Why Do I Feel Insecure? 3 Powerful Reasons Why

How to not feel insecure, Am I being insecure, why am I insecure

Being insecure is “a state or feeling of anxiety, fear, and self-doubt,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. We can all relate to this feeling at one time or another. It is a natural human state that often motivates us to overcome what once made us feel this way; we grow – from insecure to confident!

When insecurity causes distress or limitations in someone’s life, it’s time to explore their inner world to find what that person is thinking, believing, and feeling. This is where a person will discover what is holding them back and how to stop having insecurities.

How to stop feeling insecure.

To learn how to stop being insecure, one must first uncover “Why do I feel insecure?” There may be times when the reason is obvious. Perhaps you are new to your job, and you pick up the phone to help a customer for the first time. This is an example of a common circumstance that may temporarily cause a person some insecurity. If you don’t yet know the company’s processes, procedures, and how they handle conflicts, fear about how to answer the questions a customer may have on the phone, and self-doubt around how well you will accurately answer the questions are common reactions. In this example, how do you stop feeling insecure? Practice. Experience. Doing it. In time, as confidence builds, insecurity fades.

how to stop feeling insecure

The First Powerful Reason Your Childhood.

I’m not saying that your parents were terrible. What I am saying is that children receive a lot of messages throughout childhood, both directly and indirectly. An example of a direct message – A bully notices the quiz sitting on your desk with a big red ‘D-’ circled, and says to you “Wow, you’re stupid!”

An example of an indirect message – A parent is helping her daughter with math homework, but the parent is in a hurry to finish because the sink is still full of dishes. Wanting to hurry her daughter, but helpfully, the parent gives her the answers from quick math before the daughter can work it through and figure out the answer herself. As a child, she may think: “Boy, I’m so stupid. I couldn’t figure out any of these math problems without Mom’s help.”

This is a simplified explanation, but a basic illustration of how negative beliefs about one’s self can begin to take shape.

If the girl in this example had never felt stupid before, from direct or indirect messaging, a singular experience may be easily disregarded and forgotten. Maybe experiences from the past, in which she felt smart, were able to squash that particular occurrence. The trouble with childhood is that we haven’t accumulated a lot of experiences yet.

This illustrates one reason, of many, that it is crucial to fill kids’ brains with empowering messages of capability, potential, and love.

What insecurities do you have, today, that you’re aware of? Think back to a time in childhood when you felt that way. Now, using your knowledge, awareness, and understanding as an adult, tell your childhood self what you know now.

“Hey, younger self, I know that when you weren’t invited to Sally’s party in seventh grade, you started to believe that you weren’t good enough. I’m here to tell you, now as my 38-year-old self, that however you felt was valid, but now I know I am good enough! Now I know that Sally’s parents probably said she could only invite a certain number of people and it was hard for her to decide who to invite. Now I know that I could think of a whole list of other reasons I wasn’t invited, and the real reason may not even be on the list. Now I know that the real reason may have had nothing to do with me. Now I know that not everyone needs to like me and that it’s more rewarding to put energy into friendships that I feel loved in. Now I know that the belief ‘I’m not good enough’ is not true and I can let that go.”

how to build more confidence

The Second Powerful Reason Society.

Society doesn’t [usually] overtly tell us to feel bad about ourselves, but there are norms and expectations woven throughout society’s messages to us – from the media, on social media, and from people that have what we’re striving for. Society’s norms and expectations tell us what success looks like; what’s in style for our clothing; how to behave (i.e. when we greet someone; when we’re given a gift; when we’re on public transportation; etc.). There is no harm in having an image of what is common or expected of us. The companionship a marriage offers may indeed bring you joy and happiness. Thanking a person for a gift is indeed kind, and many people value kindness.

But NOT following norms or expectations does not we are bad, less than, or undesirable!

If we don’t want those things in our life (i.e., marriage and kindness from the examples above), or if opportunities to have certain things don’t exist in our world, our life may look ‘different’ from the norms we see throughout society. But different only means “not the same.” It’s us who have added a negative meaning to the word ‘different’ (i.e., weird, wrong). If we believe that the word ‘different’ holds a negative meaning or implication, and then are labeled as different, or believe that we are different – how are we supposed to feel about ourselves? Being insecure is a reasonable outcome when we believe ‘different’ is a negative thing.

We conclude that we or something is different when we engage in the act of comparing. To compare is to look at two or more things and assess what is similar and what is different. Comparing, by definition, is not problematic. We do it every day in helpful ways: comparing prices; comparing traffic routes; comparing packages of chicken breasts at the grocery store. Comparisons allow us to make the best decision for ourselves when we use the information we gather constructively. The problem comes when we attach a subjective or implied meaning to the results that are ‘similar’ and ‘different.’

