Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
I am nearing my 30s and I suddenly realized that despite everything I have achieved, I am insecure.
One friend even went on to say that I am pathologically insecure. I couldn’t say no when he said it because it’s something I have been trying to cover up by smiling constantly and keeping a happy demeanor.
But nowadays, I can’t even bear to cover it up. Every time I look at myself, I always see all the flaws. I try to get excited over new clothes only to feel I am trying too hard. Every time I meet another person, I automatically feel they look at me like I am stupid and of a lower social status.
And the weird part is I know I should not be insecure. I have a job, I put three square meals of food on the table for myself. I graduated from a good school. I know that I may not be a VS model, but I’m pretty. I am nice to my friends and have rarely picked fights with anyone.
But for some reason, I look at myself with the need to tear myself down. I think about how all the other people have hinted at my unrefined manner, as compared to other girls. Not that I pick my nose or anything, but I attribute it as to how my dad raised me as a bit of a tomboy. I think about how people tell me I am single because I am picky and mean. And maybe I don’t have a right to be like that because I am at this point in my life that it’s a real pain for me to look at myself in the mirror.
How do I defeat all this insecurity and self-doubt? I know I sound like a teenager but that’s the thing. When you’re a teenager, this is somewhat normal. But as an adult who has done what has been expected of her, there’s got to be something wrong.
Look, I’m not a doctor or anything, I just read and watch and listen and do casual research that leads me to things that might be relevant to your problems. There was a point in my life that I’m hella insecure. I mean, I’m fat. Like, just looking at me and you’ll know that I’m not like the other girls. But then, I realized that I’m not just a fat person—I have pleasing qualities that might be of use to all of humanity. I focused less on what I looked on the outside and tried my best to really cultivate what I had inside.
Jean, right now you’re focusing all your energy in bringing yourself down. These constant bouts of insecurity’s turning into a really dysfunctional attitude. Nako. Revolving around that type of attitude trickles down to your lack of self-esteem, and then it’ll make you hella depressed. It’ll ruin your beauty and amplify your flaws.
I went down this road before, but are you familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? If not, Google it. It basically traces what us human beings need in order to be in a total state of human being-ness. We’re both nearing 30s, we’re both clamoring to get to the top of that psychological pyramid: Self-Actualization. It’s when you’ve reached personal growth and fulfillment that you can actualize on the top.
Carl Rogers described self-actualization as something that occurs when your self-image (how you see yourself) matches up with your ideal self (what you’d like to be). This total state of congruence rarely happens in human beings because we pretty much are effed up creatures. At certain points in our lives, we feel that pang of incongruence. Right now, you sound like you’re at a total state of incongruence, honey.
You zoom in on your flaws when you look at yourself in the mirror because there’s this critical voice in your head just banging your brains to act like a fool. You’ve achieved so much, but that doesn’t mean sh*t because you feel like you’re not enough.
Not blaming your dad here, but Rogers did believe that this all goes down to your way back from your childhood. You said that your dad raised you as a bit of a tomboy? Well, Rogers thinks that growing up with conditional love can somehow lead to your incongruent state. I know nothing about your childhood but maybe since your dad wanted you to be the son that he did not have then, you had to live up to his expectations. You felt loved because you acted like a tomboy because that was what he wanted. Rogers feels that children that grew up surrounded in unconditional love have the tendency to distort their memories of past experiences that can lead to your feelings of your unworthiness.
It’s not the end of the world just yet, Jean. There’s still a lot that you can do to get these pesky undesirable thoughts and traits out of you. I really think that you should think about the past. Don’t dwell in it, just get the feel of it. It’s not just how your parents raised you, it’s in how you’ve dealt with previous issues with abandonment, it’s in the way you reacted to a heartbreak, it’s in the way you compare yourself to others. Like, why is it that you feel so inadequate? Listen to what the critical voices inside your head are saying and scream back at them using the top of your lungs.
New experiences can also help to cultivate security within you. Doing what you haven’t done before and exploring the things out there without having to listen to your own crap feels liberating. You should get on it. Speaking of new experiences, get a boyfriend. I’m not saying that you need a man in order to make your life better, but having someone to talk to, and finding positive ways on how you relate to others will help to get you out of that hell hole.
It’s never easy to get rid of your demons, but it’s a lot harder when you decide to stay down with them. I believe in you, Jean.
Got a question for Poppy? From love and relationships to weird questions you dare not ask even your psychologist, Poppy is ready to answer them all. Send in your questions to [email protected] or post your question over Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AskPoppy, and you just might get the answer you are looking for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.