments for many, many, many months after, even after we’ve found someone else. (P.S. Facebook, you make dwelling far too easy.) Honestly, we’ll probably project those horrible moments onto our new boos so we can keep the misery going. We like to pay it forward that way.
3. They quit.
Not good stuff you’re supposed to quit like cigarettes. We quit on important stuff like writing a book or loving someone. When we get inspired to embark on a new journey, we tend to fail the resiliency test and give up the moment the going gets tough. After which, we will resort to #2. Because of #3, we aren’t very good at getting promoted or, in some cases, keeping jobs. And let’s be honest – nowadays, who can afford that?
4. They make it all about them… like ALL the time.
Insecure people are shitty listeners. Empathy? Girl, bye. We can’t hear anything but our own thoughts and opinions. Because we constantly seek validation from others, we feel a need to make every conversation about us. You’re having trouble with your significant other? Let me tell you for 45 minutes what I would do and about what happened to me that one time way back when. You got time, right?
5. They Judge.
Some of us are good at it because we mask it in hilarious sarcasm. Others are just bitchy and quicker to turn people off. Either way, it’s the same symptom. Those wealthy chicks in the Village sipping a $12 bottle of green juice after yoga class? Hate ‘em and I’m gonna let you know about it if you’re walking with me. That girl at the bar who squeezed herself into those shorts (and probably does not give a damn what you think about it)? Let’s crack some jokes on her. Everybody is ridiculous. But let’s not forget the biggest target of them all: ourselves Yes, us. Insecure people judge themselves all the time. It’s exhausting. We’re never pretty enough, skinny, enough, smart enough, or successful enough to eek out even the tiniest sliver of gratitude or joy. I assure you that whatever snarky thing we say about others, we are one hundred times harder on ourselves.
6. They hide.
Some of us turn into social recluses, content in the security of our apartments, Netflix, and a sixer. Others hide behind images we’ve created to mask the broken human beneath. We find ways to bury the ugly instead of healing it, whether it be avoiding social interaction or gussying ourselves up in the latest trends and partaking of #5 with our equally insecure homies.
7. They get around.
This manifests in a few different ways, sometimes all at once. Insecure people are certainly not a monolith. Some people indulge in sex with multiple partners so they don’t have to get close to or rejected by anyone. Some are serial monogamists and have never been single for longer than a month or two (alone = scary). For others, it manifests socially. We don’t keep the same circle of friends for longer than a year at a time, or, at best we’ve only managed to attach ourselves to frenemies who support us in our endeavor to hide effectively. The central theme here is a lack of fulfilling relationships, which is likely caused by any combination of #1-6.
8. They care what other people think.
Although I alluded to this in #4, I think it’s worth noting separately that insecure people really, really, really care what everybody thinks. Even the people who are constantly saying, “I don’t give a [expletive] what anybody thinks!” probably care the most. It’s bravado. I find it difficult to make any remotely difficult decision without getting input from other people. This includes seemingly minor things like whether or not a pair of shoes is ever worth spending more than $100 on and if I can actually pull off patterned skinny jeans at my age. I’ve even written off potential love interests in the past only to become utterly smitten the second I realized other chicks were into them. We get easily embarrassed by the company we keep (see #5) and seek to pull otherwise confident people into our web by making them question themselves as well (again… #5). It’s brutal.
9. They are storytellers.
Not in the liar, liar pants on fire sense – though some are. Insecure people are great at creating stories in their head about what’s going on. Oh, your boo hasn’t texted you today and it’s almost 4:30 in the afternoon? He’s cheating/mad/goingtobreakupwithyouanysecondnow. Time to do #2. Those girls giggling in the corner over there? Totally hating on you. Bitches (see #5). Everything is a potential assault or disaster. This leads to some very unhealthy mind wandering and build up of emotional sludge in the soul.
10. They play it safe.
Insecure people are not risk takers. We’d much rather live vicariously through the exploits of others via Instagram or Facebook. It’s not that we’re afraid so much as that we don’t believe we could ever do something that incredibly rad and awesome. This results in a host of missed opportunities, regrets, and woulda coulda shoulda’s. Once I hit my 30’s, #10 barreled into me at full force. Words like “can’t” become commonplace. It’s perhaps the biggest tragedy of the list.
So here’s the thing…
When I wrote this list, I worried that it would come off bitchy or whiny (see #8) and honestly was not sure why I was writing it other than I felt inspired to do so. I do not have the magical follow up article that tells you how to stop doing all these things to yourself and those you love. What I do know is that every habit and negative story looping through your brain can be changed.
I’ll end with literature, light, and of course, Rumi:
Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick, I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I’m already under
and living within the ocean.
Does sunset sometimes look like the sun’s coming up?
Do you know what a faithful love is like?
You’re crying. You say you’ve burned yourself.
But can you think of anyone who’s not
hazy with smoke?