I Asked 23 Women About Their Biggest Insecurity

I recently read Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, and though I underlined numerous passages, there remains one in particular I continue to mull over. In it, one of the main characters, Malcolm, anguishes about his love life: “Oh, what was wrong with him? Sex; sexuality: these two were things we should have sorted out in college, the last place where such insecurity was not just tolerated but encouraged.”

How true, I thought to myself. When you’re a teenager, insecurities are a given, but they’re often shrouded in shame and inexperience. In college, though, you’re encouraged to explore your insecurities, get uncomfortable because of them, be curious about them. There’s freedom in that presumption.

That attitude changes when you officially enter the adult world. The expectation to get your act together becomes paramount; insecurities then become something to be solved rather than felt, probed and explored. Therein lies the catch-22, because the inability to solve an insecurity can become an insecurity in its own right.

The pressure to eradicate all traces of self-doubt in your adult life is counterproductive at best, destructive at worst. It implies that we become less vulnerable and therefore less human as we age. While the process of growing older has wiped some fog from the magnifying glass I use to examine my insecurities, I still have yet to set it down. Some become less sensitive with time, perhaps, but there are almost always a few fresh ones ready and waiting to take their place.

It helps to talk about them, which is why I’ve been trying to write more frankly about my bigs ones (body image, blushing, failed perfectionism). It also helps to hear other people talk about theirs. As Honesty Month on Man Repeller comes to a close, I asked a bunch of grown women to share their biggest as-of-yet-unsolved insecurities. The result is the below list. Read on, and while you do, feel free to crack open a window in your own musty attic of lingering doubts and air them out.

I am insecure about my professional performance. And what I mean is this: If you grow up putting a premium on the work you are able to do, and the words you are able to write, you, as a grown up, will feel that you are never quite able enough. That your writing — your work — isn’t clear enough, or meaningful enough, or beautiful enough, or just enough. And maybe that means that you as a professional aren’t, either. Or maybe you won’t or don’t feel that way, but, more often than I like to admit, I do.

Emily, 27

I guess I’m insecure about losing my “extra” weight.

Pam, 68

I’m insecure about the fact that I’ve never been in a real relationship longer than six months, especially because I want and am ready for a commitment. The tiny voice in my head says that I’m not the kind of girl guys want to date, or to call their girlfriend. And when friends say I’m a catch, I spiral even further, assuming they’re just placating me because they know I’m not going to find someone who will care enough about me to go at it for the long haul. I am not a particularly jealous person, but lately I am green with envy of people with partners. I am so terrified I’ll never find someone who wants to call me their “person.” Am I not as great as I think I am?

Rebecca, 22

Personal finances, but also being cool and stuff.

Olivia, 22

Asking for help. It’s a challenge for everyday circumstances, like asking my roommate to help move a bookshelf, and extreme ones, like getting food poisoning on an international flight. Work in progress.
 Patty, 29

I still don’t have my driver’s license!

Ellen, 25

I’m still decidedly insecure about failure. Turns out that getting older means more opportunities to fail: in small ways, like having a pitch rejected, and in larger ones, like getting fired. (You may notice — as I just did while writing this — that I’m most insecure about failing professionally.) Most of the time, doing things over and over again is called practice. (Sometimes it’s called insanity. Go figure.) And, like anything you practice, it gets easier: to try, to experiment, to take risks, to put yourself out there, and, perhaps most importantly, to pick yourself back up and try again. I kind of hope I never stop worrying about failing because it’s the things I’ve tried that have terrified me the most that have also made me the proudest. And as someone in the midst of launching her own company, I am currently out-of-my-mind petrified — and never been happier about it.

 Verena, 34

I still get insecure about my acne flare-ups, but it’s never important enough to not look people in the eye or wear my hair up.

Vanessa, 32

Most of my insecurities revolve around whether or not I’m creative/intelligent/all-around good enough to break into the fashion industry after three years of studying it. The worst part of that doubt is how it prevents me from creating, even though creating is what will allow me to prove those feelings wrong. Evil cycle, I know.

