It’s common to have days when you feel like you can’t do anything right. However, constantly feeling insecure about yourself can hurt every part of your life, from your physical health and mental well-being to how well you perform at work.
Being insecure can be especially dangerous in love relationships since it makes you more prone to feelings of anxiety and jealousy. And it isn’t just about you. According to research, your self-esteem has an impact on both your and your partner’s relationship pleasure.
The good news is that there are ways to help you stop being insecure. While it will not happen immediately, with the correct tactics and mindset, you may take steps toward improving your self-image.
Why am I so Insecure?
Our sentiments of insecurity are accompanied by an internal discourse. This is referred to as the “critical inner voice.” “The critical inner voice is born out of unpleasant early life events in which we watched or experienced harsh attitudes toward ourselves or those close to us,” writes Dr. Lisa Firestone, co-author of the book Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice. We unknowingly accept and integrate this pattern of negative ideas toward ourselves and others as we get older.”
So, what circumstances or attitudes shape this inner critic? Our encounters with our influential early caregivers may be at the basis of our adult insecurity. Consider a parent yelling at their child. “You’re so out of it!” “Can’t you find out anything on your own?” Consider the harsh words and attitudes that parents have toward themselves. “I look awful in this. “I’m so chubby.” These attitudes do not even need to be expressed verbally in order to have an impact on the youngster. In the absence of a parent, children may feel insecure and believe there is something fundamentally wrong with them. An overbearing parent can cause children to become introverted or self-reliant, making them feel insecure or distrustful of others. Excessive praise has even been demonstrated in studies to be detrimental to a child’s self-esteem.
The reason for this is that in order for children to feel comfortable, they must be seen for who they are. Many of our insecurity concerns can be traced back to our early attachment type. According to Dr. Daniel Siegel, author of Parenting from the Inside Out, the key to good attachment is feeling safe, seen, comforted, and secure. Whether children are scolded or complimented, they are most likely not feeling seen for who they truly are by their parents. They may develop feelings of insecurity and lose confidence in their own talents.
A good attitude for parents to keep is one of realistically viewing themselves and their children and treating them with acceptance and kindness. Allowing their children to find something that is special to them – something that lights them up and that they will strive hard to achieve – is the best way a parent can help their children. This activity must be appealing to the child’s interests as well as the parents’. “Don’t ask what the world needs,” author and civil rights pioneer Howard Thurman famously advised. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because the world requires those who have awakened.”
As the child pursues whatever hobby helps them “come alive,” the parent should support and acknowledge the effort required rather than focusing just on the outcome. It’s the difference between saying, “Wow, what a beautiful image.” and saying, “Wow, what a beautiful picture.” “You are the best artist I’ve ever seen,” he says, adding, “I adore how you used so many colors.” It’s fantastic that you put so much effort into this. “How did you get that idea?” This practice assists a child in developing a sense of self-worth.
Insecurity and Its Impact
It’s apparent that our critical inner voice is shaped by a variety of factors, ranging from negative attitudes directed at us to views our parents had against themselves. We internalize these ideas of view as we get older. We maintain these mindsets by believing in our insecurities as we go through life. The following are the most common critical inner voices that Drs. Robert and Lisa Firestone discovered people experiencing throughout the day:
- You’re a moron.
- You’re unappealing.
- You never seem to get anything right.
- You’re not like the rest of the people.
- You’ve failed.
- You’re chubby.
- You’re such a dummy.
- You’ll never have any pals.
- You will never be loved by anyone.
- You will never be able to give up drinking (smoking etc).
- You’ll never achieve anything.
- What’s the purpose of even attempting?
This voice, like a cruel coach, gets louder as we move closer to our goals. “You’re going to mess up at any moment.” Everyone will see how much of a failure you are. Simply give up before it’s too late.” We often react to these thoughts before we even realize they are there. We may become bashful at a party, withdraw from a relationship, project these attacks onto others, or lash out against a friend, partner, or our children. Consider how different your life would be if you didn’t hear any of these negative thoughts in your head. Consider what your life would be like if you were free of this prescribed insecurity.
Ways to Stop Being Insecure
#1. Affirm your own worth.
Take stock of what you’re doing well. Most likely, your self-perception does not take into account the hundreds of good micro-decisions we make daily.
Remembering how you assisted a neighbor with their groceries or your employer at a crucial meeting can help you focus on your contributions rather than your flaws.
#2. Priority should be given to your own requirements.
You are not valuing yourself if you are constantly attending to the needs of others while neglecting your own. Including extra self-care in your daily routine can help you combat negative thoughts and boost your self-esteem.
