Cool. You have now eliminated all of your insecurity. Congratulations!
Now go take on the world!
(I can hear your increased heart rate from here...)
It is like when you put training wheels on a kid's bike and then she still doesn't know what to do to start biking. The kid always looks up at you and wonders "Wait, you want me to go by myself now?"
And that, folks, is the fallacy of life: that you are alone. Sure, the world is a difficult place and yes, life has its way of punching you in the stomach all the time, but we are all still here only because we have learned ways to remain together as a tribe.
The trick that the devil plays, however, is making you think that you are not worthy of anyone else's attention.
When things happen that sequentially diminish your self-esteem, that belief becomes much more powerful. You recoil from others and the world, and the more you recoil, the more you confirm the belief that you should not engage with the outside world.
The cycle continues to circulate until you no longer go to work, you ruin your friendships, and you lose your sense of self and direction.
Alone vs. Lonely
Now that we have the hard truth nailed down, let us talk about the difference between alone and lonely.
When you feel insecure, you feel small. When you feel small, it is easy to feel alone. But lonely is a deeper sense of isolation in which no connection with another person may even be possible.
Lonely is when you are seeking some kind of connection. Alone is when you feel like you are all by yourself, even when loads of people are around you.
This way, the alone-ness is a feeling state in which one can see others around them but either does not know how or is not confident enough to reach out to any of them.
I do not want you to stay there.
Your Support System
A "healthy support system" is a trendy term in the mental health world, particularly for adolescents who have not yet developed survival behaviors in the big bad world.
Being a buzz term, like happiness and success, it creates an ideal to which we think we need to strive. Like most ideals, though, it is pretty darn impossible to get there. In order to establish your own healthy support system, we return to the process of defining it for yourself instead of letting society define the ideal for you.
How about we define it together? Come on.
Here's a fun first question to start with:
who is in your life right now that you WISH WAS NOT in your life?
Just name one person for an example. Once you chose someone, ask:
what is it about that person that you do not connect with, enjoy, or want in your life?
An example is somebody who is always negative, or only speaks in gossip, or eats with their mouth open.
I am not going to shame you here and ask why you have not voted them off the island yet. The purpose is to start evaluating valuable characteristics to you in other people.
Once you have identified the primary characteristic whose presence you do not appreciate in your life:
what is the opposite of that characteristic?
And Boom! You have your first personally unique feature that you appreciate in others around you. See, pretty easy. Let us keep going.
Make a list of characteristics that come to mind that are deal breakers for you in people around you.
What kind of attitude must they have?
What kind of outlook on life?
How do you like them to talk?
How do you want them to listen?
How honest can you be with them?
How much of yourself are you comfortable to reveal to this person?
How do you know that you can trust them?
How accessible does someone have to be to you?
Can their support be accessed over technology or must you be able to be with them in person?
What is the maximum distance from you at any given time that someone is allowed to be while still included on your list of supports?
What number of individuals feels comfortable for you to have in your support system?
How many is too many?
How many is too few?
Who comes to mind?
Who is in your life right now that meet your criteria?
How do you currently seek their support?
How do you currently use their support once it is received?
To whom would you like to reach out today, even just to say hi?
PRO TIP: Quality over quantity is true all the time, but do not feel weird if you write out a large number of people. If you have a large number of people who meet your unique criteria for quality, so be it.
ANOTHER PRO TIP: IT IS OKAY IF NOBODY SPECIFIC COMES TO MIND RIGHT NOW.
That is why it is the fourth category.
Here is the deal: if you are reading this in a state of insecurity or low self-esteem, answering any question I have posed above - even the very first one about someone you dislike - you are providing yourself valuable criteria that you can own and use to seek support you need instead of sinking deeper into the hole of questioning if there is any support out there for you at all.
But still, choose wisely.
My personal list would be short. Not because I do not like having people in my life. On the contrary, I have many people in my life whom I value, but rather I do not need many people in my life to feel supported because just a few people can meet all of my criteria.
Loud and Proud
Keep all of your answers in one spot so the list can act as a rubric for your support system. Here are some fun and easy ways to keep the rubric with you all the time:
Put it on a note card and bring it with you when you go to a party.
Save it in your phone to discretely review while on a date.
Bedazzle it on poster board and hang it up in your living room so people know what your rules are.
EVEN ONE MORE PRO TIP: Come up with a personalized title for your support system. Have fun with it.
Play with it. It is your life.