Feeling insecure? Here are 10 Expert Tips for overcoming this feeling!
Every single one of us has insecurities, whether they are big or small. It’s a natural part of being human, but sometimes these insecurities feel like they’re so big that they hinder you from being truly happy. So are you supposed to just accept it and live your life always feeling like you’re not good enough? Of course not! There are plenty of remedies for when you’re feeling insecure, and you’re about to learn all about them!
As a coach specializing in love, relationships, and personal well-being, I often work with people that are struggling with insecurity. It’s usually something that they’ve been dealing with for years and they can’t seem to get a handle on it. Generally speaking, feeling insecure or inadequate is not a surface-level problem. It is often closely linked to a past experience. In this article, I am going to go over what it feels like to be insecure, where it comes from, and what you can do starting today to begin feeling less insecure!
There are a few things that or society makes us forget about, and I am here to remind you of these very specific tools that can help you to overcome this feeling once and for all. I will also give you an exercise that you can begin doing today. You don’t have to let insecurity dictate your life! You are always in control and you have so much that you bring to the table! I know you aren’t going to let insecurity hold you back anymore. How am I so sure? Well, you’ve already taken the initiative to come read this article!
Insecurity: What is it exactly?
Insecurity can be defined as a feeling of inadequacy. People can feel like they’re not attractive enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not charming enough, not interesting enough… the list can go on and on. The idea came to me when one of my coachees was telling me about one of his very good friends the other day. She works in film and television as a very talented makeup artist. She is beautiful, smart, funny, and a great friend… But my coachee was telling me that every other sentence that comes out of her mouth is a critique of herself. “I can’t go out to lunch today with my sister because I’m so fat. I look awful. I need to lose weight. This is ridiculous.” She is fit and goes to the gym regularly. “I don’t want to try to talk to him because he wouldn’t be interested anyway. He likes girls that are really cool and stylish.” “I hate my upper lip. It’s so thin, maybe I should get injections.” My coachee actually has feelings for her, and you should hear the way he talks about her. She sounds like an Italian bombshell, and yet she seems to be struggling with insecurities about her image.
To someone on the outside, it could seem like it makes no sense. How could someone like her be feeling insecure about her image? Well, this is, unfortunately, a very common phenomenon and I think it’s safe to say that every single person has struggled with insecurities about their image at least at one point in their life. I am certainly not immune to insecurity, and I know that so many people spend so much time worrying about how we are inadequate in one way or another. Unfortunately, our society does not make it easy for us to love ourselves. We are always being pushed to be better, be stronger, be more beautiful, be more successful… We aren’t taught to love ourselves, and I think that is such a shame.
Feelings of insecurity can be seen in the workplace as well. Many people come to me and say that they feel like they’re never going to be good enough, they’re afraid that they chose the wrong career, they feel like their colleagues are way better and this makes them feel like a fraud… A certain amount of competitiveness can be healthy, but it shouldn’t damage your self-esteem. It’s perfectly normal to feel insecure sometimes, but chronic insecurity can cause serious damage to your wellbeing. What’s more, it is often at the root of most issues that cause relationships to fall apart. Think about it, insecurity can cause jealousy, clinginess, accusation, and actions that damage trust like invading someone’s privacy (snooping on their phone, or patrolling their social media profiles…) So what exactly is the source of all of these insecurities? Contrary to what many people might think, it doesn’t directly stem from something that someone said to you recently.
More often than not, insecurity usually comes from a deeper-seated issue. Being insecure usually stems from earlier stages of life when someone you look up to made you feel like you weren’t good enough. It could be a parent, a friend, classmates, a teacher, you name it. At a young age, we are extremely impressionable and if someone you love made you feel inadequate or embarrassed about yourself, the wound can go deep and surge up later on in life when something triggers it. When you felt rejected at a young age, you begin to negatively compare yourself to others and it can give rise to irrational fears that you carry with you into your adult life. You worry that you’re not as lovable as other people, you worry that you aren’t good enough (in work, in a relationship, as a parent…etc).
These feelings can also stem from the trauma that you experienced in a past relationship. For example, if a partner cheated on you, made you feel unattractive, unimportant, or unwanted, or if you were abused. These things leave scars and people sometimes refer to this as emotional baggage. As we begin to dive into what to do when you are insecure, I want you to take the time to honestly reflect on the source of your insecurities. I know that it isn’t easy and it’s painful to think about, but it’s going to be the key to success.
How to not be insecure about myself
Every single person has an insecurity whether it’s big or small. Some people feel weird about their hair (“I cut my hair way too short and now I feel like I have a bowl cut! I can’t be seen in public!”), some people feel insecure about their weight, their shyness… And other people worry about whether or not they are going to be successful in the profession they’ve chosen. Though it’s about different things, all of these people share that insecure feeling. It would be unrealistic to say that we can get rid of insecurity 100% and never have to face it ever again… After all, we are all human and it’s a very natural part of the range of emotions we feel. What is your first reaction when you start to feel insecure?
For many of us, it’s fear that is closely followed by a feeling of frustration. So the next time you feel it begin to surge up, I want you to take a moment to give yourself permission. Remind yourself that it’s normal to feel like this. Why? Because being hard on yourself is going to be counterproductive. You’re just going to make yourself feel bad about feeling this way, and this isn’t going to get you anywhere. The key here is to begin introducing positivity little by little. Put things into perspective and remind yourself that everyone experiences this, and it will help you to feel less isolated. I remember one of my coachees telling me about her experience as an intern. In France, after University, most students typically go straight into internships in their fields at companies.
