Insecurity Is Embedded Within Our Culture

And no one can escape its grasp.

Janice Ruan
Aug 11 · 3 min read

There is a condition going around. Before you start freaking out and warning everyone within a 50-mile radius, this isn’t all over the news like HIV was in the 1980s or how Ebola was in 2014. It goes much deeper and can affect anyone, regardless of background or net worth.

The more insecure we feel, the more we are inclined to display the best version of ourselves, even if far from reality. Photo credit:

This condition is called insecurity. That’s right. Something that is completely non-medical in nature is still circling around and largely goes unnoticed because of how prevalent it is. But the contradiction doesn’t stop there.

We are all insecure about something. How we look, our income, our family, our friends, our possessions, our jobs, our hobbies, our past life experiences or lack thereof, the list goes on and on.

I have fallen prey to this condition one too many times. Even though I am generally grateful for everything that I have, sometimes even I would get insecure about how I look or how I come off as to others.

I would look at other people’s social media posts or hear about their interesting stories, and then I would compare these to my own life.

Though not the worst, my ordinary life and experiences do not match up in any way to the highlights of their lives, and therefore I was constantly made to feel insecure by this invisible force.

This is the main reason why I decided to end my love affair with social media. I despised comparing myself to a standard when all of us are defined by different life experiences, different abilities, different preferences.

So why should we measure ourselves against an impossible and unrealistic “standard”? I just didn’t see the point.

Social media provides a prime example of not only how insecurity is practically ubiquitous, but also how it is perpetuated. The more insecure we feel, the more we naturally tend to exaggerate certain aspects of ourselves or our lives.

Take the Kardashian-Jenners, for example. Anyone who knows just the basics of this group knows that they have altered their appearance in different ways in order, in their eyes, to appear “beautiful”, for fear that they would be retaliated against had they just kept their natural looks.

One of the most influential people in this group is Kylie Jenner. She admitted to having lip injections because she was afraid that no one would want to kiss her if she left her lips the way they naturally were.

This has inadvertently sparked the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge in 2015, where teens suck on shot glasses in a dangerous attempt to make their lips plumper like hers.

Despite the obvious risk of serious and even permanent injury to whoever takes part in this challenge, it still didn’t stop the millions of young girls who look up to and want to emulate Kylie, even if Kylie herself got her lips done.

I could go on and on describing examples of how insecurity manifests itself among all of us, but I’m going to stop here. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best self out there.

But when it comes to the point where we’re doing it to conform to a standard, there’s something very wrong. And from this, it’s evident that not even celebrities, with seemingly lavish lives and not having to worry about basic needs like food or shelter, can escape the invisible societal pressure to be something that we’re essentially not.



Stories that celebrate the openness about the joys, victories, milestones, and pitfalls of life.

Janice Ruan

Written by

I write short essays on the nature of reality and my thoughts on it.



Stories that celebrate the openness about the joys, victories, milestones, and pitfalls of life.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade