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Everyone Is Insecure About Something

Insecurity does not discriminate and can affect everyone.

Key points

  • Insecurity impacts everyone, whether or not they show it.
  • There are strategic steps you can take to mitigate feelings of insecurity.
  • While insecurity is commonplace, it is isolating when it's happening to you.
  • Misplaced ideals of perfection can cause insecurity.
Ben White/Unsplash
Ben White/Unsplash

While it may seem that some people have their act together, deep down, everyone is insecure about something. Some people might be more readily willing to admit to the feeling of inadequacy or unsure footing, but a sense of uncertainty or inadequacy does not discriminate and can affect everyone. In its most fulminating form, the feeling can come at you like a tidal wave.

Despite its prevalence, if it’s happening to you, it feels far from normal. And while you are in the throes of it, the experience is incredibly isolating. Whether the root cause stems from personal experience or societal pressure, the consistent overwhelming feelings can negatively affect your well-being.

Insecurity can appear in various ways, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, perfectionism, and its ugly cousin, procrastination. To prevent chronic feelings of insecurity from negatively impacting mental health and quality of life, there are steps to take to address insecurities, improve overall sense of well-being, and get started on the path of meeting your goals.

Accept your imperfections

The feeling of insecurity is pervasive. The perception of not measuring up—not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, or successful enough—- is all too common. This sense of inadequacy is not limited to a particular group or demographic, although some people may be better at hiding it from the public. We are all subject to societal pressures and the expectation to be perfect, however we may choose to have it defined. It is crucial to remember that everyone has overt or covert flaws, and no one is perfect. Accepting and even embracing our imperfections can help us feel more secure in ourselves and our abilities. Sometimes what makes us different is what makes us special and unique.

Identify the root cause

To overcome insecurity, you must identify its root cause. For some, it may result from past negative experiences, while for others, it may be due to self-imposed expectations when dealing with in-person or online societal pressure. Identifying the root cause of insecurities doesn't solely help you understand their source, it points to the appropriate steps to address them.

To help you consider the origin of the insecurity, reflect on your past experiences. Consider events or relationships in your life that may have shaped your internal beliefs. Second, pay attention to your self-talk. Do you routinely criticize your abilities or progress? Challenge any negative self-talk and work to control what you can control. See what is working and what strategy you have yet to consider.

Third, identify what triggers feelings of insecurity and examine how the experiences give rise to feelings of insecurity. Identifying triggers will help you develop coping skills. Finally, seek feedback. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can help you gain a different perspective on your action and beliefs.

Build self-confidence

The solution for developing and overpowering insecurity is building self-confidence by taking one courageous step at a time. One way to build self-confidence is to identify our strengths and celebrate your successes.

Focusing on perceived shortcomings and weaknesses can be easy, but taking stock of strengths can help us recognize that we have greater abilities than we give ourselves credit for. While we all have to-do lists, when was the last time you created a 'done' list? Sometimes, writing out your accomplishments will help you realize you've completed more than you've given yourself credit for.

Set small goals

If our goals are too lofty, moving toward them is nearly impossible. We can't seem to take the first step to simply begin the process of working toward our goal. We remain frozen at the starting line, waiting for the environment to be perfect. It’s never perfect.

Setting small yet achievable goals and working towards them can help build self-confidence. So mark your end goal, but then list the steps it takes to achieve them. One by one, as you complete the tasks, mark them off your list (perhaps add them to your 'done' list). Celebrating the wins of accomplishing even something small can help generate feelings of capability and confidence.

Insecurity is a common experience that might derail careers and keep people from meeting their full potential. However, there are steps to take to address insecurities and lay the groundwork for success. Recognizing that everyone experiences insecurity, identifying the root cause, and building self-confidence can all be effective strategies for overcoming the feelings of self-doubt. The steps allow us to accept and embrace our imperfections, feel more confident in our abilities, and improve overall well-being, one courageous step at a time.

More from Ruth Gotian Ed.D., M.S.
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