Wintag, 22

Totally insecure about how spacey I can be.

Sabrina, 22

My stomach. Although I often feel empowered as a woman, I am semi-embarrassed to admit that I STILL do what I call “the pinch to lose an inch” when I look in the mirror

Chandler, 20

The thing that most readily pops into my mind is that I went to a college that is not considered an intellectual powerhouse. I was not focused on it at the time, but later felt the inferiority of the choice living in the midst of elite New Yorkers.

Kathryn, 56

Cellulite. I’ve grown to love my body like aged wine; I accept my cellulite, and it will ALWAYS have a place in my heart. I just need the slightly uncomfortable feeling of it to leave my thoughts for good.

Esther, 26

I still worry about wearing my natural hair.

Erin, 25

I am still insecure about my skin, despite having gone on Accutane as a teenager. I haven’t had a bad breakout since my skin cleared up, but I have this recurring anxiety that every time I get one or two pimples, they will start coming back with a vengeance, and all the progress I’ve made in terms of growing into myself and being comfortable will go back to square one.

Gracie, 23

Eye contact.

Silvia, 27

I’m insecure about my nose, and all the societally damning body stuff — like do my arms look fat, is that a stretch mark on my ass? If it’s on my body, I’ve probably felt insecure about it at some point, but more broadly: Do guys find me attractive? Am I even, in fact, attractive? More recently, my biggest insecurities and points of mental obsession have transcended the physical and landed on this idea of: What do I bring to the table of life? Between the rise of the 25-year-old CEOs and living in a family of bonafide nerds, I’m insecure about what I have or have not accomplished thus far. I’m insecure about the depth of my own thoughts, my intelligence and my social consciousness. I also wish I didn’t spend so much time thinking about 1) myself and 2) The Kardashians/how to get KJ Apa to add me back on Twitter.

Caroline, 22

My intelligence. No matter how educated, how well-read, how worldly, how articulate, how capable — I still wish, more than anything about myself, that I was (were?)* smarter. *See?!

Ada, 59

I am so insecure about my skin and what’s on it — acne scarring, freckles and discoloration. Now that I’m not a teenager anymore, my skin woes are starting to include concerns about wrinkles and aging. It’s frustrating, and I’m over it.

Olivia, 22

I’ve always been insecure about my thighs.

Maude, 49

I’m insecure about staying average. I worry every day that I’m nothing special and won’t achieve my goals.

Julia, 22

It used to be my freckles…now it’s my fine lines. I guess my body is trying to remind me to embrace where I’m at!

Renee, 47

I have always felt and said to friends that when you are in your 40s you exhale and feel more at peace with yourself than ever before. I didn’t worry much about what people thought about me. The most important thing for me then, and now, was my husband and four children. I feel that so many things in life are artificial and fleeting, and I think as I get older, I am realizing more and more what counts in life. Of course I have flaws I’m self-conscious about, but you learn to live with what you have been handed in life and count your blessings. If I had to live my life over, I would start at age 40.

Ann, 75

After compiling these responses, I took note of the four most-cited “categories” of insecurity and polled Man Repeller’s twitter followers to accumulate a bit more data. Out of the 1,362 people who voted, 41% said career path was their biggest doubt magnet (my fun euphemism for insecurity). Body image came in second at 27%, while love life and intelligence/creativity followed at 18% and 14%, respectively.

What about you? Deposit your doubt magnet in the comments below.

Photo by Francois Le Diascorn/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

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  • mariahg

    Thank you, Harling, for this article! As a writer, the first story (Emily, 27) really spoke to me – is my writing “enough?” I am so grateful that I get to do what I love, to be creative, in my career. But, I share the same worries that my writing isn’t clear enough, meaningful enough and more. With writing comes the sometimes-painful editing process, and it can be really tough on the mind and spirit when you don’t even recognize the end product.

