Author Topic: Dealing with the causes of insecurity  (Read 1379 times)

Offline KarmaPolice

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Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« on: April 19, 2010, 06:51:12 pm »
I'm a person who has struggled with insecurity for most of my life. When I was a young kid, I was made fun of for being overweight. That, in itself, is not a big deal; it happens to a lot of people. But, up until that point, I hadn't realized what they were saying was true. I was overweight, but I didn't see it. And, it came as a huge shock to me. Instead of brushing off what they said, I took it to heart and began repeating it to myself. Except, it wasn't limited just to being overweight; it soon became that I was unattractive in general, that I was stupid, and that I was a loser. (I suppose I didn't realize how damaging telling oneself things like that can be.) Over the next several years, I gradually destroyed what was left of my self-esteem. When I was about 15, I decided I had had enough; if I couldn't be confident, I at least could fake it, and maybe through faking it, it would become genuine. But, of course, you can't fake confidence. I came off more as arrogant than anything else, and I think that may have caused issues of its own. Anyway, fast-forward four years to now. I'm happy to say that it has gotten a lot better, but when I'm alone or bored, it creeps back up on me. I'm genuinely tired of dealing with this, and I want to be free of it.

I've examined with logic every solution of which I could think. A friend once recommended that every morning, I look in the mirror, and remind myself of my good qualities. But I realized that the confidence that might bring is dependent entirely on the existence of those qualities. If they were to change, my confidence would disappear. So, that method only breeds attachment. I have thought of doing metta meditation, and through that way develop compassion and love for myself. That might help, but even the good feelings that produces are impermanent and won't deal with the problem. I've thought about dedicating myself more fully to others, to make my viewpoint less self-centered. Yet, while that might help as long as I'm around people, I know that when I eventually am by myself, the insecurity would arise once again. Lastly, I've thought about bringing mindfulness to it, but I already am painfully aware of its existence and its causes; the only thing I don't know is how to deal with it.

man, that took a while to type. ha. So, do you have any suggestions?
Breathing in, we are born
Breathing out, we die
Our life, lasting but the space between them
A mere moment, in an infinite history


Attachment is a choice. The choice to be free of attachment has existed from the moment we first made the choice to be attached. We just get so used to making choices based on attachment that we never realize that we're actually making choices at all.

Offline Caz

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 12:53:01 am »
Acceptance? so what if one was overweight in the blink of an eye everyone will loose the mask of attractive youth and have it replaced with the mask of forboding death.
When this insecurity occurs it is the self-grasping mind overacting, try some meditation upon emptiness to gentley kill it off.  :pray:
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Offline Webgoji

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 01:48:10 pm »
Caz is correct that your negative feelings toward yourself are caused by self-grasping and self-cherishing and that a realization of emptiness will cut eradicate those feelings.

However, there are also some things to consider.  The first is karma.  The body, personality, etc., that you have appeared in this life are the ripened effects of karma.  As such, they are not your fault.  As a matter of fact, living beings do not possess faults, only delusions.  Therefore, when you doubt yourself, especially because of appearance, remember that it is only an appearance to your mind due to karma.  As you purify your mind, this self-image will change.

YOU are not inadequate, YOU are not unattractive, YOU are not a loser.  Do not allow the delusions that reside in your mind to convince you to associate these faults with yourself.  You have all the same traits as Buddha himself, they just need to come out by purifying your mind through practicing the path.

Don't allow the delusions that reside in your mind to convince you otherwise.  Practice equanimity with yourself.  If you were inherently a loser or inherently unattractive, EVERYONE would see you that way and I know for a fact that isn't the case.  There are people who will see you as an object of desirous attachment, some will see you with aversion and most will see you indifferently.  All unbalanced minds that are merely seeing the projections of their own impure minds.  You are NO different than anyone else.  You want to live happily and without suffering just like every other living being.

(And for what it's worth, you aren't alone.  I'm an unattractive loser with a limited intellect.  I work as a receptionist, yep, a male receptionist.  My karmic obstructions stop me left and right from being able to accomplish the things I want to do, but that's okay.  I have had the good fortune to find Buddha's teachings and can work on getting it all straightened out.)
Creating a kinder, gentler world by flinging poo.

Offline KarmaPolice

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 02:13:29 pm »
Acceptance? so what if one was overweight in the blink of an eye everyone will loose the mask of attractive youth and have it replaced with the mask of forboding death.
When this insecurity occurs it is the self-grasping mind overacting, try some meditation upon emptiness to gentley kill it off.  :pray:
That's a good idea. I had thought of using emptiness in the past, but it was always something like "Well, it doesn't really matter anyway, because I'm empty," but I soon realized that approach breeds attachment to emptiness. But I don't think that is what you are saying.