My coachee had just finished her studies at IFM (a fashion school) and was beginning her internship at one of the big French fashion houses in the digital team. It was a competitive environment and she realized very quickly that she was scared that she didn’t have what it takes. There was not much room for error and she began to develop a lot of anxiety when going in to work. She was scared that she was incompetent, that she didn’t have thick enough skin, and that she just wasn’t good enough. Every morning she would think, “Oh God here we go. I feel so insecure… How am I going to get through today?” It wasn’t until she made friends with another intern that things changed. She opened up about how she was feeling and found that the other intern had been feeling the exact same way. Her new friend had been pretty good at hiding it, so my coach had no idea that there were other people feeling the same way. With time she became more confident in the job, and she ended up telling me that the moment she realized she wasn’t alone, she felt so much more at ease. The job remained challenging, but she no longer felt isolated.
The next thing I want to mention is the importance of finding balance. Yes, you can accept that you are human and that insecurity is a natural feeling, but it should not hold you back from going out and accomplishing what you want. it shouldn’t paralyze you. Challenge yourself to get out there and do what you want to do anyway! Does it make you nervous to flirt with that guy you’ve had your eye on? It’s normal! Do it anyway. Are you worried that you’re not going to excel at your job? Well you can’t excel if you don’t try, right? I’ve always liked the saying, “With great risk comes great reward!” The more you challenge your fears, the fewer fears you will have.
There is also something to be said about the vulnerability that comes with the feeling of insecurity. A lot of people don’t like to feel vulnerable, which I completely understand, but it also happens to be one of the key ingredients for building bonds between you and another person (whether it’s platonic or romantic). Someone who is overly self-confident and shows no signs of humility or vulnerability will be hard to connect with. So cut yourself some slack and remind yourself that it’s OK to be vulnerable sometimes. Besides, opening up and allowing yourself to positively affect other peoples’ lives can actually make you feel better in your own as well. You know, feeling insecure can also be used as motivation. One of the best remedies in terms of dealing with insecurity is actually to use it as fuel. You might be feeling like you need to prove yourself TO yourself, so you can use this feeling in order to motivate you to accomplish the things you want to accomplish. So what if you’re wondering about getting over insecurity in relationships? Does my advice change? No! I’m just going to add on a few more pointers…
How to stop being so insecure in relationships
Many people realize that they are insecure in their romantic relationships when they notice thoughts like, “My partner isn’t in love with me,” “My partner is too good for me,” “Make sure you’re always in control of the situation so you don’t get hurt,” “Don’t be vulnerable,” or “It’s your fault if he/she is unhappy.” So what can you do when it comes to getting over insecurity in a relationship? First of all, we’re going to have to work on building your self-esteem. When you’re thinking, “I feel insecure,” it’s often closely related to self-esteem issues.
You aren’t feeling good about yourself on the inside so you’re looking for external validation. The person you usually turn to for this is your significant other. The problem is that this should not be their responsibility and it can lead to tensions in the relationship. Feeling good about yourself is a win-win. You are going to be feeling happier because you can prove to yourself that you are enough and that you matter and your partner will find your newfound confidence to be magnetic. There is a great exercise for this. Go ahead and take a pen and a sheet of paper. Write down your insecurities, and when you’re done, I want you to go back and write something next to each one that makes you feel good about yourself. For example, “I don’t like the shape of my nose.” ——— “People always tell me that I have a really beautiful smile.” “I’m scared that I don’t have what it takes to succeed at my job.”——— “I’ve accomplished X Y and Z and have already made it this far!”
One of my coachees told me something that I really liked. She kept something that she called a “Book of Positives.” Every time someone said something sweet to her or did something nice for her, she would write it in this tiny book she kept in her bag. Whenever she was feeling down or insecure, she would open it to a random page and always find something that made her smile. She told me that her favorite thing was opening it up and finding something that she had actually already forgotten about. I suggest trying both of these exercises out. The next step in overcoming insecurity is maintaining your independence, even if you’re in a committed relationship. I don’t mean that you need to start acting like you’re single! I mean that you need to make sure you still set aside time for your hobbies, your friends, your family, and the things that make YOU happy. Depending on your relationship to fulfill all your needs leads to an imbalance that can easily amplify insecurities.
Maintaining a healthy balance allows you to feel more confident about yourself, and your relationship benefits from it exponentially. I also want you to remind yourself that you are important. I often see my clients comparing themselves to their partners. They say, “My boyfriend is really organized it makes me feel insecure about not having everything in order,” or, “she’s so much more outgoing than I am and my shyness makes me feel so awkward.” The truth is that healthy relationships are often made of two people that complement one another.
This means that both partners help one another to become the best versions of themselves by offering examples of how to improve. It’s not about comparing yourself to your partner, it’s about looking at how they can teach you to reach your full potential. You might not realize it, but you are doing the same for them. You don’t need to be the same person! Now that you know how to deal with insecurity, I want you to practice compassion for yourself, and remember that it is up to you to implement long-term solutions.
Always remind yourself of what you are capable of, what you bring to the table, what makes you unique, and your favorite physical and mental attributes. Learn to recognize that critical Inner voice, think about where it came from, and remind yourself that it was not your fault. You can now use this information to help you become the best version of yourself. At first, it’s going to be scary to challenge these thoughts, especially when they’ve been with you for so long, each time you challenge them they will get weaker.
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when you are feeling insecure