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How to Stop Feeling Insecure

A simple, subtle technique could slowly change your life.

Motortion/Getty Images
Source: Motortion/Getty Images

All of us feel insecure sometimes. It’s unavoidable. But if you feel insecure most of the time, or in many different situations, you’re suffering more than might be necessary.

Insecurity has many causes. Chronic insecurity, on the other hand, almost always rests on a weak sense of identity. Not to mention a deficit of self-compassion.

To stop feeling insecure so often, you’ll need to develop a stronger sense of who you are and a genuine affection for that person.

It takes time and courage to overcome chronic insecurity. But here’s a simple and practical idea you can start practicing right now to gradually alleviate insecurity and the damaged sense of self that it rests on.

Whenever you feel insecure, silently say to yourself, without judgment: “I’m feeling insecure right now.”

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Labeling your emotional experience is called “affect labeling.” The acceptance inherent in your non-judgmental observation of how you feel is great for your mental health.

In addition, when you tell yourself you’re feeling insecure, you accomplish three important objectives:

1. You separate yourself from the insecurity.

Instead of being a quivering ball of insecurity, you’re just a person who’s feeling insecure. There’s an “I” who’s having that feeling. You are not the insecurity, but a human being.

Who is the person who’s feeling this way? You need to know, and to develop compassion toward him or her. It’s painful to feel insecure! People in pain deserve kindness, not judgment.

2. You befriend yourself by providing a compassionate witness to your experience.

It’s not, “I’m feeling insecure because I’m a loser.” The observation of your insecurity is just an observation, not a judgment. “I’m noticing a feeling of insecurity right now.”

Whenever you acknowledge what’s going on inside you, in a sense, you’re no longer alone. It’s as though you have someone there with you, noticing and caring how you feel.

3. You accept and embrace reality.

Only a brave person can gaze at painful reality and not shy away from it.

Only someone with integrity can admit the reality of their own suffering.

Now, instead of just standing there suffering from insecurity, you’re being brave and having the integrity to embrace reality.

The ability to hear a difficult truth (i.e., that you’re feeling insecure) is reserved for strong people who can take it. The reality of the insecurity is not the enemy. The real enemy is denial.

Try labeling all your negative thoughts and emotions without judgment. Do this consistently for the best results. Over time, you’ll develop greater self-knowledge and self-acceptance. These will displace a lot of baseless insecurity.

Will you still feel insecure at times? Yes, because all of us do. But it doesn’t have to be a daily event.

References

Ford, B. Q., Lam, P., John, O. P., & Mauss, I. B. (2018). The psychological health benefits of accepting negative emotions and thoughts: Laboratory, diary, and longitudinal evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115(6), 1075–1092. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000157

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