Quote
Caz is correct . . .
Your post is the reason I started this topic. I see now that you are completely right.

Quote
If you were inherently a loser or inherently unattractive, EVERYONE would see you that way and I know for a fact that isn't the case.  There are people who will see you as an object of desirous attachment, some will see you with aversion and most will see you indifferently.  All unbalanced minds that are merely seeing the projections of their own impure minds.  You are NO different than anyone else.  You want to live happily and without suffering just like every other living being.
I never thought of that before. Without realizing, it, I have been interpreting everyone's actions through the lens of my own self-image, seeing only what I wanted to see. I suppose that's the issue with confirmation bias; it's incredibly difficult to realize that we're doing it.

Thank you so much. :)
Breathing in, we are born
Breathing out, we die
Our life, lasting but the space between them
A mere moment, in an infinite history


Attachment is a choice. The choice to be free of attachment has existed from the moment we first made the choice to be attached. We just get so used to making choices based on attachment that we never realize that we're actually making choices at all.

Offline TongueTied

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 06:27:15 pm »
You should take a few minutes to look at "attractive" people.  Play around with your conceptions of how people should look.  You might be amused by how grotesque and funny "attractive" people look when the standard of beautify is artificially manipulated.  You might then realize something about the nature of attractiveness, and you might even be grateful that you aren't one of those "beauties".

Another thing you can do is, as a meditation object, raise the question, "why should things be as they are?"  Play around with different ways of seeing things.  Let reality take its own shape.  Give it permission to do whatever it wants.  It can be quite an ecstatic experience.  The lesson to be learned is that judgments about this or that are limiting and cause suffering, and this is true regardless of which side of the fence one is on.  For example, "attractive" people can be be way more neurotic about their looks than other people, because so much of their identity and self-esteem is tied up in maintaining their opinion about their appearance.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2010, 06:42:59 pm »
 At one time, in my own culture, the standard of beauty was very different. A suntan meant you worked outside, in the fields, and were not a member of the aristocracy. Pale was in.

Being lean and fit meant you worked with your hands, you were not a member of the aristocracy, and could not afford to eat enough to put on a pound or two. Chubby was in.

Large boobs were out. They meant you were some kind of animistic throwback.

Imagine the distress of a modern beauty cast into such a world! Nothing would change - except they way she was treated. Suddenly she would find herself low status, ignored, and surrounded by unbelievably rude and unkind people. All because she did not fit the delusions of the day.

If you see the delusions as delusions, they won't bother you much. When people voice those delusions, it will sound very much like the mad rantings of a schizophrenic.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 08:01:00 pm »
Hey, Karma.

April 17th, 1984 at 17:00 I gave up cigarettes and alcohol and began eating my brains out.  Short story, Caz was right:  Acceptance is the answer to all problems.  Deal with life on life's terms.  To keep my binge foods out of my life, I have to keep them out of my home.  To continuously deal with my resultant health issues I see a nutritionist every six months when doing well, and every three months when not doing so well.  I keep a food log every day, count calories, carbohydrates, fat (total lipo-proteins), and cholesterol daily, check my blood sugar daily, and exercise daily.  I meditate every opportunity I get when a moment presents itself, and meditate with my sangha weekly.  I do yoga twice a week.  I volunteer teaching music.  And I talk to each and every one of my children weekly.  In addition I cook my wife a good breakfast every morning, a good dinner every evening, change the oil in the cars, tune them up, fix whatever needs fixing in the house, and whatever else gets broken.

In short:  I don't have time, nor the inclination to feel sorry for my delusional self.

When I get bored I come onto Freesangha and pick on Caz, or argue with Yeshe', because it keeps both of us out of the pool halls.

Hope this helps.

End of (short version) of the story.   :wink1:

P.S.  Keep fighting the good fight.  Meditate and Chop Wood!

I'm a person who has struggled with insecurity for most of my life. When I was a young kid, I was made fun of for being overweight. That, in itself, is not a big deal; it happens to a lot of people. But, up until that point, I hadn't realized what they were saying was true. I was overweight, but I didn't see it. And, it came as a huge shock to me. Instead of brushing off what they said, I took it to heart and began repeating it to myself. Except, it wasn't limited just to being overweight; it soon became that I was unattractive in general, that I was stupid, and that I was a loser. (I suppose I didn't realize how damaging telling oneself things like that can be.) Over the next several years, I gradually destroyed what was left of my self-esteem. When I was about 15, I decided I had had enough; if I couldn't be confident, I at least could fake it, and maybe through faking it, it would become genuine. But, of course, you can't fake confidence. I came off more as arrogant than anything else, and I think that may have caused issues of its own. Anyway, fast-forward four years to now. I'm happy to say that it has gotten a lot better, but when I'm alone or bored, it creeps back up on me. I'm genuinely tired of dealing with this, and I want to be free of it.