    But I think that women also struggle with the broader sense of being “enough”. When we’re trying to wear so many different hats how can we put an equal amount of effort into each facet of ourselves? And if we can’t, how do we prioritize them? How do we justify that choice to ourselves and/or others (though it’s nobody’s business but our own)?

    • Harling Ross

      i feel all of this v v v much

  • kitmcc

    I always feel insecure that my opinions lack credibility because i was never in the ‘business world’ (stay at home mom, lots of volunteer work). No matter how much I study and learn about a subject I always feel that same judgement whether it’s there or not. Ugh.

    • Charlie

      My mum feels exactly the same. She always reads up on everything and watches certain TV shows to avoid not sounding credible. When she is with me and my sister she talks about politics, social issues or anything really. But with other people she feels insecure, judged and she shuts down. It must be exhausting for her and it hurts to see this. I hope it helps when I say that her opinion never ever lacked credibility in my eyes. To me, those thinking that experience in the business world is needed in order to be credible (or will give credibility once you do) have a very limited view and, although this sounds harsh, in return, lack credibility. Volunteering in my opinion is one of the best ways to understand how things work in society (socially, politically or gaps left or created by other businesses or in politics) and it gives you more insight into people than statistics and customer segmentations can.

      • kitmcc

        Thank you so much for taking time to write this Charlie, have to admit you made me tear up. I so appreciate your words and will take them to heart.

  • Well, I sure don’t want to feel too secure in my job or intelectually, because this is how I do constant growth … always asking, always searching, seldom smug.
    But it is true many things may stop to be an issue after certain age. Like body image: I am what I am, full stop.

  • Amanda Faerber

    To Rebecca, insecure about finding her “person” … YES. This is/was me. I am soon to be 40 and have been with my “person” for about 5.5 years. Prior to this, I had never had one longer than 6 months and thought wtf as I watched all of my lady friends find partners to live with, marry and “begin” a life with. It was terrible and made me feel so insecure about everything.
    But, here’s the best thing about finding someone later: you know you and probably are less afraid to be you (agree with Ann about the liberation that naturally comes with getting older) and, IMO, there’s less of a chance of getting involved with some jerk. Believe me, it is not you. I would not trade my current relationship for anything, not even for a longer one when I was in my 20s. What the hell did I know then? Nothing.

    • Michelle

      Yes! Until I was 25 I hadn’t gone out with anyone for more than 3 months, then met and dated my now husband. Everyone’s person is out there and its not worth rushing the process.

      • Rebecca Sherouse

        I love these stories 🙂

    • Rebecca Sherouse

      Wow thank you so much Amanda! Also, so excited/nervous to be included in this post. I didn’t actually think Harling would use my response!
      It’s amazing to me, how time and time again, I can be so confident in who I am yet still hear that little voice that says, “well no one has chosen you yet…” Which is insane, because the notion that someone should ‘choose me’ is so counter to how I operate.
      Ultimately though, I have found it’s better to embrace this insecurity instead of pushing it away under a guise of independence. I now openly admit that I am self conscious of this, and so many other women have told me they feel the same way! When I kind of just wade into the insecurity, and allow it to be there, and know it’s just apart of the big long story that’s my life, I feel so much happier. Does that makes sense?
      Thank you for your reassurance. I’m so excited for life and what is to come!

      • Kiks

        I spent the better part of my twenties in two terrible long-term relationships with men who were awful. One was an immature serial cheater and the other was controlling and eventually became emotionally abusive, which I still haven’t fully recovered from.

        I was insecure, and being with someone made me feel “wanted” and attractive and all that stupid stuff. It never occurred to me that just because someone chose me didn’t mean I necessarily should have chosen *them*, if that makes sense?

        Anyway, you seem much smarter about this whole thing than I was at your age. Just wanted to offer a different perspective on the whole “being chosen” thing.

        I think you’re doing great, and being single in your 20s is honestly ideal. Most everyone I know who’s in an amazing relationship now, didn’t meet their partner until their late 20s or early 30s.

