When everyone has the ability to let you know their opinion at the click of a button, it’s easy to feel insecure. Unfortunately, insecurity pre-dates the internet, so we can’t put all the blame on the Twitter trolls!
Everyone feels insecure from time to time, but when it starts to impact your life and the decisions you make, it’s time for an intervention.
In this article, we will give an overview of the causes of insecurity as well as some helpful tips to start regaining your confidence so you can take back control in your life!
What causes insecurity?
There’s no one fixed cause of insecurity. Anything in our lives could trigger this response. However, there are some repeat culprits that give rise to insecurity.
When it comes to negative self-beliefs, you can’t underestimate the impact your childhood experiences had on them.
We are born as blank slates, and our early years provide the foundations of how we see the world and what we know. That doesn’t mean it can’t change over time, but it certainly causes an impact.
So if those around you (parents, family, friends, teachers, etc.) say things to you to elicit self-doubt and insecurity, chances are that will become a core belief later on in life.
You know that voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough? The one that we, for some reason, believe is telling the truth?
Yeah, we trip ourselves up by thinking less of ourselves, and it fuels a lot of our deepest insecurities.
Luckily, there are ways to put that voice right, but we’ll get to that later!
Most people are supportive, but there are always a few outliers that use their words to cut you down. They’ll zone in on your insecurities and reaffirm them to make you feel like rubbish.
And if someone reaffirms your fears, you’re more likely to believe them than the people who care and support you.
Social media is a good idea in principle. But it has also given birth to content creators that make people feel bad about themselves (even if not on purpose).
It’s easy to forget that people post their “best self” and often revert to filters to enhance their look and lifestyle. And if you already feel bad about yourself when you look at one of these posts, you’re likely to believe them, compare yourself, and feel insecure about your own life.
We touched on comparison on social media, but that’s not the only place we compare ourselves to others. For example, we tend to compare how well our work is going with our colleagues, how good our grades are with our fellow students, and how our bodies look with random people we pass on the street.
When we see ourselves with a negative lens and others with a positive lens, it directly fuels our insecurities.
Anxiety can be highly debilitating and without any warning. It allows the negative thoughts to filter through, leaving the positive ones forgotten in the abyss.
Anxiety wants you to worry, and the moment it sniffs an ounce of insecurity, it pounces, ready to make it 100 times worse!
The consequences of insecurity
As we mentioned at the start of this article, everyone gets insecure sometimes. And in isolation, it doesn’t cause any issues. But what about when insecurity starts impacting your life?
At its worst, it can be paralysing and life-halting.
When you feel insecure, you think there is something (or multiple things) about you that makes you “less than.” Whether that be your intelligence, looks, fitness, financial situation etc., and you think that people will see you, notice it immediately and judge you negatively for it.
And no human enjoys rejection. It hurts! And sometimes, it feels easier to avoid the pain than to put yourself out there. But the problem with doing that is if you don’t put yourself out there, sure you’ll never be rejected, but you’ll never succeed either.
And trust us when we say the pain of being stuck far outweighs the pain of rejection.
So, how can you start taking steps to heal your insecurities and live life with happiness and confidence?
Seven ways to become more confident
Look at the evidence
When insecurity pops into your head, it’s a good idea to face it objectively. What factual evidence supports your insecure thoughts?
For example, imagine your insecurity is with your work. Your insecure thought is:
“John’s work is better than mine. Clearly my boss knows my work is worse and won’t trust me to take on more responsibility.”
It’s easy to compare yourself to someone else and devalue yourself in the process, causing insecure thoughts.
In this example, we can ask the following questions:
- Have you ever asked your bosses for more responsibility? What did they say?
- How do you know John’s work is always better? Are you graded? Have you seen every piece?
- Does John having good work mean that your own work is bad?
- Is it not possible that you both create great, valuable work for the company?
Once you get into the habit of looking for facts to support your insecure thoughts, you’ll find it pretty hard since, more often than not, it’s based on feeling rather than reality.
Curate your social media use
Just in case you need a quick reminder, social media is one of the worst culprits when it comes to comparison and consequent insecure thoughts.
If your social media does this to you, it’s time for a timeline cleanse!
Unfollow any people or pages that make you feel bad about yourself, leaving only those who inspire you. Or, if you want to go big, you can delete your social media altogether! It’s whatever works best for you!
Focus on your own journey
The only opinion on your personal growth journey that matters is your own. So it’s essential you don’t allow yourself to be derailed by the comments of others.
They may fuel your insecurity, but it’s up to you to choose whether to believe them. So trust your gut, trust your journey, and before you know it, you’ll realise how limiting and untrue your insecurities are!
Journal your thoughts
Our inner thoughts and beliefs fuel our insecurity. So, what better way to work through them than by journaling?
When you feel bad about yourself, it’s incredibly easy to get stuck in your head. However, taking those thoughts out of your head and putting them on paper can already help you deal with them. You can then try and work through them to see why you are feeling insecure so you can come up with strategies that deal with your specific triggers.
Meditation and mindfulness
When we feel insecure, we’re often worrying about the future. What will they think of me? What if I can’t do it well enough.
Mindfulness and meditation practices focus on keeping your mind in the here and now.
If you need any ideas for good mindfulness practices that will help with the anxiety produced by your insecurity, we recently curated a list here.
Use daily affirmations
The best way to change your internal script on the way you think about yourself is to replace it with a new one.
Affirmations are short phases repeated daily that highlight the positive qualities we wish to embody in our lives or the person we want to be.
“I am worthy of love.”
“My work is great and worthy of praise.”
“I am a confident, kind, loving person.”
The more you repeat affirmations, the more likely they will manifest, and you will start to fully believe in and embrace your positive traits.
Consider therapy for childhood trauma
Some causes of insecurity cut deep, and we need help to heal them. There’s absolutely no shame in it.
If you think that deep childhood wounds may be fuelling your current insecurities and causing distress or disruption in your daily life, consider reaching out to a therapist for help.
The NHS has local programs across the UK for universal access to therapy, so make sure to ask your GP if you don’t know where to look.
Take it one step at a time
As with most things, healing your insecurities takes time and patience. Unfortunately, no matter how quickly you want to ditch your negative thoughts, it’s not that simple.
You’ll have good days and bad days. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’ve taken three steps back. But if you keep at it, your confidence will grow over time, and you’ll be able to look past your self-limiting, negative thoughts and recognise the extreme value you have to give to society, as well as those around you.