Over the past couple of years, I’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters to me. What are the things that I absolutely must have in my life? What drives me? Some of them are obvious: love, belonging, physical necessities, a certain level of comfort. Others I talk about fairly often on here: compassion, fulfillment, faith. But there’s one that I haven’t addressed overtly, and I feel like now is the right time.
For me, one of the most important elements of a healthy life is a sense of security. I went years without recognizing the value of this attribute because I had no idea what life was like without it. (The fish/water analogy comes to mind.) But once I experienced what it’s like to live without feeling secure, I realized just how much I need it. I realized how badly we all need it.
Security is what allows us to thrive. Really, it’s a prerequisite for us being ourselves. You know how you can’t fully express yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable? Imagine that, but in every moment of your life. That’s what living without security feels like. When we don’t feel secure, we can’t be ourselves; when we can’t be ourselves, we can’t grow into the people we’re meant to be. Insecurity stunts us.
Some of you already know what I’m talking about. Like me, you’ve been there. Others have been fortunate enough to avoid this particular trial thus far. But I imagine that each of us will face deep feelings of insecurity at some point in our lives, and so I think it’s valuable to consider briefly what exactly security it is. Because if you aren’t searching for it right now, you might be one day. You might as well know what to look for.
We each of have a different understanding of what security means. Here are a few concepts of security that I’ve either bought into myself or heard from others:
- physical safety
- knowing and being confident in oneself
- a social safety net
- predictability in one’s routine
- a financial nest egg
- the absence of risk in one’s life
The truth is that security means different things to different people, and one’s definition of feeling secure might change over the span of their life. I’m not here to tell anyone what their definition of security should be. But I have thought a lot about what it means to me, and I think it’s worth sharing.
When it comes to feeling secure, I used to value predictability above everything else. I craved routine. Every morning when I woke up, I knew exactly what my day would look like: where I’d be at any given time, what I would eat, when and how I would relax. I had it nailed down. And for a time, that gave me a really strong sense of security. I never had to wonder about much because everything had already been decided ahead of time.
But of course, something like that can’t last forever. I’m still a big fan of routines, but I know that real life isn’t always so straightforward. Once I got out of school and started working full-time, my schedule got a little more chaotic and a lot less easy to predict. As a result of that and some other changes that came about at the time, my sense of security was shattered, and it took me a while to find it again.
But over time, I’ve gotten there. Now, I’m learning to be more secure in myself and my own mindset rather than relying so much on external forces for security. I know who I am and what I’m capable of, and I remind myself of my past accomplishments when I consider pushing myself to the next level. I’m also not afraid to thrive in my comfort zone a bit, improving myself and gaining more confidence when I need it. Plus, I just like myself. I’m proud of the person I’ve become and am becoming. A good deal of my security comes from inside of me now.
And the other major portion comes from those I surround myself with. One of my biggest sources of insecurity is my fear of being alone, not temporarily but in a more general sense. But the older I get, the more I learn that the important people will always be there. No matter what I do or what circumstances life throws my way, I know that those I care about most are behind me. I’ve found a life partner who’s committed to standing beside me, supporting me, and loving me through thick and thin, and I find security in knowing that. I’m loved; I have support. That’s more than enough for me.
I’ve found that security is ultimately about putting my focus on the right things. It’s not about circumstances, because those change all the time. They can drastically change in an instant. But when I trust in myself and in the connections I’ve made with those who matter the most to me, I can rest easy knowing that no circumstance could ever change that. When I look away from the unpredictability of life and instead focus on the stability of the love I receive both from myself and from others, I feel safe.
I’ve found the things that make me feel secure, and they’ve helped me thrive and grow in ways I never thought possible. I’m in a good place now because I’ve found my sense of security in the midst of the insecurity of life. It is my hope that each of you do the same.
Thanks for reading this week’s blog post! Now, I’d like to hear from you: What does security mean to you? Where are you at on the journey to feeling secure? Let me know in the comments or on social media. Until next time!