        • Rebecca Sherouse

          I’m so sorry to hear about your first two horrible relationships. I think those things are hard to shake, although it seems like you have!! My mom still struggles with her lame boyfriends from her 20’s, before she met my dad. Emotional abuse can do some irrevocable damage.

          Instead of thinking about finding my person forever, I’ve been open to finding a person for the place that i’m in right now. I’m changing so swiftly, I think I would love a partner for this chapter in life. Thinking that way has taken so much of the pressure off, as long as I remember to communicate that clearly.

          While I am open to dating, what you said about being single in your 20’s is so valuable! I feel personally and emotionally single, if that makes any sense at all. Like even if partners come and go, that I am growing on my own and I am not growing with someone. Not yet at least. I think everyone will take a different path, but I certainly know that I need to grow on my own for a lot longer before I begin to take those steps with someone else.

          • Kiks

            You are so wise for someone so young! 🙂

            Yeah, when I was 26 I broke up with the abusive dud and moved across the country like I had wanted to for years. I was alone, completely free, and it was amazing.
            When I did finally meet the love of my life I was 29 and had recently decided that I didn’t care if I never found someone, I was building a life for myself that I loved. Now we have been together for five years, married for two; he is the best person I know. Loyal, supportive, hilarious, brilliant, confident.
            Plus he doesn’t mind that I’ve filled our house with faux fur and fashion biographies and shoes 😉

      • silla

        I felt the exact same way at 22 Rebecca! But on my 24th birthday I found a good guy who I dated for 2.5 years and then started dating my now wonderful man at age 26. I’m now 27 and even if this relationship doesn’t work I just have zero doubts that I will find someone to be with (if that’s what I want). All my most interesting friends had long periods of singledom. You’ll be alright – more than alright, you’ll be wonderful! Because being single at 22 is a gift from the universe to focus on yourself – an opportunity you just don’t get as much in a relationship!

        • JJ

          This comment section has seriously brightened my day. It’s almost freeing to hear that I’m not the only one struggling with this kind of feelings. Thank you for the reassurance I’ve found in every single comment here.

        • Senka

          Yes, but one shouldn’t delay it. date people, give them opportunity, while you are still in age people find you interesting/desireable.
          I am talking as a 34 year old single woman who isn’t sure if she wants to date anyone, but is constantly offended by a fact that a random and average dude deemed her undateable. At 22 I simply didn’t care. I was insecure about things, definitely, but I felt like I had tons of time to work on my self. At this age I should be a final product, and that final product doesn’t work.

      • JJ

        Definitely makes sense. I’m feeling much happier after reading this comment section. Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Charlotte

        I could totally relate with your piece Rebecca!
        I’m ten years older than you and had a few longer relationships but haven’t found a right partner just yet, which can be hard emotionally but also when it comes to money, logistics or holidays for instance (ever tried planning a trip when all of your BFs are new mums or honeymooning ?)…
        And I also completely get your point about comments from friends about “being a catch”(I won’t even go into the classic “it’s going to happen when you least expect it!”). Recently I’ve also noticed getting annoyed at men looking at me in the streets, for some reasons it does not feel in any way “flattering” but more like a reminder of how hard hard it seems to be for someone to know & like me beyond looks.

        Buuuut it’s not all bad, I feel lucky to have self confidence and to know I am able to take care of myself and be independent. And ultimately, previous relationships that didn’t work (no matter how long they lasted) taught me a lot about boundaries and communication which I’m sure will come in handy when I meet my person 🙂

      • Sadye

        Your quote, and furthermore this comment, feels so so so unbearably true to experience. I really appreciated reading my personal thoughts and insecurities vocalized, to a T, by a stranger. We’re all in the same boat.

  • Ashleigh Canterbury

    I love these quotes, they’re beautiful, I’ve taken a screenshot of them.

  • Charlie

    “My intelligence. No matter how educated, how well-read, how worldly, how articulate, how capable — I still wish, more than anything about myself, that I was (were?)* smarter. *See?!”

    I relate to this so much Ada.

