The inspiration for this post was ignited quite some time ago. However, tiny sparks have been catching and holding my attention lately and I have been unsuccessful in brushing them aside. A movement, a conversation, an uneasy look – that’s all it took to provoke this writing session. Something that may be deemed small to others has become the nucleus of my thoughts these days.
We hear so often of people whose personalities are overshadowed by their brash egos and their audacious arrogance. We find them intolerable. Out of sight does not always mean out of mind for these painstakingly infectious louts. My knowledge of physics is not the most in-depth, but is there not some law along the lines of “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”? Don’t quote me on that, it is based on unreliable Transition Year recollection. But couldn’t that law also be said about us humans? If there are people who are simply submerged in this impudence surely there are those who are equally as submerged in insecurity and self-consciousness. So when are these individuals ever the topic of discussion?
Unfortunately, many of us experience these feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth due to our own personal ordeals which we may not be comfortable discussing or sharing with others. I’m not suggesting all case of low self-esteem arise from a past experience; many people feel this way for a number of reasons, some of which may not be possible to explain. One thing I’m positive of is that each of us, no matter who we are, has been in situations where we have felt doubtful and unsure of ourselves. Not even Cristiano Ronaldo is perfect all the time. Most of the time, but not all of the time.
The effects that those personal insecurities have on us can be devastating and extremely degrading. The worst part, though, may be that the majority of people closest to you may not even be aware of your fragile state. Sadly, people with low self-regard are both vulnerable and isolated in the most drastic of ways. For example, they may feel reluctant to engage in conversation if there is even one dominant voice to be heard. Similarly, they may find it difficult or even impossible to express themselves in the manner in which they had hoped to if they feel they may not be accepted for who they are.
Confidence is vital, especially during teenage years. However, real confidence is a rarity for most. By ‘real’ I mean the kind of confidence where a person’s opinion would be easily disregarded, even if it was that of Mr Simon Cowell.
My own encounters with these feelings were never too severe, though my memory may possibly be jaded. Yes I have been in situations where I was lacking in confidence. Yes I have felt isolated beyond what I imagined possible. But these brief encounters have been, as the adjective suggested, brief. By that I mean none have ever lasted longer than two years, give or take a few months. This may seem like a long time, but it is nothing compared to those who have battled those demons for the entirety of their lives.
It is a never-ending struggle between what one knows and what one believes. A person knows their own strengths. They know their talents. They know better than anyone the potential they have to be successful in life, whatever that may incorporate. And therein lies the problem. Society has us all brainwashed into believing that only a certain type of person can be successful in life. Those that play the piano and aspire to be surgeons, they are the people that will succeed in life. What utter bullshit.
Now that may be easy for me to say, but what about those whose confidence may not be as disposable as mine. They have no reason to believe any form of praise or commendation they receive because in their eyes, they are never worthy of it. Is it really okay for these people to live their lives in the shadow of who they could have been? Of course it’s not. But is there even a way of combatting this issue? I believe so. I may not have the answers but at least I am aware that there is a problem and that there should be help available for those that need it.
Can I just put it out there, a meeting twice a year with the guidance counsellor in school is by no means sufficient personal support within an institution. Firstly, no-one wants to pour their heart out to someone one day and then have to discuss career options with that same person the next. That’s not right and students shouldn’t be expected to do that. In my opinion, it should be made compulsory for schools to employ a personal counsellor in addition to having a guidance counsellor. Young people, especially in today’s society, need that option available to them at all times. I was blessed in that the one year that I needed professional help my school had a full-time counsellor. That should not be a blessing, it should be a standard.
This post has taken over a month to put together. Not because of its contents or how deeply I thought about what to say, no. Simply because I found it so hard to write about something I hadn’t fully experienced myself. This is mostly based on my observations of the people around me. This was for the people whose voices are permanently on mute. So if you haven’t been affected by this and have read it with ease, be grateful. Others aren’t that lucky.