Most people feel insecure about something or other at some point in their lives even if they are otherwise accomplished individuals. To feel insecure can have gradual but catastrophic consequences in professional, personal and social domains. Insecurity is the manifestation of misplaced anxiety. Anxiety more often than not is about loss of a person, position, wealth, or health, for instance.
There is evidence that anxiety disorders are characterised by an exaggerated neuro-biological sensitivity, a cognitive bias, warp in information processing.
Repeated activation of anxiety-related neural circuitry like the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, autonomic nervous system (ANS), and inflammatory response promotes chronic inflammation through structural and functional changes in the brain.
Such neurobiological responses could lead to stress and chronic inflammation. This culminates in degenerative diseases of ageing with a much earlier onset and greater prevalence in anxious individuals. There have been many instances when as medical doctors we encounter young, otherwise healthy individuals suffering a heart attack or even paralytic stroke.
Insecurity is directly proportional to the degree of attachment. There is an anecdote about Osho being asked by a person about the fleet of Rolls Royce sedans he possessed. Why would a spiritual being like him need material luxuries?
Osho counter-questioned the person “You have an expensive sedan too. How would you feel if someone brushed against it and damaged it?” The person responded by saying that he would get very agitated and upset. Osho replied “Therein lies the difference. Even if I were to wake up tomorrow and find my entire fleet missing it would not matter one bit to me.” Indulgence is not the disease. Craving for it and fear of losing it is. The monk need not sell the Ferrari. He just needs to get rid of attachment to it.
Insecurity feeds and thrives on attachment. All spiritual advice talks of developing ‘dispassionate indulgence’. Spirituality is not some kind of depravity. Detachment is much more than self-denial; it is not merely a phenomenon of total non-indulgence or abstinence.
Hemoglobin was the naturally selected molecule to transport oxygen not because of its affinity for oxygen but more for its ability to release the oxygen at the appropriate place and time.
Fast-paced lives expect rewards like fame and fortune in quick time.Increasing competitive mindsets, an obsessive compulsive disorder to succeed, desire for position and hierarchy — in an increasingly corporate atmosphere — make the individual far more susceptible and insecure. Insecurity predisposes one to premature responses that are damaging. Such persons are labeled as being edgy or hyper.
Sharing space with such people is exasperating and unpleasant. Individuals who are perpetually cynical, skeptical and are ill at ease are difficult to live with. We are familiar with psychological indices like the emotional quotient and intelligence quotient. Likewise there is also a ‘security quotient’ that is unique to each individual. Secure individuals have a palpable undercurrent of contentment. Secure, contented mindsets could have a neurological setting that’s mediated by the various neurotransmitters. There is a specific satiety center located in the hypothalamus that determines each individual’s appetite and the quantum for its satiation.
The debate is eternal as to whether contentment is an obstacle to ambition and achievement. Being passionate about one’s work is a blessing but not if all attention is on the result to the exclusion of everything else. A sense of security is not a consequence of one’s possessions or achievements. The embers of insecurity are doused only by the waters of contentment. Contentment is a vital ingredient of the ‘feel good’ factor which is critical to both, physical, as well as mental wellbeing.