    • Daniel Szilagyi

      I’d question why? is it because you feel someone else is more so than you are? intelligence is perception as well, you’ll never be any more intelligent than you are meant to be at any given time so enjoy what you have and take solace and pride in that 🙂 yearn and push for more of course but don’t discount what you have already, otherwise you’ll spend all your time never truly being happy.

  • Emmmmieee

    My biggest insecurity: saddle bags. I have had them since I hit puberty. I honestly don’t know what walking around in a bikini confidently feels like. No matter how many squats, miles ran, wheels spun, or diets had – they remain. I’ve read it’s genetic and nearly impossible to get rid of and no truer words have been spoken. I have accepted it but still fantasize what life would be like to have perfect, perky cheeks. Deep down, however, I think I could still try harder.

    • Celina Durgin

      FWIW, I actually like “saddlebags.” I have very straight hips and always thought women with saddlebags look more curvy and feminine. Grass is always greener. 🙂

    • Court E. Thompson

      I’ve had them forever too and no matter how in shape I’ve gotten they never go away. You’re not alone!

    • rien de rien

      I have these too and it bothered me a lot when I was younger. My bigger problem was picking my body apart, rather than viewing it as a whole, with a bit of body dysmorphia thrown in the mix. It helped me a lot to realize that “saddlebags” are usually associated with hourglass figures, where the hip curve extends lower & longer on the thigh than, say, a pear shape. Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch, and Beyonce are all built this way, and widely considered to have stunning figures.
      Now that I’m older, I love my hips. I still really sympathize with the struggle it took to get there, though.

  • Aydan

    all the ladies talking about acne–this is me right now! I’m currently a bit stressed and have THREE pimples pop up, but after going through such traumatic experiences with acne, it scares me and makes me feel like it’ll happen again! I just remind myself, no one notices as much as I do and that definitely helps!

  • Lizzie

    Can it be Honesty Year on Man Repeller? I’ve really enjoyed this series of thoughtful articles and would love to see more!

    • Lizzie

      Not to say everything on here isn’t thoughtful! These articles examine more of the details of the human experience and share things so many of seem to be struggling with at a time when it is so paramount to support others.

    • Harling Ross

      honesty month has been one of my favorites too. rest assured the honesty will continue 2 flow even when it’s over 🙂 🙂

  • theysayshycity

    Can we ask dudes and compare?

    • Daniel Szilagyi

      As a dude myself i’d say it’s a little bit on the weight side, mostly looking in the mirror and being like…i should trim and lean my stomach, i have a tiny, wee bulge that bothers me some days.
      Other things are career and making sure that i’ll be stable, happy and successful

    • perfect idea!

    • Harling Ross

      funny you should say that……..

  • Mariana

    Since September I’ve been studying in Finland, and it has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I feel like all by insecurities have came to the surfaced. Meeting new people, from all over the world with so many different experiences from yours made me question many things about myself: How smart am I? What have I done in my 20 years of life? What do I want to do in the future? Am I enjoying my time here like I suppose to? Am I good enough for someone to ever like me? Too many question, very few answers…

  • Andrea

    Oddly reassuring to hear other women are super insecure about their skin too! I always feel like I’m the only one who struggles with acne and feels bad about herself because of it.

  • Adrianna

    I’m 28 years old, have a fancy college degree, and a decent job in NYC. But I feel very inarticulate when I speak. I don’t have a large vocabulary at the tip of my tongue. My grammar is abysmal. I search for words while I try to explain myself. I’m one of those people who frequently gets the, “where are you from? Your accent is weird” question. I read every day and listen to podcasts/NPR all day long, so you’d think I’d absorb some of that.

    I think my learning disability and the fact that I grew up speaking another language at home comes out in my speech. I’ve mainly chalked it up to the fact that I’m a visual thinker. It never occurred to me that some people don’t see images and think spatially, like I do.

