We all have a deep need to feel emotionally safe in our relationships. Our hearts long for confidence that we are accepted and valued by others, that our connections are stable and will endure. Feelings of inferiority, experiences of rejection, patterns of broken relationships can all serve to instill a deep sense of insecurity. Such a sense of insecurity can then become self-perpetuating. The insecurity I bring to relationships actually affects my experience in those relationships in ways that tend to reinforce the insecurity. In short, we find what we’re looking for. We get what we bring. We reap what we sow.
Many who struggle with insecurity move from one environment to another hoping to finally find their tribe, a safe place to know and be known, where their vulnerability can find honor instead of shame. But the very insecurity that drives them winds up producing a trail of disappointment leading to more shame, more pain, and more isolation. Insecurity doesn’t feel safe.
Insecurity manifests in two primary ways: 1) Defensiveness and 2) Manipulation. Defensiveness is the way I attempt to keep out those who might hurt me, setting me up to be offended when I discover that people don’t connect. Manipulation is the way I attempt to control people into connection. Defensiveness is aimed at preventing rejection but actually limits vulnerability. Manipulation is aimed at producing connection but actually limits honor. Since vulnerability and honor are fundamental to secure intimate connection, defensiveness and manipulation are sure to never produce it. Insecurity leads to disconnection.
Insecurity knows there’s a problem. If the problem lies within, there is shame. If the problem lies without, there is blame. Many insecure people live their lives on the roller coaster of the ups and downs of shame and blame rooted in their own insecurity.
Others seem to have found a meaningful community that I feel excluded from. Blame says that “they are clique-ish,” there must be something wrong with them. Shame says “I am unlovable,” there must be something wrong with me. To finally embrace the lie of shame would consign me to a lifetime of accepted loneliness, which is unacceptable, so blame often protects us from the underlying sense of shame. It rarely ever occurs to the insecure person that insecurity is a lens that creates a false perspective where blame and shame are the only possible explanations for their loneliness. Insecurity is fundamentally committed to not looking at the fundamental problem: insecurity.
What if security is something we were designed to bring to our relationships? Shame tells us there is no intrinsic worth. But what if shame is wrong? Blame tells us people aren’t safe. What if blame is wrong?
The questions that surround our need for intrinsic worth and belonging need to be answered. You will let someone or something answer them. My freedom and discipleship journey with Jesus has primarily been about learning to let God answer those questions for me rather than anything or anyone else. Let go of blame. Let go of shame. Bring your insecurity to the only one who can truly make you secure.