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The Insecurity Issue

3-D photo. Bright light coming from the far end of green concentric circles, which are becoming bigger as they come near us.

Insecurities are no joke. However subjective, they are housed by all of us. The thing about talking about insecurities is that we feel incredibly vulnerable doing so. Even in the case where a friend unknowingly jokes about an insecurity we’re hosting we tend to get defensive or become extremely subdued. One of the most frightening things for a highly insecure person is being in a romantic relationship. Maybe this is why they call it falling in love. At one point we just let our defences down and although we feel terrifyingly vulnerable, it is okay.

What about when it comes to sex?

Sexual insecurity is when we are hesitant about taking our clothes off, or exposing all of ourselves, and being constantly scared about doing something that will make our partner react negatively. This is more prevalent in the case of romantic relationships because we are scared of grossing our partners out and coming off as ‘bad in bed’ to someone we plan on seriously committing to.

A multitude of views are recorded when couples are interviewed about their sex lives and relationships. It is often found that while women are more concerned about the way they look and how they react to their partners’ moves (including women’s need to fake orgasms), men worry more about things like performance. It is safe to assume that all of us have sexual insecurities.

So, what can be done about insecurity?

Insecurities are not innate. They depend on various external conditions such as impacts of faulty parenting, bullying in school, negative self-image because of constant comparisons with beauty standards set by the media, etc. All this affects us on a deeper level than we care to understand. We have developed habits of reconsidering and revising what we say before complimenting a person, but we let a negative comment out unchecked. This is something we have grasped as children from the world around us. And having been subjected to this, we develop insecurities. The very first thought that we get after receiving even mildly depressing news has seeds of self-deprecation. It is automatic. Insecurities, we can say, inevitably manifest in various forms. However, getting over them is an extremely personal and empowering journey. No single guidebook can magically light up our path. It is different for all of us. This one fact is what helps us accompany each other through it – that all of us are equally unique.

The first thing we can aim to do is to know ourselves. In a social set-up where we have been encouraged to idolize influential people who make it to our newspapers and history books, it is easy to lose sight of who we really would’ve grown up to be without the constant collective pressure to be like someone else. Hence, we have to work towards exploring ourselves. We have to know that we cannot be perfect. We also have to know that it is okay to not be perfect. We should aim to explore our visions and desires. Explore our bodies. Go out there and grasp opportunities as they come. Take that hobby class. Accept that ‘friend’ request. Meet new people and laugh together. Through this, we realize that the part random strangers might play in our lives is crucial. How will this help our sex lives, you ask? This incites curiosity in us. The need to know ourselves better. Hence, we can feel freer during sex. We let it be about ourselves. It is a great confidence booster.

When the exploring part is going well and you can safely say you’ve learnt quite a few new things about yourself, you have to accept it all as it is. Most children today grow up to have body image issues because of the portrayal of seemingly perfect-looking people all around us. Then there is this whole fiasco perpetuated by fairness creams. It is nothing but disgusting how brazenly these companies belittle anything but a positively fair skin tone. It is difficult therefore to accept ourselves as we are. Once we have tried to know ourselves thoroughly, we can aim to acknowledge all our attributes. To acknowledge ourselves is to own up to our quirky elements and be okay with them. True acceptance lies in us. It may be all the more fun to have sex once you have made peace with the uneven size of your boobs or the sounds that you just can’t tone down while having sex. You can feel liberated from the restraints that held you back.

This is the most fun to do. Cherish yourself. Really appreciate how far you’ve come and treat yourself to some wine. Or cookies. Whatever makes you happy. You are literally winning at life now that you are comfortable in your own skin. In fact, now that you are totally in love with your own skin. That takes time and effort and may result in certain embarrassments, but when you get there, you’ll know it was all worth the struggle. I’ll end with a piece I wrote while going through a rough patch. However painful,it was a huge learning experience, and I’m glad it happened.

“You are sitting right on the edge. Vast stretches of naturally and beautifully carved rock lie ahead of you. The height makes you nervous, but the inexplicable euphoria covers up for it. You inhale deeply through your mouth and let the cool highland air into your body. You exhale a sigh of relief, letting out each disturbing thought. You now close your eyes and express a long overdue note of gratitude to yourself. You are grateful to yourself for shrugging negative bits off your life, and feel proud to have survived each harsh day life ever threw at you. You open your eyes to the beautiful day, and smile.

You smile because you love yourself. You smile because you acknowledge yourself wholly, good and bad alike. You smile because you know you’re capable of love, and that you deserve all the love in the world. You smile at the clear blue sky and the dusky hills. You smile at the grace of it all. You smile at the wind playing with your hair. You smile because you realize just how beautiful you are.

You smile because you understand. And that is enough.”

Photo Credit: piotr mamnaimie (CC BY 2.0)