    • Daniel Szilagyi

      I think that’s perfectly fine, there is plenty of intelligent and amazing people that i know who have a harder time with speaking their thoughts better.
      I actually used to be worse at it myself, but a combination of practice, becoming a teacher and just pushing myself into new areas really helped me grow and become comfortable.
      For some people it comes very naturally and others it’s a work in progress, you’ll get better with time and practice as well 🙂

    • Oh my god, I’m exactly like you! I very often feel at a loss for words, like I literally can’t think of a word that articulates my point well (I also feel this is because I have a lack of vocab) and it makes me seem like I’m less intelligent than I am, even to myself.

      I also get the “where are you from? Your accent is weird” question all the time since I am foreign x 3 (I’m currently in my third country of residence – England, after being born in Brazil but spending most of my life in Portugal) but speak very fluid english. My accent is a mix of British, American and now a bit of Northern Irish since that’s where my boyfriend’s from.

      A lot of times I find myself visually knowing what I want to say but not actually being able to accurately or fluidly translate that into words. I feel that might be a bit of the curse of growing up speaking a different language to the one spoken where you live, although I have met some really articulate foreign people. So I don’t know, maybe it’s just you and me sista.

      • Adrianna

        It sounds like it’s a combination of things. I’m happy to hear someone else has the same experience. It’s actually bothered me a lot less this past year or so. I have plenty of skills that I’m “naturally” good at that others cannot do at all, such as drawing and spatial reasoning

    • Daisy Tinker

      Uh! I have the exact same insecurity, and always thought it was really weird until I just saw your comment! I’m a junior editor and do a lot of writing as part of my job, so I always feel like I should be a very eloquent speaker too (as you say, I don’t doubt my intelligence; I read a lot and have a good job so I know the words are in me somewhere!) but I always stumble over articulating myself verbally. As a result, I say annoying things like “Do you know what I mean?” or “Like” a lot, as I try and find the right words.

      I’m a native English speaker, so I guess my experience in having to learn another language (go sister!) isn’t like yours. One thing I do think is that I like writing because it gives me the time to pick EXACTLY the right words in my own time, without being rushed.

      One thing I’ve found helpful, in a professional setting at least (which seems to be where this trait rears its head the most for me) is sending people an email before a big meeting etc, clearly laying out the points I want to discuss. That way, when we go into the meeting or whatever there’s less pressure on me to have to explain my thoughts off the cuff. Hope that might help you 🙂

      • Adrianna

        I constantly used “Do you know what I mean?” in college and early 20s. The e-mail suggestion is a good idea in general. I e-mail training materials with screenshots before I train someone at work. Luckily I’m a photo retoucher, which means my boss and colleagues are also visual learners.

        I’m happy to read comments from a couple of people who seem to experience the same thing I do. A lot of people misinterpret this as shyness or lack of “practice.”

        This extends to other parts in my life. I previously worked in publishing, and parsing out instructions from long e-mails in Outlook was a nightmare. (My boss didn’t believe in bullet points.) I worked in a bookstore in college, and I quickly realized I can’t make sense of someone spelling a word to me. It sounds like a random jumble of letters

        • Daisy Tinker

          Sound clichéd, but it’s made me feel so much better to know I’m not the only person who experiences this!

          I do remember learning in my English Language A Level that people who self-check and correct their speech (which can lead to long pauses, stumbling of words as they try to articulate themselves) are actually MORE intelligent, because they’re always self-checking what they say, and it’s hard for their mouth to keep up with the speed of their brain.

          I mean I have no scientific proof of this, and I just tried to Google it and found ZILCH, but sometimes the thought of that makes me feel better 🙂

  • Mara Culebro

    For me my biggest insecurity has to be that People think Im boring, and Im not anyones first choice to hang out with

    • silla

      That sucks – but no one that reads man repeller could be boring 🙂

  • hailey thompson


  • reebsley

    I am also “Rebecca, 22” — did I black out and submit a quote to Man Repeller?

