Nigerian social impact artist, Shala Akintunde once said “Insecurity is selfish and self-centered”. This is not his first controversial statement and art piece. I did not really know how to sit with this; it took me a while at first, because…HOW COULD IT NOT. So since it is obvious, why is the statement controversial and why did I initially resist it?
I went in deeper with this statement and started to question if it could be my desire to be heard that makes me selfish and self-centered. I was able to understand that as a collective we have a need to be seen and embraced for however we are.
We all have insecurities, being confronted about them does not make it any better. They cause us to focus on what we believe to be the worst parts of ourselves; as a result we become blind to the impact of the fears we hold.
Since we care so much about being considered it is hard to care about the impact we may have on others when our only focus is on ourselves. It is not wrong to value self-reflection but it is wrong to then place a blame on those who have nothing to do with the way you perceive yourself to be, hence the selfish aspect of the quote.
The insecurities we hold are usually not as real as we think they are. They are just rooted in disempowering beliefs we form as a result of trauma. Akintunde explains an example to better understand his meaning behind the quote.
“If I am scared of someone hurting me, that person inherently becomes something I have to survive. If that becomes the case, to fully consider them a separate person living their own experience and not just a potential villain in my world takes vulnerability and a level of consideration my insecurities cannot afford. You are forced to be passively self-centered and well, selfish. Fair?” Akintunde said.
If we break it down to the simplest of terms we can see it is hard for us all not to think selfishly and become preoccupied with ourselves. Our actions always have some sort of impact. Problems arise when we are unaware of impact or we are unwilling to be responsible for it.
Do not let your insecurities take hold of how you interact with others, you are too strong for that. You have the power to do both, consider the feelings of others and yourself. You control every aspect of your life, what you put out into the world is exactly what you will receive back.
Whether it is jealousy in a relationship, your acne, body shape, or your personality, they are all great things about yourself. Your thighs are the perfect width, the way you laugh can brighten every room. If you are lucky enough to be different why would you want to be like someone else.
You are who you say you are. You are the best and you will eventually know and believe it.