How many times in your life have you known the answer but did not raise your hand or your voice to share it?
How often has someone asked for your opinion and you sheepishly say "Oh, no, it doesn't matter" or "Oh, well, I dunno, I just think...."?
The sad truth is that human development is saturated with insecurity.
It does not matter what kind of family someone had growing up, EVERYONE IS INSECURE ABOUT SOMETHING.
The Sparknoted reason is that your parents offer the kind of love and support that they learned how to give from their parents and their relationships, and the same for their parents and the parents before that.
This means that there is not one right way of parenting because every single approach will lead a child to be insecure about something. There is no common denominator available to prevent it. That is the way it is.
But what is insecurity?
Life is full of challenges that cause stress in people, but insecurity is tied to confidence.
Insecurity occurs because you believe that you cannot successfully respond to that stress or challenge.
This belief is reinforced with self-talk that prevents you from trying to face that stress or challenge again in the future.
Once it is a belief, it is even more strongly confirmed by avoidant behavior and then the all-powerful self-talk of "Oh no, I'm not the kind of person who can do ________", which protects you from the pressure of facing that stress ever.
Insecurity decreases self-confidence. Lowered self-confidence demotivates us to speak up for ourselves.
Avoiding self-advocacy leads to self-talk that you do not need to speak up because what you say holds no value.
Self-expression gets more and more challenging the more you avoid it, so you protect yourself from the challenge by saying "Oh, I'm just a quiet person."
Great, good for you. You protected yourself from stress.
But what will you do when something you should say could determine the fate of your career or your relationship?
What if something you know could save someone's life? Would you still stay quiet?
The problem is that people get so used to thinking that they do not have anything valuable to say that the fear of speaking out becomes paralyzing. What if someone was dying and you happened to have taken a CPR course in the past but you are stuck in the belief that you are not valuable?
Will you let the person die or will you speak out about how to save the person?
Does this sound familiar at all to your life?
THE HARD TRUTH
Here is the deal: Everyone possesses the same amount of value.
What you know / believe / want to say does not hold any less value than the person next to you.
Whether in your journal, at a work meeting, or on a first date, your evolution depends on your ability to face your fear and share what you want to say.
YOUR FIRST STEP
It is a process, though. Let us do it together. The first question to ask yourself is:
What am I insecure about saying / doing? What do I shy away from in conversations or interactive settings?
This is not referring to things like skydiving or white water rafting, activities that are not required for your survival.
Instead, I refer to the fear of your own confidence.
About what kind of self-expression are you insecure to share with the world?
And why is that the case? Where did that come from?
Who or what "taught" you at some point that what you think does not matter?
This is the first step to understanding what is holding you back in your career, your relationship, and everything else in your life. There is no right or wrong answer, because your answer is just as valid as that of everyone else in the world.