  • Theresa

    I feel the comments about skin problems so deeply. I struggle with acne all over my body, plus eczema on my face, legs, and neck. And it hurts, it’s not just cosmetic. Many days I hardly want to look at people in fear that they will think negatively of me with all this gross skin! But I also remember that while my skin betrays me, I’m more than just some zits, scars, and flakey skin. I have always found that smiling and laughing and going outside and living with joy makes even the most painful flare-up unimportant. But everyday I have to actively choose to love myself even with this nasty skin, and some days that’s very hard.

  • Julia, 22 with hers “I’m insecure about staying average. I worry every day that I’m nothing special and won’t achieve my goals.” That rings so, so true for me. Being in a creative industry I’m (thankfully, awesomely) surrounded by Special. I love it, but it makes my role in it feel stale. It makes me wonder if I’m boring and nothing exceptional.

  • rien de rien

    My accent hangs over my head a lot. I grew up in an extremely rural part of the Deep South and I had a super thick accent when I moved into a city for college. So thick that even other Southerners occasionally laughed at it. So I had to learn to talk without it in order to be taken seriously. Now the accent is almost nonexistent on most words, but it’s still heavy and unavoidable on about 5% of my vocabulary.
    I like it when people have accents and interesting backstories, and I don’t lie about or hide where I came from. But the massive culture gap between where I grew up and the environment I work in feels ultra-magnified by that 5% of my spoken vocabulary and the reaction to it. Between that culture gap and working in an extremely male-dominated field where women have to be three times as qualified as men for half as many opportunities, even little things like an accent feel like they matter when fighting for credibility.

  • Josie

    My stomach. I have IBS and sometimes I feel it controls my life. Making appointments with friends, going out, travelling, even job choice (do I need to travel often? What is the commute like?) etc. I used to go out all the time. Now, everything feels like a bet. Will I feel okay? What if I suddenly don’t? Exhausting and friendships are suffering.

    • Kiks

      Oh I feel you. When I lived in Toronto I used to have a mental map of all the best out-of-the-way public washrooms downtown for when my guts suddenly exploded :/

  • S

    I try not to dwell on insecurity, there is so much in the media perpetuating insecurity among women, it doesn’t matter what you do with your life or what you are good at, according to someone you’ll be a complete failure! Skin, work, relationships, motherhood/no motherhood, welllness… there are so many articles about how women are doing it all wrong, pisses me off to no end. I find the more time I spend reading certain websites or absorbing certain media; the more likely I am to feel like shit about something.

  • mia |-/

    I worry that I’ll never live to be the go-getter woman all the women I look up to are. I’ve been trying to get there in increments; dying my hair a few days ago, writing poetry to submit places, signing up for a boxing class, hustling on my jobs, kissing my friend back (then he was like “i love you but let’s not do this again!” which is 🙂 cool 🙂 ).
    When I get down about being so scattered or not being in a relationship or not looking how I want, I think a lot about what Leandra said in one Monocycle episode, which was that “this is life too”. There’s no definitive finish line like, yes I achieved happiness! Or, yes I am my ideal self! Because there will always be things to stress over and strive to change, but there will also always be pictures of dogs dressed up for halloween or your favorite songs to dance to despite it all.

  • Serena

    Much needed… I found myself wanting to underline numerous passages too but instead I took lots of screenshots and shared with a link with friends who I know need to read it too. Thank you for the free therapy Harling!

    • Harling Ross

      it really does feel like that, doesn’t it? these comments too. i’m reading them again and again.

  • J

    Ooh, a few things. My tiny stature and high pitched “Minnie mouse” voice have always felt like a professional liability as my opinions and ideas sound more tenative than they really are.

  • Camila Francisca Campos Perez

    my weight …jesus my weight !!! I feel so fat (maybe I’m, maybe I’m just normal) doesn’t matter if I’m good or excellent at everything else…I just wanna be skinny. I know that idea it’s stupid and dangerous, but everytime I gain a little bit of weight or something is wrong, or I’m with a guy, the only thing that come to my mind is that I’m fat as hell.

  • Lil

    My biggest insecurity is that I can be so socially awkward and anxious. It takes miracles for me to get close to people. And when I do get close to people, I suck at keeping in touch because I can never believe that anyone likes me as much as I like them.