I've examined with logic every solution of which I could think. A friend once recommended that every morning, I look in the mirror, and remind myself of my good qualities. But I realized that the confidence that might bring is dependent entirely on the existence of those qualities. If they were to change, my confidence would disappear. So, that method only breeds attachment. I have thought of doing metta meditation, and through that way develop compassion and love for myself. That might help, but even the good feelings that produces are impermanent and won't deal with the problem. I've thought about dedicating myself more fully to others, to make my viewpoint less self-centered. Yet, while that might help as long as I'm around people, I know that when I eventually am by myself, the insecurity would arise once again. Lastly, I've thought about bringing mindfulness to it, but I already am painfully aware of its existence and its causes; the only thing I don't know is how to deal with it.

man, that took a while to type. ha. So, do you have any suggestions?
_/\_Ron

Offline Cal

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2010, 08:15:58 pm »
A friend once recommended that every morning, I look in the mirror, and remind myself of my good qualities. But I realized that the confidence that might bring is dependent entirely on the existence of those qualities. If they were to change, my confidence would disappear. So, that method only breeds attachment. I have thought of doing metta meditation, and through that way develop compassion and love for myself. That might help, but even the good feelings that produces are impermanent and won't deal with the problem. I've thought about dedicating myself more fully to others, to make my viewpoint less self-centered. Yet, while that might help as long as I'm around people, I know that when I eventually am by myself, the insecurity would arise once again. Lastly, I've thought about bringing mindfulness to it, but I already am painfully aware of its existence and its causes; the only thing I don't know is how to deal with it.
man, that took a while to type. ha. So, do you have any suggestions?
Karmapolice, I have to say, it is a very admirable thought to help others :) , please don't stop, in this day and age where everything is about the money making rat-race, we need more good people who think like you.

and about the whole suggestion thing, well :D let me see if I can help with your philosophical problem. don't worry so much about "attaching yourself" to things, look at your first post, you wrote it because you are attached to making your life better, so its a good thing, some attachments help. So you see, you don't have to fight your attachments, you just need to make them your friends.

Think about it this way, what is causing you to feel so insecure? your weight? then if your weight is causing you insecurity, make a plan to lose the weight. Doing so is not only good for your self-esteem but it is also healthy and I promise you will feel much better :) .  If thoughts arise that you are overweight,  show yourself compassion , imagine the desire to be a friend of yours and tell yourself that its okay, and tell your attachment that you will lose the weight (not outloud ofcourse, but internally in the mind), make the desire your friend, not your enemy.

If thoughts arise that "I am unattractive" , then tell yourself that you will make yourself attractive, and ask yourself how you can make yourself attractive, and act appropriately.

But be mindful as to not be pulled in one direction or the other excessively because both extremes are bad. In other words, excessive attachment to weight is unhealthy, and no attachment (or absolute disregard) to weight is unhealthy, and the same goes to attachment when it comes to attractiveness. So, we need to always try to aim for balance.

So, karmapolice, it is okay to feel insecure, it is part of being human, we all feel insecure from time to time,  I feel insecure at certain parts of the day when I am put in a spotlight. It happens, but the important thing to do is to not make it control your life, not make it big enough to ruin your peace of mind.

Be proud of your good qualities, but show compassion over yourself and don't be too proud. But you already know this, you already know that if you put yourself in front of a mirror and tell yourself all the good qualities you can be proud of, then those qualities one day might change and you might be sad to see them leave, so I am sure that if you use the technique that your friend told you, you will not fall into the trap of becoming too proud and suffering once you lose those qualities, because you are already wise enough to know that those qualities are impermanent beforehand.

Anyway, I hope that helps karmapolice, its good seeing you on freesangha though.  Be well.  :anjali:







« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 08:29:16 pm by Cal »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2010, 04:29:33 am »
So, do you have any suggestions?

I would recommend developing a sense of acceptance, and not taking yourself so seriously.  Practices like metta and tonglen are helpful, also it might be useful to reflect on the first Noble Truth, ie some suffering is inevitable for all of us in different ways.

Spiny


Offline humanitas

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2010, 01:27:48 pm »
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? [..] And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Marianne Williamson

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Offline Zoli

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2010, 06:21:28 am »
Thing is though... this is actually quite simple. Before we get to the deep compassion talks about letting your “light out” and accepting your inner beauty, femininity or flower power–ness, the basic thing is that the more things you win, the more confident you become. It is something called positive feedback, and this is what you need! This is something that you have to get for yourself, no one can give it to you, no matter how much they pat you on the head or how much they will flower power you.

