Do not let insecurity define you!

Windhoek: “I wish I was pretty. I get told I’m ugly by other people, so I believe it. I always try to look as perfect as I can, but it just does not work. Every day I get people telling me I’m not beautiful enough to be in their clique. I know I’m young and should not be listening to what other people say about me, but the only thing that matters is what I see when I look in the mirror, how I feel in my clothes, and the fact that the size of my body has started to keep me from doing the things I love,” says 18-year-old Bianca Gowases.

During teenage years emptional insecurities are pervasive and all too common. While such insecurities do affect every teenager, they manifest themselves differently and with varying intensity, depending on a person’s strength of character and environment.

Insecurity is described as a character flaw that can result from low-confidence and low self-esteem, which are caused by many factors. This negative emotion can cause a person to become depressed and to suffer self-doubt, depending on their actions, what they like, how they look, and mostly, by caring about what others think of them.

Insecurity affects so many people in different ways. Sad that every day of her life people around her keep reminding her of her imperfections, Gowases believes that such comments are the reason she feels insecure about herself.

“One day, I looked into the mirror and noticed my appearance compared to the standards of our society when it comes to defining beauty. I was fat and short. Nowadays, you just can’t do something without being labelled, even if it means breaking the other person,” says Gowases.

It’s also well-known that many teens struggle with self-image issues, especially at school or outside the comfort of their home, but they should overlook minor flaws and work towards a more positive attitude about themselves by implementing good personal habits.

A Grade 11 pupil, Geraldine Adams, says even though she had suffered from low self-esteem, she did not let insecurity and people’s opinion of her take over her life.

“I don’t think many of us are happy with ourselves and I personally have not been happy with myself, but you are fine as you are. Personality is better than looks. If you are fat, you are said to be an overeater. If you are thin, you’re anorexic. If you love to read, you’re a nerd, if you don’t, you’re stupid. If you’re friendly, you’re fake. If you’re silent, they call you rude. There’s so much thrown to us that contributes to self-doubt, but it’s all up to you to take it or ignore it,” Adams says.

She adds that people will always have something to say and will have faults to point out, but young people must learnt to love themselves nevertheless.

“Society defines beauty for you. That does not mean you are not [beautiful]. I’ve learned that you should not surround yourself with people who do not see the beauty beyond your physical appearance. If you hang out in a clique, because of how you look and what you have then you better get new friends. Stop wishing to be someone else. Stop hating your body or your personality. Let’s appreciate ourselves in the mirror and be happy with who we are. At least that’s what I got to learn, “she says.

According to Youthvoices.net, an insecure person can lack confidence and may want to isolate himself/herself from the rest of the crowd. Insecurity can also cause shyness, paranoia, and sometimes arrogance, aggression and bullying.

Sometimes, when we have a picture in our minds about our ‘ideal self’, it may be incredibly difficult to accept the way we are, to accept reality. Insecurity can also be caused by wanting to be someone other than who we are.

Phillipe Shangula (25) agrees that insecurity can define your life if you allow it to. Having been through it for six years, Shangula says that speaking to someone about how you feel helps with regaining your confidence.

“Life is full of contrasts, it has ups and downs, rights and wrong and positives and negatives. It frequently fails to live up to our expectations, which is why we often feel disappointed. Everyone is unique in their own way. Some may say you’re adorable and some might not. You can’t please everybody.”

“People are beginning to starve themselves, to compare themselves to the models on these magazines and on television, and start to feel more apprehensive about their countenance, or their body. People can fall into depression, because of what they see, which, naturally are these wonderfully beautiful models.

“I used to be called homosexual because of how I dressed and that made me uncomfortable for many years until I put an end to it.” Shangula adds that the most important thing about building your self-confidence and not letting society’s opinion of you cause insecurity, is to stop comparing yourself to other people.

“Confidence can make a huge difference in the way we see people. Look at the good things about yourself, stop worrying about the bad. Own your flaws and be confident about who you are. Underneath it all, nobody is perfect. Always surround yourself with positive people who bring the best out of you.”

According to pathwaytohappiness.com our minds can at times mislead us, preventing us from awakening our self-confidence. People are constantly trying to boost their self-confidence by trying to become that “perfect person”. This can lead us to believe that we have to be perfect, which is completely false.

When we become aware, we can avoid trying to reach perfection and we can focus on what makes a difference in the way we feel. Change begins in the mind. Insecurity is not easy to overcome, but advice, positive friendships and changing your point of view, can definitely help.