Do we matter?
Do we have a purpose?
Do we have worth?
When we step into a space with someone who exudes confidence, it makes us feel safe. It's a grounding energy that says that everything is okay. (Note that I think that this works with both real and projected confidence with the caveat that arrogance produces an opposite effect because a person whose attitude says they are only concerned about themselves feels unsafe.)
However, when we step into a space with someone who is insecure about themselves—full of their own fear of rejection—we step away. Their lack of confidence makes us feel less confident too. So for the insecure person it becomes a vicious cycle as they see the evidence of rejection all around them.
I believe the only way to break the cycle is internal—the daily discipline of quieting of our mind and sitting in the presence of the One who made us. That connection to our source can fill us with belonging in a way that no human connection can ever provide. Over time, it reveals the beautiful people we are at our core and reminds us of whom we were always meant to be.
To be sure, we can find confidence in outside sources of identity. We've all experienced evaluating our worth based on externals like success, family status, looks, wealth....but those things are transitory. Layoffs, divorce, empty nest, age, failure....all challenge our external identities.
One of my favorite books on this is Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. It details a life of trying to love herself based on external evidence of which there was never enough, and then of stumbling onto a non-traditional path to eventually find wholeness. (Note that Gabrielle defines a miracle as every time we turn from fear and choose love.)
We all matter. We all have purpose. We are each of great value. But those words will never heal the doubt that's inside of us. That can only be satisfied by connection with the One who made us.