You lack confidence and this takes away your initiative and makes you dread failure. There is no way around it, you have to try and try again, until you start succeeding. You fear defeat so you prefer not to try anything. What you should do is start not carrying about defeat or failure (what are you protecting after all if there is no self?). Just do your stuff the way you feel you need to do it, results will come eventually.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2010, 06:24:17 am by Zoli »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2010, 08:03:56 am »
Hi, Zoli.

This is going to be one of those rare moments where we disagree. My disagreement comes from two sources:

1.  Education and training in Skinnerian Behavior Modification techniques.
2.  Personal experience with different family member styles of child rearing.

I will begin with #2:

I had an aunt who used to praise me whenever I visited.  She told me how cute I was, how smart I was, how strong I was, how helpful I was, and on and on and on.  When I left her house after a weekend of such praise I was standing at least ten to twelve inches taller.

Then I'd get home to my familiar family surroundings with a neurotic mother and an absentee father and all I would hear was what I didn't do:  "When are you going to do this?  When are you going to do that? How many times do I have to tell you.....blah, blah, blah." ...and I would lose the height gained and a few more inches to boot.

In second year of college I learned about B. F. Skinners work with positive reinforcement and it suddenly became clear that as Mary Poppins used to say: "A teaspoon of sugar...." really works.  Then I went to work for a corporation who practiced positive reinforcement with bonuses, trips, incentives, and etc.  and I could see how positive reinforcement really works.

Its not about disingenuous bullshit, its about providing reinforcement which increases desired behavior and aversive stimulus, which reduces undesired behavior.

I am going to keep this short, but I could literally go on for days in this regard as there is much to learn from B. F. Skinner's studies along with the work of Maslow and Herzberg as applied in the industrial setting.



Thing is though... this is actually quite simple. Before we get to the deep compassion talks about letting your “light out” and accepting your inner beauty, femininity or flower power–ness, the basic thing is that the more things you win, the more confident you become. It is something called positive feedback, and this is what you need! This is something that you have to get for yourself, no one can give it to you, no matter how much they pat you on the head or how much they will flower power you.

You lack confidence and this takes away your initiative and makes you dread failure. There is no way around it, you have to try and try again, until you start succeeding. You fear defeat so you prefer not to try anything. What you should do is start not carrying about defeat or failure (what are you protecting after all if there is no self?). Just do your stuff the way you feel you need to do it, results will come eventually.

_/\_Ron

Offline Zoli

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2010, 01:26:04 am »

In second year of college I learned about B. F. Skinners work with positive reinforcement and it suddenly became clear that as Mary Poppins used to say: "A teaspoon of sugar...." really works.  Then I went to work for a corporation who practiced positive reinforcement with bonuses, trips, incentives, and etc.  and I could see how positive reinforcement really works.

Its not about disingenuous bullshit, its about providing reinforcement which increases desired behavior and aversive stimulus, which reduces undesired behavior.


Like a “Clockwork Orange” type of thing, yeah.  Quite intense film that is.


I don’t think it can be done to go directly from insecurity to contemplating emptiness and feel the joy of acceptance. My view of it is that you need to go though pride to get there. It is not a safe way of course, it is riddled with all kinds of perils, but it is the only workable way I know.

Pride is a poison, but to get rid of insecurity you need to drink lots of it. It’s like getting rid of intestinal worms, the poison will make you sick, but sure as hell, it will be worse for the worms than it will be for you.

And again, pride is something you need to generate yourself in the form of increasing confidence and risk taking as a result of positive feedback to your actions. The simple praise from others does not give the needed result; the resulting pride from that is not based on direct personal experience, but on the opinion of others. You need your pride to be backed up by measurable personal results.

Also increasing physical fitness helps a lot in developing pride. Apart from getting cocky because of your good looks, your physical strength will increase significantly and that will make you feel safe and secure. You get a feeling that you can smack around anyone who bothers you, try to refrain though… The endorphins are free, unrestricted morphine. They give you a high and no one can lock you up for it.

After pride kills your insecurity, then you can start working on giving it up. I believe that from pride you can go to emptiness, mindfulness and (as a later result of those) to compassion, no problem.

But going from insecurity to emptiness, acceptance and compassion directly, doesn’t work in my book.

Offline humanitas

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2010, 09:49:09 pm »
Dear Zoli,

:starwars:

that's all I've got to say.

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Offline Zoli

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Re: Dealing with the causes of insecurity
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2010, 01:01:53 am »
Dear Zoli,

:starwars:

that's all I've got to say.



Oh… I see you fighting my dearest apprentice. :cheesy:

"Good… I can feel your anger… it makes you stronger, keeps you focused!"

 


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