Don’t Let Your Insecurities Define You

Jo-Lee McKenzie and Madeline Shields

       Following the creation of social media, wounding and spiteful comments about individuals’ appearances have become relatively common online and in person. Studies by The Light Program, a mental health treatment center, have proven that insecurities and self-dislikes have led to depression, low-self esteem, weak academic performance, and anxiety which can contribute to eating disorders and substance abuse. There are many resources at Poly to help you with these issues. There are various faculty members who are there to listen and communicate in a helpful manner. This group includes Middle School Deans Alia Carponter-Walker, Peter Soto, Adam Bisceglia, and Amanda Rose, along with other trusted adults you are familiar with. 

“I talk to my friends or I just draw,” said Molly Speaker ’29, in response to the question of how she deals with her insecurities. Speaker’s strategy of spending time on creative outlets and communicating with her peers are coping methods. Sports, arts, reading, listening to music, cleaning, shopping, as well as other personal hobbies are ways to spend time on yourself, rather than focus on rude comments from others. It is important to not listen to mean, negative comments you may receive. We have to think about who is positive and negative in our lives, who will help us and who will continue to bring us down.

Try embracing your insecurities by making an effort to transition into a growth mindset, a mindset that helps you realize challenge and failure are letting your brain expand. Dive deeper into making a genuine connection with yourself. Always know that it is never too late to begin your journey to self-love. Many people try to hide their insecurities behind makeup, clothes, or masks because they find it difficult to open up and show their true selves. To help people overcome their insecurities, it is essential that we are positive community members, and always consider what others may be feeling, never putting someone down. We all can be a part of changing someone’s idea of themselves for the better. Check in with your peers from time to time and open up to hearing someone out, so they know they have someone to confide in. One reassuring comment can send someone home with a smile on their face. 

Friends and family can significantly impact your self-esteem in both negative and positive ways. Being around friends, though fun and enjoyable, can also turn in a bleak direction. One vulgar comment about your appearance, personality, or identity can hurt your self-esteem. Writer and Editor Jessica Estrada from states, “if you have a friend who’s always bringing you down, it might be time to distance yourself from them.” Having genuine conversations with your friends about your feelings can be healthy especially if they are bringing you down. 

Sixth grader Lucy Plosser says, “Sometimes my friends will make jokes that they might think are funny but they’re at the expense of my feelings and sometimes it does make me feel sad, but I know they’re not trying to actually be mean to me or hurt my feelings so I kind of just laugh it off because in the grand scheme of things its not that important.” Sharing your feelings can be challenging, and it’s often daunting becoming comfortable with sharing your emotions without fear of judgment, but the only real way to rise above those feelings of insecurity and self-doubt is to find someone that you really trust and feel secure around. It can definitely be intimidating trying to tell someone how they make you feel. 

This kind of conversation usually ends in conflict and frustration. Though it is hard to avoid, it’s definitely possible to deal with gracefully. When sitting someone down, you shouldn’t accuse them. Instead, you should try to tell them how you feel in a gentle way. Negative emotions can get the better of you, and preventing that is a must. Be calm and make sure they know that you love them, and you are just trying to improve the support system around you both.  Even if they try to begin a dispute, continue to be calm and collected. 

This is easier said than done of course, but even if it does end negatively, at least you communicated with them. When moving forward from harmful relationships you can often find yourself not knowing what to do. Making new friends is challenging, especially in big schools like Poly, and you always want to surround yourself with people who love, support, and uplift you so you feel good about yourself. Author Danny Iny from says, “hang out with people who inspire you to be better, either through their example, or because you want to be an inspiration and model to them.” 

The hard part is finding these types of people. You can usually get a sense of someone’s personality by hanging out with them multiple times. If they are the kind of person you want to be friends with, you can start hanging out with them more, talk to them during lunch, or invite them to sit next to you, among other things. But if they are the kind of person you know will bring you down, they aren’t worth your time. People worth your time should always be people that love you for who you are and do not expect you to change to be around them. Ideally, the majority of the Poly community would be respectful and supporting in this way, but of course we can always improve. 

Insecurities can heavily affect your everyday life. They can make school, after-school activities, and life as a whole incredibly difficult. Avoiding feeling bad about yourself takes time and determination. You have to be ambitious enough to see yourself from a different perspective. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror every day and see someone that you love. Sometimes you can feel discouraged, and all those insecure thoughts can run back into your head, but no matter how hard it is, it’s important to learn to love yourself.