Insecurity (And Why It’s Kind Of Like The Whole “Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?’’ Question) ♥


Insecurity: where does it stem from?

At what point do we decide that we have HUMUNGOUS thighs? When do we choose to believe that our nose is too big, our stomach is too large, or that our face isn’t pretty enough to accept all social invitations, and to truly be ourselves in public? And if we ARE engaging in such hesitations – why?! Is it the result of an insensitive comment from someone in the past? A misguided attempt at humour from a family member? What?

It’s a question that’s been on mind ever since coming across an interview with singer Kelly Clarkson, who, after being mercilessly criticized for her fluctuating weight over the years, admitted to a journalist that she’s never, EVER felt uncomfortable with her size – it’s just that everyone around her who constantly asks her about it seems to be. Her sentiments prompted me to consider my own least-favourite physical attributes, and whether or not I was looking upon them with disdain because had decided that they were ghastly, or because other people had made me feel that they were – and I realized that it was entirely the latter.


I don’t have perfect teeth. I have one tooth that slightly protrudes in front of the others, and could give The Cullen family a serious run for their money in the Fang Department! And sure, while I’ve contemplated braces before (only to later spend my pennies on travel!), and will probably commit to them one day, in the mean time, I just can’t justify living my life or acting any differently than I normally would simply because I don’t have a crooked-free smile and may come across the occasional person who chooses to focus their eyes on my mouth, as opposed to my eyes or face, in a conversation!

When it comes to insecurities, what do YOU believe? Are they the origin of completely personal feelings, or are they the consequence of subscribing to an unflattering opinion or theory from somebody else? And, more importantly, why should we actually care what anybody else thinks?!



24 responses to “Insecurity (And Why It’s Kind Of Like The Whole “Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?’’ Question) ♥

  1. I think that insecurities come from the enviorment. For explame, children are rarely insecure, they are blunt and they don’t really care about what people think.

    For example, when I was little I didn’t like to eat, I didn’t like food because I didn’t like the taste (not because I had an eating disorder). So my mother changed recipes and introduced me to food that I loved and I started gaining a lot of weight (there is a picture of me with my arm stretched out and it was pretty much skin over bones). So I gained weight and while I was never fat, I started to fill out and my mother, aunts, cousins started calling me fat. So I got really insecure about my belly and my legs. All the time my mother calls my sister and I fat and while I try to not care, I’m still really insecure about it (and i’m not fat, I’m 52 kg for crying outloud! I just have a belly).

    So, for me, insecurities come from the enviornment. At least mine do.

    P.S.: I totally wore braces to get my “perfect” smile. And I have huge fangs in a very tiny mouth XDD.

  2. Wow. This is a really interesting question. (As usual!) I’ve always hated my teeth too, but I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t like them or because you only ever see people with perfect smiles in the media… so yeah, I guess mine does come from another place… but from the media.

  3. Julie – That’s so unfair – you’re TINY! I can’t even begin to comprehend that… jeez. I’m utterly convinced now that insecurities really DO breed from others, and not ourselves!

    Lauren – Innnterestinggg! To be honest, I’ve never felt any sort of pressure to look perfect in regards to my teeth from the media, but it’s definitely off putting when you’re speaking with someone in person and they’re staring at your teeth!

  4. I know this is generally the standard answer when it comes to false body image, but I COMPLETELY blame the media. Quit plastering magazine covers and movie screens with impossibly thin and hopelessly perfect, unrealistic women. It’s time we embrace REAL women. Show some girls with meat on their bones…and fangs in their mouths!!!

  5. i agree that they come from your environment. sure, some *might* come from the media, but i think a great majority of insecurities come from people you actually know. some out of those misguided attempts at humour, some so they feel better about themselves.

    i know i’ve always been comfortable with my body until others started calling me fat. or pointing out my awful overbite (yes, another teeth thing :p), which i got rid of with braces. & ever since i was 11/12 i started on an epic crusade to become skinny, not because of the media, but because of the people in my direct environment. & eventually i did get skinny & everyone thought i had an eating disorder, because while a lot of people (especially in my family) talked about losing weight, most never succeeded. but i was comfortable with my body again, even when i put on a little weight later on. until my mom asked with a smile on her face if i’ve gained weight. ugh. i can totally sympathise with kelly clarkson. though she’ll undoubtedly be getting A LOT more crap about it than me, being famous and all.

    so, claire: look further than the media! & just because those women are “impossibly” thin & hopelessly perfect, it doesn’t make them any less real. they’re still women & don’t deserve to be hated just for the way they look.

  6. Hear, hear!

  7. I agree that it’s both people we know and the greater society that we live in. If people are you constantly tell you that something is wrong with you, it’s hard to tune them out and embrace that part of you. There’s also the media that indirectly tells us that something is wrong with us if we don’t meet a certain narrow standard of beauty that is constantly focused on. They are certainly real women (though not entirely, given the ubiquity of airbrushing), but they only represent a narrow subset of real women. I feel comfortable with my body, because I don’t buy into the MSM worship of one type of body type, but I think I’m the exception, not the rule. A lot of the media stuff is subconscious, so even if you don’t think that it has affected how you feel about your teeth, it may be subconsciously affecting you when all you see is “perfect” smiles, with the occasional “charming” gap.

