Do you always second-guess yourself no matter what you do in every situation? Do you often feel like you need to seek someone else’s approval to validate a decision you’ve made?
Are there times you feel like nothing even though you’ve accomplished a lot? Are you always putting yourself and your achievements down? Do you find yourself bogged down by feelings of inadequacy and not being enough? Is accepting a simple compliment a challenge for you?
It’s inevitable that we all feel some degree of insecurity at one time or the other in our lives. It’s part of being a human. However, at what point does it become too much? What causes constant insecurity? How to overcome insecurity?
What causes insecurity? How does it come about?
There are a variety of things that can lead to insecurity – some consciously but most subconscious. In some instances, by the time you realize this, it’s already deep-seated within you. The most common causes of insecurity include:
Listening to negative things about yourself constantly when you’re a child coming from the people that are supposed to guide your growth can lead to deep-seated insecurities as an adult.
For instance, imagine your mother yelling, “you will never amount to anything,” or “you’re really ugly,” or “you’re such a disappointment,” at you over and over again as a child. Something like this often provides roots for insecurity to breed and follow a person into adulthood.
Being in a relationship that’s sucking the life energy out of you without replacing it with anything good is bound to lead to insecurity if you remain in that relationship for an extended period of time.
The situation is worse if you view the relationship as a measure of your success in life. When the relationship goes away, it takes your feelings of security along with it. Another instance is thinking you’re not good enough for your partner and becoming very possessive because you’re afraid they will leave you.
There’s a saying by Samuel Beckett that goes, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Some people are so determined that they see failure as a learning opportunity on what not to do and how to do better the next time.
Some people, on the other hand, take failure to heart if it happens several times in a row. Eventually, the constant setbacks begin to erode self-esteem and lead to self-doubt and insecurity.
This could be school or some other group activity where you didn’t particularly fit in. Caring too much about what other people think of you, what you’re wearing, how you’re made up, where you live, etc. can lead to insecurity over time.
Feelings like this can be tied to a childhood situation where a person was excluded from a “clique”, bullied or grew up around parents that were critical of how you appeared to people outside the home.
Other life issues
Certain traumatic life events could lead to insecurity. Events like a nasty divorce or significant financial loss such as bankruptcy.
Whatever the reason for insecurity, if it isn’t addressed as soon as possible, it can hinder an individual from forming and fostering healthy emotional and professional relationships. It could also cause crippling feelings of anxiety later on in life.
How to overcome insecurity
• Acknowledge the situation and understand how your internalized thoughts are sabotaging your chances of living a fulfilled and happy life. Once you are aware of how your mind misleads you into feelings of insecurity, it’s easier to control and redirect your feelings.
• Look around you and assess what kind of people you have in your life. Are they the right people? Do they make you feel good? Remember you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Cease contact with anyone in your life who reinforces your feelings of insecurity.
• Whip out a flip chart and try to map out where in your life these feelings started coming up. Try to get to the origin of the feelings. Was it something in your childhood? A bad relationship? An overbearing boss at work?
• Make a plan to confront the origin of the thoughts. If it was a parent or friend, sit down and have a talk with them about how their behavior damaged you for instance. Of course, this isn’t always possible and sometimes in life, you simply cannot retrace your steps. In this case, write it down in a journal instead.
• On another flip chart, write down all the things you’ve succeeded at. Your accomplishments and where you’ve made a difference. The more you note down, the more your level of confidence soars. Put this flip chart in a place where you can see it every day, and remind yourself you’re an awesome and amazing person. Every time you achieve something, add it to the list.
• Remember that failure is part of life. Everybody fails at one time or the other; even the most successful person on earth has failed before. Abraham Lincoln, J.K Rowling, Mary Kay Ash & Michael Jordan are just a few of the people that endured a lot of failure before succeeding. Understand that you are not alone and life hasn’t singled you out for suffering.
• Create an affirmation wall in your bedroom. Write powerful messages about whom you are and how you want to think about yourself on little posts it and stick it on your wall. Read them every day. Think about them as you fall asleep. Every time you feel a negative thought coming up, focus and replace it with the thought of something else from your affirmation wall.
• You cannot change everything about yourself and that’s ok. For example, if you hate the shape of your head, there’s nothing you can do about it. Accept it as part of what makes you unique. Everyone has something about themselves they don’t like. It doesn’t make them a bad or inadequate person any more than it makes you a bad or inadequate person.
• Practice the law of attraction. By training your mind to focus on positive situations, experiences and people, you will attract positive experiences and people into your life. Whatever you focus on will manifest in your life.
• Consider seeking therapy. Talking to a licensed professional can help you work through your issues and empower you to become a much stronger person.
Working through and trying to overcome insecurity isn’t going to be easy. This is something that has been with you all your life and you will feel anxious having to give it up and leave that zone. Be aware of this and make a conscious decision to rise up to the situation and reject it every time you feel like insecurity is coming on.
Remember you’re an individual and there is no one else like you in this world. Stop comparing yourself to anyone. You are unique, which makes you special. Don’t take that away from yourself by trying to be someone else.