Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Beautifully Insecure

The difference between healthy insecurity and insecurity that may be harmful.

When a person continually looks at himself or herself, it usually means he or she is trying to be a better person. People who examine themselves in order to ensure they are doing the right thing are often individuals who gain insight to their mistakes, feel remorse, and attempt to repair their transgressions. This sort of constant self-reflection is difficult and it causes feelings of insecurity, but it allows a person the capacities to evolve and grow. It also helps an individual remain conscientious of other people’s feelings.

Baseline, being a touch insecure is healthy. There are certain situations that may intensify a person's insecurities to the point that it is difficult for them to function happily, yet with support and time, the insecurities usually return to a manageable level. The instances that cause a spike in feeling insecure include, the experience of trauma, an involvement with a toxic person, developmental lags, and substantial life transitions.

On the other hand, a person who believes they are always right and who does not look at themselves because they feel they are infallible in the relationship, rarely experience conscious insecurity or self-doubt. However, deep down and under a shield of serious defense mechanisms, this person actually feels very small. Painfully small. Thus the need for a rigid and extreme defensive structure comprised of deflection, projection, projective identification, intellectualization, idealization, narcissism, and grandiosity.

They avoid feeling insecure or vulnerable by deflecting and dismissing anything or anyone that disagrees with with what they think or feel. Immediately, they reject the other person’s feelings and opinions if they are not congruent with theirs. This makes it nearly impossible for them to be authentically conscientious of other people's feelings in a relationship because they repel anything that differs from their own opinions and feelings.

Of course, intellectually they may say things that make it seem like they are sincerely contemplating another person's feelings. However, they are typically unable to follow through with the actions that prove it. For example, a co-worker may apologize for harassing or bullying someone, but bullies someone else the very next day.

When I sit with a client who is beating himself or herself up for a mistake and wonders how to make it right or do things differently, I consider him or her insecure in a wonderful way. A person who looks in the mirror and suffers to do it, is beautifully insecure.

Yet, people who rarely look in the mirror and who are indifferent to their impact on others because they believe they are perfect in the relationship, may be insecure in a pathological way. They are too defensive to allow any emotion with a tinge of pain in. This seems to be a pathological insecurity.

Humility, vulnerability, and mild insecurity are qualities that allow a person to grow and love in a healthy way. They allow human beings to be beautiful.