  8. i definitely think that most of it is just the different standards of beauty among all kinds of different cultures.

    it can be extremely drastic or even small things. for example, some people think that shaving off their eyebrows & drawing them on looks fantastic, i have a different opinion on that look. based on what culture you subscribe to, you develop your own ideas of what is aesthetically pleasing.

    but sometimes being insecure has helped me out. like i’ve always been really shy & being insecure about being shy (weird, yes) made me really want to improve upon that & now i am at least a tiny bit more outgoing & it has improved my life drastically!

  9. I think a combination of self-pressure and outside comments can make us insecure about our looks.

    For example, one unknowing person saying “what happened to your nose? did you break it?” no.. thanks though.

    Even websites and other media who are against eating-disorder models can be hurtful. I was always pretty skinny, with a wide ribcage, wide hips and a flat chest. That’s just my body type, but reading comments like, “why can’t they put some curvy models, show examples of what REAL women look like” suggests that you can’t be skinny with a flat chest to be a real woman.

  10. I’ve found that my insecurities have generally developed out of other people’s comments, like, “wow, you have REALLY big nostrils” or “that dress makes you look fat” (total cliche but someone said it to me). I’m not so upset by those remarks anymore because I’m beginning to love all the things about me that are totally individual and kind of fun, like an oddly skinny in places but curvy in others body type, or my large nose, but one thing I have a serious insecurity with is acne…big, red spots, the kind that you just can’t hide. I find I can look around and everyone’s different shapes, features, etc are really cool, but my acne is NOT. I do my best but I have a hard time wanting to go out like that as I live in a city absolutely flowing over with gorgeous girls whose skin seems to always be great. Ah, envy… yet, I tend to think acne is just about unforgivable, thanks proactive and airbrushing technology, but I think it’s more than just the media…it implies something about one’s hygiene, how much they care for their appearance… I am obviously very uncomfortable with it, and it IS mostly the images I encounter daily, but I also feel it’s more. Thoughts?

  11. I love this so much that I just bookmarked it. THANK YOU.

  12. Corrine this was too good!

    I have my days, but generally I remember that my insecurities stem from what I think other people want whose opinion I care about. For example, if someone I’m dating tells me I’ve lots a little weight, a little voice in my head starts wondering if they like me better a little thinner, etc….luckily I call myself out on it, remind myself it doesn’t matter, & I get over it.

  13. Personally, I think it has to do with so many factors. A huge one is definitely what people, tactlessly, say to you or comment on. The next one is the culture and the enviroment you grew up in. For instance, when I went to Europe I noticed everybody, and I do mean almost 99% of the population there that I came across, had crooked or/and yellowed teeth. In America that is almost like a sin against mankind, but to them its so normal…I felt amazing with my braces and not so crooked but still in need of a year or two teeth/smile. Now as soon as I came back to USA, all those open mouth smiles were gone in a heartbeat.

    Howevere, I do think that it also has to do with ourselves. We are not blind to these things, we have eyes and we see if our nose is a little big or small, or if we are skinnier or bigger than most girls around us, whether or not our arms are as hairy as the other girls’ or if they look more like the guys’ arms. We are not oblivious to these things and thus we have to realize that we can’t blame others or culture all the time. We put ourselves down half of the time. Some very or over confident woman might not notice, or give a crap about, how her nose is a little triangle shaped or something. So we have to fight, not only against other people’s comments and what our culture feeds us since the moment we are born, but also with ourselves and the never ceasing critic inside of us.

    Simple as that….just long to write about. Sorry!

  14. i have really good teeth, and it’s something that i receive compliments about. what i am insecure about is my stomach and upper thighs. i think that they are too big and flabby, and am always aware of my posture because of it–this just makes me look fidgety though.

  15. This is a thought provoking post! I think about these things quite a lot.

    I think it’s a combination of our environment (especially that which we were brought up in), and yes, things that people have said. I’d be lying if i said the media wasn’t a bit influential in the feeding of insecurites, but it is also very much an individual thing. After all, i have had really gorgeous friends who are surprisingly insecure, and then had other friends who were far from physically perfect, but very very confident, yet they are both exposed to the same media.

    I put it down to upbringing really. Our parents mould us when we are children, and we then grow up with a certain set of values and a certain way of looking at the world-and ourselves. I could go on and on, but i can definitely see how certain things from my childhood have helped certain insecurities to grow…obviously now that I’m an adult , and am aware of such things, it is up to me to go about changing certain things. Some people seem lucky enough not to have to do this, but then again, if it’s not physical appearance somebody has insecurities about, then they may be insecure about not being smart enough, or interesting enough etc.

