During a recent visit to a shopping centre, I was fascinated to see a Justin Bieber look-alike! His hair was perfectly brushed, baseball cap positioned, clothes as hip as they get... but his eyes betrayed him. He had all the right stuff, but I could see he was actually uncomfortable in his own skin! He was really looking for an identity and acceptance from others – through his appearance, rather than through the person he really is inside.
We humans care way too much about what others think of us! We’re always striving to look popular, appear busy, in control and on top of the world. It only takes 30 seconds on Facebook to see how we’re trying to prove our importance to the world. This powerful force at work in so many people, this need for recognition, is called insecurity. Everyone needs to be loved and accepted, but so many of us search in all the wrong places.
Where are you searching for love and acceptance? Where’s your identity found?
Are you comfortable in your own skin? Or are you always comparing your life with friends, people in magazines and celebrities on TV? Maybe you look to a boyfriend for your security? This is a major problem for a number of reasons.
Firstly, people aren’t perfect – far from it! So when you run to a guy to fill the emptiness in your life, you’re basically giving him the job of making you happy. He may succeed in doing this for a little while, but eventually he’ll stuff up and leave you more depressed than you were in the first place. It’s not fair to put such a huge expectation on someone.
Secondly, some guys can spot an insecure girl from a mile away and take advantage of her fragility. They will manipulate her to get their own way. It happens all the time, and if you’re being manipulated you need to get out of that relationship – and fast!
Junior Pro surfer Bethany Hamilton is someone who is secure in who she is. She was living the life many girls dream of, a successful short and long board surf competitor, but at the age of 13 she was attacked by a 4.3 metre tiger shark and lost her arm. Can you imagine the trauma Bethany would have experienced? One moment she was on top of the world; the next moment her arm was gone and all that was left was a stump.
It would have been so easy for Bethany to become angry and bitter after her loss, but instead it was her faith that helped her return to pro-surfing, and she now competes with just one arm! She’s also written a book, been on countless American talk shows, recently had a movie made about her called Soul Surfer, and is an inspiration to millions all over the world! She even supports other shark attack survivors – have a look at her sites, Friends of Bethany and Give Back.
How did a teenager like Bethany do it? If your world was turned upside down like Bethany’s was, how would you cope? This is what she says: “My strength came from my relationship with God and from the love and encouragement of my family and friends.” She knew not to run to the next boy she met, as she realised he’d only let her down. She was totally secure in what she believed and that’s what got her through the tough times. There’s something very special about a girl who is at ease with who she is – it’s a rare quality and very attractive to others.
You can have this same strength without the shark attack to inspire it! Instead of being worried about what others will think about you, start looking for ways to help others. When we shift the focus from ourselves to others, the selflessness of the act brings life in itself! Give it a try – you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes to your own sense of security