Opinion: Embrace your insecurities, don’t hide them


Julie Gutierrez (in the middle) along with other women line up in front of a lake, located in the Lake Shore neighborhood, and show off their body after raking leaves. (Eric Huynh)

Feature Photo By: Eric Huynh – Julie Gutierrez (in the middle) along with other women line up in front of a lake, located in the Lake Shore neighborhood, and show off their body after raking leaves.

By: Eric Huynh, Review Staff

Have you ever heard a nagging voice in your head trying to pretend to help you by criticizing in any way possible? I sure have.

Sometimes we have the feeling that we aren’t “enough”– we may compare ourselves to others, an ideal we’ve created or expectations that we feel are set up for us because of these insecurities.

We all have some type of insecurity: body image, relationship stability, experiences of rejections/failures, personality and the list can go on and on. The thing is we shouldn’t be caught with them. Take some of my friends’ experiences:

Junior, Nathan Berhe: “When I was younger, I was in a small school. I was also a part of a large minority (Ethiopian) there. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but I tried very hard to be like my peers and I didn’t bring up things about my culture and things like that. I didn’t realize it was an insecurity until a while ago because one day, I freaked out when my grandma came to school to pick me up and she was wearing some very traditional clothes. It felt like two worlds, that I was trying to keep apart, were colliding, and I freaked out and begged to leave quickly. I think it made me tense at times and made me overthink things that I shouldn’t have. I was just a little kid, but dealing with that sort of stress is not too beneficial.”

Junior Julie Gutierrez: “I’ve always felt really insecure about my body till this day because I’ve just never felt comfortable with the way I look. I’ve gotten past it, but before, I used to find myself comparing my body and putting myself down in the process. The whole time, I only complained and felt bad about myself. I knew that if I wanted to change, it had to be for me and not just based off of the idea I placed in my head about wanting to look like other girls. So now it’s been easier to make the change that I’ve been so insecure about given that I’m doing something to better myself.”

A representative of each country holds up their flags during the diversity assembly earlier this year to show how proud they are to be from that country. (Alexis Drummond)

As for myself, I’ve hated my body image, culture, and personality: a weird Vietnamese boy with a small body. For a long time, I was so easy to pick on, I couldn’t express my sense of humor because of the negative connotation of being called “weird”; I couldn’t celebrate my culture because of the stereotypes Asians had; I couldn’t show off my body because of male body images people expect. As a result, I criticized and hid my true self.

It’s not a problem that we feel insecure and self-doubt because it is just how feelings work. The problem is how we deal with our insecurities: we tend to hide, lash out on people in real life or social media, and change ourselves just to fit into society’s expectations aka “perfectionism”- the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.

According to Mission.org, a 27-year study of perfectionism among Americans, Canadians, and UK was published; there are forms of perfectionism people tend to have: demanding of yourself, demanded by others, or demanding of others. Due to perfectionism, research has found that it is aggravating mental health problems, makes people hyper self-critical, and social pressures are more immobilizing.

There was one particular song, however, that spoke to me about embracing my insecurities rather than keeping them hidden named dear insecurity by Gnash.

The chorus went like this:

Dear insecurity

When you gonna take your hands off me?

​When you ever gonna let me be

​Proud of who I am?

Oh, insecurity

When you gonna take your hands off me?

When you ever gonna let me be

Just the way I am?

Dear insecurity

Renee Tracy and I show off our bodies and weirdness. (Emma Nyonkah)

Gnash and his song attacks all the negative emotions or feedback and perceives insecurities as something that we shouldn’t be embarrassed about because we all possess some form of imperfection. That’s when I realized that I should be proud of myself, despite all the hardships I’ve been through.

Embracing our insecurities can be a lot harder to do than we think; it certainly has been for me, but, we need to understand that there are more things than just the negative emotions you or others may have of you.

According to Medium, they explain why people are more successful when people choose self-compassion over self-criticism. Various studies have found that self-criticism is associated with less motivation and self-control. On the other hand, self-compassion provides many health benefits:

  • Lower levels of depression, anxiety, and rumination.
  • Greater ability to cope with negative emotions.
  • More positive emotions like happiness, wisdom, and connectedness.
  • Increased optimism.
  • Showing more personal initiative.

It’s something embarrassing to think about now, but I am happy to notice that I’ve grown past that insecurity. [Embracing my insecurity] has made my life a lot less stressful. I enjoy sharing my culture more, and it’s a pride point for me,” said Berhe.

By embracing my insecurities, it actually pushes me to become a better version of myself. It definitely helped to not degrade myself in order to achieve something, but rather find the desire, in a positive and healthier, way to improve myself,” said Gutierrez.

There are misconceptions to self-compassion: it makes you selfish, weak, vain, but the biggest misconception is it will weaken motivation. Research experiments have approved that those who are self-compassionate of their offenses are more likely to apologize and not to repeat their same mistakes. This proves that people who are self-compassionate are willing to try things, even if they mess up; they will just learn and try again.

Embracing your imperfections will be the first step towards learning and loving yourself.