    When it comes down to it, it’s probably just human nature to have a few insecurities really! None of us are perfect, which is good, because I’m not sure perfection actually exists..and if it does, it is probably quite boring. If everything and everyone was perfect, we would all be the same, and we would learn nothing; discover nothing. Imperfection is beautiful i think! But yes, we do need to start being more comfortable with it instead of trying to hide it 🙂

    Thankyou for making me think today!

  16. I believe that the cause for insecurities is entirely due to our environment. I hate my neck because my middle school crush said I had a triple chin, when in actuality i just have enough skin for a giraffe neck which folds since I do not have such a neck. When I was a kid my mother made me wear extra big clothes because we couldn’t afford to buy me new clothes every year. Happenings like these which were out of my hands caused ill feelings that I have today, 10 years later, about my body

  17. My greatest insecurity would be my weight/size – if I could just RID myself of it, (or wittle down to the -right- size that everyone thinks of) I believe that life would be so much better to live. Why this insecurity? First off, I’m Asian, and Asians are known to be “petite”. Well I’m not. I’m at least 10cm taller than most girls here, and I’ve got broad shoulders and have been classified as “curvy” when I sure as hell don’t think I am. Curvy, in the context of this society, is when you’re too big to fit into clothes that would fit sticks. I certainly don’t look like a model, but it’s because of what magazines, advertising (all the mass media) have portrayed as beauty – the thin models who don’t eat, the thin models whom clothes fit to a T.. even with the increased realization of eating disorders, there’s still a lack of real action taken. who doesn’t want to look like a VS angel?

    its just sad, because you realize that guys prefer the smaller more petite build, and where i come from, it really is the case and that affects how i feel towards myself. Some days when I’m home and there’s no one to judge me or compare me to the next girl, I’m actually happy with how I look. Which makes it sadder because I judge myself through the lenses of others.

  18. I think this is what cakes, ice cream, fried chicken and computer-generated alternative worlds and making of bisaya short films are made for. Nothing to be really insecure about, if people wouldn’t prompt you to be insecure about anything. However, no matter how people may be insecure, they still always can find something to hope for in the end.Most of the times, at least.

  19. one day when i was a little girl i was looking at myself in the mirror and thought i was ugly. like it just came out of nowhere. i remember that first time because i was crying about it. i don’t really think that now. i’m kind of an awkward introvert so yeah.

  20. I’m really insecure about my forhead ever since the 7th grade when these girls would point and laugh at me about how huge it was. Up until then, i was completely content about my features and even liked them. I got bangs soon after and still have them, and plan to have my hairline reduced when I’m older. I’m still that scarred.

  21. I think it has something to do with the culture in which you live, certainly. My pale ivory-white skin is generally considered an unattractive flaw in modern-day America, even though I love it, but in high school I did struggle some to get past the comments – “You need to get some sun, girl!” “Wow, your legs glow in the dark.” “Shorts aren’t for you, chica.” I thought about trying to tan for a while, and had to get past the insecurity to my original love of my old-fashioned milkyness.

    Another example would be the perfect smile obsession. Watch British TV and movies – not only are their actors generally more normal-looking people than Hollywoodized Americans, they just don’t think that crooked or, heaven forbid, yellowish, teeth are such an unforgivable beauty sin.

  22. I think insecurities stem from how we compare ourselves with our own perceptions of what beauty is (which is GREATLY influenced by our environment, esp the media).

  23. Thanks for article, it really got me to rethink the sources of my own insecurities–and whether or not they are really necessary.

    I’ve got to agree with the comments above, I believe it’s the environment–i.e. your friends & family, the media, your work environment–that contribute to these insecurities. For example, the “protuding teeth” the author is insecure about is actually considered an attribute of beauty (or at least cute-ness) in Indonesian culture.

    I don’t think it’s only the environment, though–there’s also your perception of self, of human beings and differences. Which I believe stems from your basic nature and influenced through your life experiences (including how you were raised).

    But it makes me wonder, what is it about how one was taught/brought up that triggers insecurities? How do you draw the line between “making someone feel insecure” or simply reprimanding or teasing them? I sure hope I don’t unknowingly contribute to someone else’s insecurities.

  24. I have to agree with everyone here who says it’s the environment that conditions us to feel inadequate about things we can’t change. I was always a tall girl and some people (mainly insecure short guys) felt the need to tease me for being an amazon (haha). Some people have their own issues and feel the need to make you feel bad for an attribute you have that they wish they did.

    Due to the merciless teasing, I avoided wearing heels for the longest time.

    I never walked straight with my shoulders back and I was always self-conscious about being the tallest of my friends.

    Anyway, I realized that most people who are short want to be tall, ergo the reason I was mercilessly teased. Being different got me noticed, which is a good thing. Having differences add to your uniqueness and instead of being one among a million, you are one in a million. Having distinctive traits and physical attributes makes you special and I am no longer as afraid to wear heels. Of course, I refrain from wearing heels when I’m seeing my 4foot11 grandmother lest she strain her eyes to look up a whole foot 🙂

    Basically, there is no reason to let anyone make you feel bad about things you cannot change, unless it’s an unhealthy habit, sometimes what you really need is a kick in the butt.

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