  • Carmen

    I’m insecure about my body. I’m a curvy woman. I work hard to maintain my size 8/10. I’m “pear shaped”, 5’4″, and have boobs, butt and thighs. I have cellulite that came when I hit puberty and has now lived comfortably on my thighs for twenty years with no plans to relocate. My boyfriend always tells me he loves my body, but it’s my female friends who trigger my insecurity with their non-stop body talk. I don’t enjoy analyzing my body or anyone else’s privately or in public. I think people are more than their body. It’s a daily struggle to remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with my body, when the entire world (and state of California) is seemingly telling me otherwise.

  • I say my insecuraties well represented in some of the ladies on the article. In terms of my body, I’m super insecure about my nose. I hate it! But then it’s also the changes in my body! I’m 27 years old and… I’m looking at myself and I’m not my 20 years old me (that I loved!). That makes me insecure because… I never know the changes that can come with more time! Then, in my life, I’m super insecure about my professional path. I’m not working at the moment, and… the more time that goes by, I feel that I would fulfilled my dreams! Well… even in this moment of my life, I wake up and feel insecure about that, every single day, with job or no job!

  • salient semantics

    I am also Rebecca and newly-22 and flooded with more insecurities that I think have plagued my personality with hesitations that leave me feeling more empty-minded and uncertain of my capabilities. 2 years ago, I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted, now I feel like the shriveled up, dry version of those quirks.

  • Leanne

    I just want boobs, man.

  • Samantha Serbus

    Wow – this is so great. I love seeing how similar we all are! We really do tend to worry about the same things and it puts me at ease; I think the worst part about insecurities is how alone we feel in them. If we recognize that we are in fact NOT alone, it makes the insecurity seem way less “attached” to us and more or less just a symptom of the world we live in? (also – my biggest insecurity…spider veins!!)

  • Merrynell

    I’m 32 and I’m insecure about my friendships. “Am I a good friend?” “Should I try harder” “Should I be more present in Friend A or B’s lives?”

  • Chloe

    My biggest insecurity is how young I look. I’m barely 5’2″ with a slender frame, curly brown hair, very pale, with light coloured eyes, and I talk with a lisp. People always think I’m 6-10 years younger than I am. I’m less concerned that people think I LOOK young than I am that people then TREAT me like I’m young. People constantly underestimate and undermine me. It’s really disheartening. I am constantly insecure about the fact that people don’t take me seriously and underestimate me before they even know me. This comes in my professional life as well as with family, dating, & friends.

    • doublecurl

      I totally relate to this and it is definitely getting to be less tough as I age, so at least there’s that! eventually this will work in your favor. I will say though that I’ve coped with piercings and red lipstick and tall shoes and found them all to be great strategies.

  • Senka

    I don’t even know where to start. On a good day I am ok with who I am. I don’t have a body of VS angel, but it’s a relatively healthy, good body, so it’s ok. I am not the smartest person in the world, and have before and will probably make fool of my self many times in the future, just like I will inevitably fail at things. But that’s life, and in many of those failures I can find a silver lining. Somedays I feel eloquent and funny, and some days I want to hide from the world, because I feel I have nothing to offer to it. Again It’s life. I have struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my life. Insecurity is inevitable.
    But my biggest fear, ever since I know about my self and world around me is not being accepted. I face it every day. I fear that what I wear is wrong. What I say is wrong, and often, I am wrong just by being me.
    I fear I will disappoint.
    And I do.

  • Sim

    My body…and, is my body the reason I’m single? I’m intelligent and I have a pretty face but I’m ten- fifteen pounds heavier than average. All my friends are thinner than me and married; I’m positive I will spend the rest of my life alone because of my hips and backside, and the fear consumes me almost all day every day.

  • doublecurl

    for everyone struggling with body insecurities (HI ME TOO) I just want to share what has been the most helpful, grounding advice I’ve ever received: every time you’re frustrated or sad about your body, consider whether you’d trade at random. no? I thought so.