Why the Insecurity

TwoCheatingHearts asked in the comments of my previous post why I feel insecure and why I need constant affirmation. I started writing a reply, but the more I wrote and thought, the more I realized this deserves its own post.

The answer is, I’m not sure. My best guess (and it’s not REALLY an answer) is that I know myself and I know my faults intimately. This is probably true of everyone, but not everyone has my insecurities and occasional self-loathing. So what’s different?

I don’t excuse things in myself that I would excuse or forgive in others. Oftentimes when I fail in some way, I don’t really forgive myself or accept forgiveness from others. I compartmentalize it just fine and can move on, but instead of jettisoning the guilt and shame, I just lock it away where it festers. I carry a lot of this around with me.

It’s a symptom of self-righteousness, not in the sense of feeling like I’m more spiritual or moral than others, but that I should be. I’ve been given great gifts physically, mentally, spiritually, and materially, and yet I’ve squandered them. I have enough advantages that I should be a super-star in every area of life, and yet I kind of skate by, never living up to more than a small fraction of my potential.

On some level, I want to be justified by who I am and what I do – I feel I should be better than I am. Because I don’t live up to that standard of perfection, I am wracked with guilt (at least when I can’t keep a lid on it). So is it any wonder that I don’t accept praise for the things that remind me more of my failures than of my successes?

The thing is, all of what I just wrote is bullshit. It’s true in that it’s what I think, but at the same time I know it’s wrong. Everyone is in the same boat. We all fail to live up to our potential. We all have the burden of our past failures. It’s arrogant on my part to think that somehow I’m different because I’m just so f’n special that I shouldn’t be less than perfect.

It also shows a lack of grace. I talk about grace all the time as something God offers to other people or something that we should all show to others. But if I don’t accept God’s grace to me, I’m missing out. I’m hard-hearted towards it. I don’t want to just let it go, casting it upon Christ. Like so many people, including Christians, I think I’m still trying to earn it somehow even though I know intellectually that I can’t. Even trying to earn what God gives freely is an affront to what Jesus did for me.

Underneath all of this awfulness is fear. That’s one of the things I got out of therapy that has really helped – fear almost always is beneath the stupid, hurtful things we do. In this case, my insecurity and my desire to earn God’s and my wife’s love and grace is the result of fear that I’m not really loved, that I’m not really lovable, and that what love exists is there only because I’m not fully known. This a lie, and I know it intellectually, but I still believe it in my heart of hearts.

So if that is the problem, what is the solution? I don’t mean, what is the church answer or the intellectual answer, I mean what do I need to be doing right now? I don’t quite know, but I’m going to start by praying. God is full of mercy and I know this isn’t what he wants for me. So I’m going to pray, and I’m going to read scripture, and I’m going to talk to my wife. My wife is the visible manifestation of God’s grace in my life. If she can forgive me for what I did for her by reflecting His grace, love, and forgiveness, then who am I to argue?

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About Anonyman

Recovering adulterer and husband of an awesome wife who has given me a second chance. Sinner and Christian, saved by grace alone. I cuss a lot
This entry was posted in Religion, Teh Crazy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Why the Insecurity

  1. I had an affair says:

    Do you/have you thought about going to counseling? For yourself, not your marriage…

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    • Anonyman says:

      I went to individual counseling for about 9 months. It helped some, but for whatever reason we never really clicked. I’ve thought about going back or finding a different therapist. I’m a different person now than I was when I stopped going to my therapist so even if I go back to the first guy, I think I’d get more out of it.

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      • I had an affair says:

        I’d still choose a different one. If there is a new you, you have new things to tell/explain and a new background. What about couple’s therapy?

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  2. Janelle says:

    In my own adventures with counseling, I have found that sometimes I just don’t click with someone on that important “chemistry” level that allowed me to let my hair down and really talk about whatever issue happened to be plaguing me. All too often, though, when I thought I was not clicking with the therapist, it was actually more that I was building expectations and walls to truly avoid facing my fears and what was truly troubling me. My point here – you might want to try the original guy, because you have history and would not be completely starting over. However, if you still feel like you’re not clicking and getting as much out of it, try someone else.

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    • Anonyman says:

      That’s kind of what I’m thinking – not that I will necessarily go back to the guy, but that I was a much bigger part of the problem than I realized. I definitely had unrealistic expectations, and let’s face it, if I was able to open up face-to-face with a therapist, this website probably wouldn’t have happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Let go says:

    I know you are not blind but John Milton, who wrote on what God expected him to do when he could not see, said…….he also serves who only stands and waits. What we are taught is to succeed, succeed, succeed. But what is success? It is being able to provide food, clothing, shelter and nurturing to ourselves and our love ones. Those are what we NEED. Everything else is what we WANT. Of all the talents God gives us the most important is to love and be loved. If you have that don’t squander it. The next time you feel useless hug your wife. If she hugs you back you have served God.

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  4. julesedison says:

    Welcome back, Isle, you were missed. Hello, Mrs. Isle, know that you are not alone in this mess. I found the blogosphere to really help me with my feelings of isolation, and I hope it does the same fir you. As far as the last two posts, don’t you think ego has a lot to do with it?

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