Let’s use two examples to illustrate this:

  1. I compare a house that costs $200,000 to a house that costs $300,000. The conclusion is that the price difference is $100,000. The price is not the same by $100,000.
  2. Next, I compare my appearance to Beyoncé’s. The conclusion I may come to is: “She is so much more beautiful than me!” The difference is that our beauty is not the same. Period. End of comparison.

I can let the comparison of Beyoncé’s beauty vs. mine simply be a stated difference, an observation, or a comment. Or, I can add implied meaning to the difference. The implied meaning of different may be: less than, worse, not beautiful. The implied meaning is what leads to insecurity. Beyoncé’s beauty says nothing about me. Someone else’s choice to go to college has nothing to do with me. Someone else’s opportunity to have kids has nothing to do with me. Someone’s intelligence has nothing to do with me.

Next time you think “So and So is much fitter than me,” try following that up with “Good for her!” Period. End of comparison. Her fitness does not say anything about you. You two are different, and might I add, in MANY ways beyond the level of fitness – your choices, your opportunities, your upbringing, your tough times, your dreams….

Be uniquely you, without comparison. If comparison occurs, it simply points out what is different. Different means not the same. Nothing more (unless you make it mean more).

how to not be insecure

The Third Powerful Reason The Way You Talk to Yourself.

When I say we talk to ourselves, I am referring to our thoughts. How much control over your thoughts do you believe you have? When we don’t have control over our thoughts, our thoughts control us. If you don’t feel like you have much control over your thoughts, or this concept is new to you, this is a great place to start in your journey to feeling more confident.

Always remember, words have power! Whether we say words out loud or in our head, the weight of our words is influential. How do you think your friend would feel if you told her that she was a failure? We often speak like this to ourselves, though. It’s no wonder we feel poorly about ourselves when we talk to ourselves like this. Ask yourself – how good of a friend are you to yourself?

Let’s look at a relatable example of how we might speak to ourselves. A person made a goal to lose five pounds this month. However, the month didn’t go so well, and that person didn’t lose any weight. A person might think to one’s self, “Well, I’m a failure!” True?

Stop that today! Stopping that is how to get rid of insecure feelings! An experience, a moment in time, a choice, a characteristic – these do not define a person.

Think about all the times you use the phrase “I am” or “You are.” Those words are followed up with something defining the person. A kinder approach, towards yourself and others, is to comment on the experience, moment in time, choice, or characteristic appropriately. Instead of “Well, I am a failure,” in the example above, one can say “Well, I was unsuccessful this month.” Instead of “You’re a [insert any explicit name-calling possibility],” one can say, “What you just did hurt me.”

Do the new statements sound inaccurate at all? Sure, they may sound unfamiliar to you, but do you notice a difference in how you feel while reading them? Perhaps they convey more compassion? Who doesn’t need a little more compassion in their life?

In short – overreacting to something does not mean “I am crazy.” More accurately and kindly it means, “Man, I overreacted again. This is a pattern of mine.” Having a home that isn’t as clean as you want it to be doesn’t mean “I’m such a lazy slob.” More compassionately, and more frankly, it means, “I still haven’t figured out how to keep my home as tidy as I would like.”

how to stop thinking negatively

What to do when you feel insecure.

Each section above concluded with a strategy for helping yourself, in regards to stopping insecurity. In summary:

  • Think back to times in childhood when you felt poorly about yourself and offer your younger self some compassion and a new perspective to heal those lingering feelings.
  • Stop comparing yourself to norms and expectations, and if you do, accept that ‘different’ means not the same, and nothing more.
  • Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself and replace any harsh statements with objective comments on the current experience, choice, or characteristic.

As with so many things in life, the ideas introduced in this writing may seem easier said than done. But who gets anywhere worth anything in life by only doing what’s easy? People get places in life by practicing; not giving up; soaking up knowledge and implementing what resonates with them.

While on the journey of practicing and implementing these ideas, insecurity can still creep in. If a person rates their confidence at a ‘0’, and wants it to be at a ‘100,’ there are 99 numbers to go through before getting there. Remember, it is NOT all or nothing. Just because a person starts to feel more confident, doesn’t mean that insecurity never happens anymore.

In the times that you feel insecure, recognize it. Acknowledge it. Tell yourself something kind, positive, and compassionate. Remember that this moment will pass. Remember that insecurity is a natural human experience. Remember that every time you’ve felt insecure in the past, you have gotten through it.

Contact me, I’m available to help people that struggle to overcome their insecurities. Subscribe to my blog to know when I release more thoughts and information. Check out my website if you want my social media handles, available services, or more helpful information.

 

Written by Krystle Hearley

Confidence & Dating Coach, Licensed Therapist, Woman, Human Being, Dreamer, Wife, Dog Mom, Optimist, Lover of Many Things, and So Much More than Any Label I’m Given

Krystle Hearley, Confidence & Dating Coach, Life Coach