The Illusion of Security

The Illusion of Security

Many of us struggle with a perceived lack of security in our lives. We don’t feel quite safe enough and so look towards another person, a different situation or an institution to provide us with security we crave.

We get caught up in cycles of looking for security by transferring our sense of security from one goal to another. We tell ourselves that we will feel more secure when we finish our education, have a partner, when we have stable employment, when we get married, when we have a house, when we are part of a community, when we get a pension … and so on.

But whenever we have achieved our latest goal, we realise that we still don’t feel as secure as we would like to and pick the next goal.

We don’t realise how we trap ourselves in a never-ending cycle of hunting for security in people, places and circumstances that simply cannot provide us with what we want from them.

Money, power and status are also often mistaken for the security we seek. We strive for goals that will increase our wealth, power and status in an attempt to feel more secure in the world.

But we get greedy for it because it’s never enough. We may even achieve our goals around money, status and power and yet, we never quite feel secure enough.

And this is because we are looking in all the wrong places …

Accepting Life’s Natural Realities

We do not find peace when we deny certain truths. We cannot pretend that life is different to how it is without being caught up in denial and delusion, which bring their own kind of suffering with them.

A reality we all have to accept is that our lives are naturally insecure. We can become ill and sick. Natural disasters can occur at any time.  Famine still poses a threat to many. Other people pose the biggest threat to our safety. We are, effectively, each other’s biggest predator.

Despite this reality, we also have to acknowledge that especially in the developed countries, we now live in relative safety. We have the privilege of benefiting from systems created to maximise our security and survival.  

And still, this does not mean that everything will go according to the plans we made up in our mind. It is this which now increases our perceived lack of security.

Deviations from Thought-Created Plans

We don’t feel secure when people don’t communicate or behave how we think they should behave. Insecurity strikes when our work or housing conditions don’t match the standards our mind projects outwards. We also feel insecure when our account balance does not show the numbers we wish it did.

Insecurity thrives when reality does not match our imagination.

It is only very rarely that we see how our sense of insecurity is deeply rooted within our perceptions.

Instead, we mistakenly believe that we have to manipulate, change and control the circumstances of our life. Things and circumstances that are outside our control.

It is this very act that increases our sense of insecurity and results in us feeling less secure.

The Insanity of Insecurity

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different outcome. What we are doing is simply not working and yet we try again by projecting our hope for security onto another person or circumstance.

When we are confused about where our sense of security comes from, we increase our sense of insecurity by obsessing about everything external that we mistakenly believe will provide us with security. As we cannot truly control anything external, our anxiety levels naturally increase when we try to control the uncontrollable.

In our fear of missing out on security or not having enough, we actually create what we fear: insecurity.

Our Sense of Security Comes from Within Us

There are many different ways in which we attempt to make ourselves feel more secure. It does not matter how many variations we come up with or how many times we try; it always fails. And it fails for one reason: we are looking in all the wrong places.

The security we seek and crave comes from the inside. It comes from within us. It is something that we are in charge of and responsible for.

Seeking it on the outside will increase our sense of lack of security. We will feel less secure because we do not tend to the only thing that does provide our sense of security: ourselves.

When we turn inwards instead of seeking the ‘right’ thing on the outside, we nurture and develop our inner resilience. This strength within then radiates a felt sense of security.

By focusing on developing our strength, we grow our resilience in multi-dimensional ways. Ways that provide us with a deep knowing that we will handle whatever life brings our way.

This is not based within threat and fear but rather understanding and trust in ourselves.

Tending to our resilience, our innate strength, and nurturing it spells the end to looking for security in places it can’t be found.

The Soothing Power of Resilience

It is vital to understand that our sense of security can only ever come from within ourselves. The security we seek, comes from knowing that we are able to cope with whatever life brings our way. It resides deep within us and provides our sense of security in life.

So whenever we perceive a lack of security, it is time to look inwards.

What are the ways in which I disempower myself? In which ways do I not take responsibility for looking after myself? What are the externals I attach my sense of security to? How do I try to control what is not mine to control? How am I reactive instead of proactive in my life? In which ways do I not attune, soothe and reassure myself?

Our sense of insecurity only ever highlights that it is time to tend to ourselves.

It signals that it is time to reconnect with our inner strength, our resilience. It is time to take back responsibility for our own wellbeing, our sense of safety in the world. Time to emerge from the misunderstanding that we need something from the outside to make us feel safe and secure.

Believing that something or someone on the outside can make us feel the way we want to feel is the origin and cause of our insecurity and fear.

Expressions of Resilience

Cars get stolen, houses get damaged, the ones we love gets sick … without a strong internal grounding, without resilience, we cannot bear the realities of life and so gaining what I see as expressions and outcomes of internal security will, in fact, result in feeling less and less secure because now we worry about losing them.

Instead of enjoying them, we come to fear losing them.

We don’t need these things to feel secure. We make these things happen because we do feel secure. Feeling settled within ourselves comes from fully believing in ourselves.

We are not plagued by insecurity, anxiety and craving. Instead of coming from a place of lack, we come from a place of fulfillment.

We have to realise that all the things we believe will bring us security are in fact the outcomes of living with internal security.

By trying to acquire all these circumstances so that we can feel secure, we are increasing stress, pressure, anxiety and expectations. We work against ourselves because we do not leave space to develop the natural resilience that is planted within each and every one of us.

There is a time and space for everything: let’s not try to run before we can walk.

We need to give ourselves time to learn how to lovingly nurture and nourish ourselves. Have experiences and grow from them. Develop from the inside out and let our lives will fall into place because now we have the skills we need for welcoming it all, for making space for it all, for looking after it all.

And in the end we realise that all we need to do is give ourselves the opportunity to grow the resilience, strength and security we already have within ourselves.


Marlena Tillhon

Marlena is a progressive psychotherapist and relationship coach and passionate about helping people connect with their innate wellbeing.

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