Wendy’s World: Insecurity

I am always disappointed by how often I come across girls who are insecure.  This past weekend, I was speaking to a friend about why she stopped hanging out with her best friend.  She explained to me how she and her best friend dated for a bit last year.  This year, he has a girlfriend, and his girlfriend does not like the idea of them hanging out together because they used to date.  So now, they don’t hang out anymore, even though there is nothing between them.

It is easy to quickly associate blame to the girlfriend’s insecurity as the cause for the end of these friendships; however, it also presents the opportunity to analyze why she is insecure—which I believe is because of society.  I’m sure that the girlfriend is not the only person to have ever felt insecure.  There are a countless number of girls who feel that way.  I know that I went through a period of insecurity, and there are times when I still feel self-conscious.

I remember growing up in a society that told me what I needed to be.  I needed to be beautiful, skinny, tall, athletic, blonde, and sexy with lots of make-up and a cute, feminine outfit.  I also needed to be successful, hard-working, high-achieving and over-involved.  Then I needed to be nice, caring, and self-less.  But wait.  Media also told me that it was okay for me to be catty because that’s what girls do; they fight with each other.   Boys were also smarter, better leaders, even heroic, and a number one priority in my life.

Society has created this terrible, impossible and contradictory image of what girls need to be, and unfortunately, from when they are born, women are bombarded everywhere by the media, school, friends, and family about these messages.  Thus, young girls internalize these ideas and use them as a model of comparison for what they need to be.  I believe this is one of the major factors behind why girls are so insecure.

Insecurity serves as such a major impediment to women’s happiness and success.  Rather than cooperating with other women, they compete with each other.  They are overly concerned about their looks and appearance.  They also doubt themselves and their potential while still trying to do it all—be smart, look beautiful, be caring, and meet everyone else’s expectations.  How is this healthy for young women?

I truly wish there was an easy and quick solution; in fact, I’m not even sure how to solve this societal problem.  I do have a few suggestions that can help overcome one’s insecurity though:

Think about what is causing your insecurity. 

Are you concerned about your looks?  Do you feel like everyone is smarter than you?  Why do you think that is?  You can’t solve the problem if you don’t know what’s causing it.

Think about your strengths.

What are you good at, and what are you proud of?  Leverage these abilities to your advantage.  Don’t forget about them.  If there is something that you wish you were stronger at, what can you do to improve it?

Who do you want to be?

What do you want out of your life?  What kind of person do you want to be?  What are your values and priorities?  Having an image of what you want to be will help you focus on it and put aside everyone else’s expectations of you.

Set goals.

These will help you stay focused on what you want out of your life, and you will feel really good when you achieve them.

Have faith in yourself.

Be confident.  I know that it is easier said than done, but at the end of the day, everybody is just a person like you.  You are just as capable as any of them.  Your strengths may lie in different areas, but that doesn’t make you any less of a person.  You still deserved to speak, be acknowledged, and treated as an equal.

Too often, women are portrayed as inferior.  Women deserve so much better because we are enough.

–Wendy Tran

Lead Her Intern, Campus Calm™

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