Here are some methods to express your affection for yourself:
- Get a massage or a facial to pamper your body.
- Do at least 30 minutes of your preferred workout every day.
- Engage in a social media detox.
- Give yourself a nourishing meal.
- Practice self-compassion; be kind to yourself.
- Even simple things like eating regularly and getting enough sleep can increase your self-esteem and help you to stop being insecure.
#3. Accept the awkwardness.
There will be times when you will fumble – it is a natural part of life. Accepting this fact, on the other hand, can help you feel more at ease in your own skin.
- Try to laugh it off the next time you feel ashamed or self-conscious.
- Find out why being awkward isn’t such a bad thing.
- Negative thoughts must be challenged.
It’s easy to be critical of oneself after stumbling or making a mistake. However, beating yourself up because you didn’t get that huge promotion or because you failed to make a critical phone call keeps you trapped in a vicious cycle of guilt and self-loathing.
#4. Practice fighting your negative ideas as they arise:
Forgive yourself, and recognize that these are isolated incidents that do not define you as a person.
Write down your negative ideas so you may take a step back and just observe them.
Consider what you’ve learned from the event and return your attention to the positive. How has this taught you to produce a better result in the future?
#5. Spend time with those who care about you.
There is nothing like being around loving, supportive people to boost your confidence and make you feel accepted for who you are thereby helping you to stop being insecure.
Plan more coffee dates and get-togethers with your closest friends and family. Seeing oneself through the eyes of others who love you will help you recognize your own distinct qualities and viewpoints.
#6. Step away from difficult situations.
Consider moments when you’ve felt particularly insecure. What were you doing? What were you up to?
Recognizing the people and situations that undermine your self-esteem might assist you in determining what to avoid. If you’re surrounded by so-called “friends” who constantly point out your weaknesses, it’s a clear sign that you need to find a better company.
#7. Consider the positives.
When you’ve achieved a significant win at work, celebrate it and hype yourself up. Being proud of what you do, even if it appears odd at first, can have a significant impact on your self-esteem.
Keep a reminder handy to enhance your confidence throughout the day by:
- saving compliments from others on your desktop or notes app
- When you’re feeling insecure, write down all of your accomplishments and revisit them when you’re feeling down.
- take a few minutes each day to write down three things you like about yourself
- Do things that make you happy.
Spend your free time doing things that offer you joy and happiness, whether it’s reading a book or making a delicious meal from scratch.
Consider learning a new skill or taking up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. Aside from making you joyful, learning a new skill serves as a reminder of your abilities and interests.
#8. Concentrate on small steps.
Overcoming insecurity and increasing self-esteem does not happen overnight. Try to be gentle with yourself throughout this time, and don’t become disappointed if things aren’t progressing as quickly as you’d want.
Even if you don’t feel secure right now, the modest baby steps you’re taking now will eventually blossom into larger steps that will keep you moving forward.
#9. Consult with a therapist.
Speaking with a trained therapist can assist you in exploring your worries and insecurities by determining where they originate. They can also assist you in developing new techniques for dealing with situations that sap your confidence hence they can stop you from feeling insecure.
#10. Go to the library.
Books explaining the nature of insecurity and how to deal with it can not only provide sound advice but also make you feel less alone in your struggles.
There are other books on how to stop being insecure, but these are good places to start.
#1. What to Say When You Talk to Your Self
Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D., teaches you how to stop nagging, harmful self-talk, and feeling insecure in favor of embracing a more optimistic attitude on life through his deep methodology.
#2. What’s Right with Me?
This book on celebrating your talents and talents will assist you in gaining a new perspective on your positive characteristics. Carlene DeRoo, Ph.D., also provides entertaining tasks to assist you in identifying what is going well in your life.
#3. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Kristen Neff, Ph.D., gives a road map for being patient with yourself if you’re challenging to acknowledge your value and worth. Her book contains exercises and action plans for dealing with a variety of emotional challenges.
#4. Healing Your Emotional Self
If you believe your self-esteem issues are rooted in childhood experiences, Beverly Engel’s book is a must-read. She documents the various types of psychological abuse that children face as they grow up and provides a powerful guide for overcoming low self-esteem.
By recognizing childhood defense mechanisms, you can learn from your past and create a more positive self-image.
Everyone experiences insecurity on some level, but if it goes uncontrolled, it may have a significant influence on your day-to-day life. Building self-esteem isn’t always easy, and it can take time, but the ultimate result is well worth the effort. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when you need to stop being insecure if you believe you could benefit from it.