How many times in life have you thought something like:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I don’t fit in anywhere.”
“If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.”
“I’m so afraid of saying how I truly feel.”
Insecurities plague the lives of almost every single person alive.
Throughout my life, I’ve had more insecurities than I can count. And, believe it or not, I still have insecurities today.
Now, that might not fill you with a lot of confidence in me. After all, aren’t I meant to be a confidence coach?
Well, the truth is, insecurities never really go away – and I’ll share why in just a minute.
But, we can learn to reduce the intensity of our insecurities and more easily overcome them.
I used to think that people would hate me if they knew the real me. At the time, I didn’t feel like I had any personal worth at all.
Over time though, I was able to come to terms with my insecurities. I was able to overcome them.
And, even though I still have thoughts about my insecurities all the time, they don’t hold power over me anymore.
So, in this post, I want to share with you three tips for how to beat your insecurities.
But, I also want to share three ways that you might be making them worse too.
Three Things That Make Emotional Insecurity Even Worse
There’s a lot of traditional advice out there for how to overcome negative thoughts and beliefs.
Unfortunately, some of it can hurt a lot more than help.
So, here are three ways that you can make your insecurities worse.
1# Bottling Up Your Feelings
Our first instinct with beating insecurities is to try and take control.
We often do this by trying to push our feelings back down into the depths of our mind.
For me, I figured that if I just ignored what I was feeling, then I could just get on and live a “normal” life.
Except, that’s not how the mind works.
Have you ever noticed that the more you try to ignore something, the more you actually think about it?
Well, that’s because the very act of consciously trying to ignore something means focusing on it to an even higher degree.
When we try to stamp down our thoughts and feelings, what we’re doing is building up pressure.
And eventually, that pressure must release somewhere.
For me, the sudden burst of emotional insecurity led me to some dark places in my mind. It transformed into self-loathing and self-hatred, all because I ignored these feelings when they first arrived.
Don’t try and ignore or bottle up your feelings about your insecurities.
It will just make it worse.
2# Beating Yourself Up
Now, I don’t mean physically beating yourself over having insecure thoughts – though it can go that way too.
I’m talking about how easily we might find ourselves berating or even punishing ourselves for having negative thoughts.
You can’t beat negative feelings about yourself by being even more negative for having those feelings in the first place.
It’s like trying to fight fire with fire – you’re only going to get more burned.
Having negative thoughts and feelings are normal. So, if you keep beating yourself up over it, then you’re only adding more fuel to the fire.
3# Positive Thinking
I can’t even begin to talk about how much positive thinking can ruin your life.
When I started trying to deal with my emotional insecurity, I thought positive thinking was the answer.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
If you’re having negative thoughts and feelings about yourself, just try and counteract them with positive ones.
Except, that’s not how the mind works.
Positive thinking is just another way that we can ignore what’s going on and we’ve already talked about how bad ignoring your feelings is.
Positive thinking often means lying to yourself about what’s actually going on in your own mind.
Unfortunately, your mind knows when you’re lying. After all, it’s still you.
So, whilst we might want to make ourselves believe that everything is great, our unconscious mind still knows the truth.
Eventually, positive thinking stops working and then you have to face your insecurities all over again. This time, without a shield of positivity.
So, the best thing to do is to follow the advice that can actually help you to address these thoughts and feelings.
And that’s what we’re going to do in the next section.
Three Ways You Can Overcome Emotional Insecurity (That Actually Work)
1# Recognise Thoughts As Thoughts
OK, so the first thing to know is that negative thoughts happen to everyone.
They are totally indiscriminate and can pop up at the absolute worst of times.
As much as we might want to, we are not in control of our automatic thoughts.
But, there are some things that we can do.
Firstly, we can recognise that our thoughts are just thoughts.
And since they happen automatically, it means that they might not even be based on reality.
It’s OK to have negative thoughts because they are just a function of our mind. They’re just something that happens in the same way that sometimes the body has gas.
Secondly, we may not be able to control the thoughts that pop into our mind, but we can control our responses.
The only thing that makes a thought negative or positive is the label we put on it.
An insecure thought or feeling comes up and we label it as “bad”.
But what if we were to stop thinking about our thoughts and feelings as either “good” or “bad”?
Instead, we could just focus on calling them what they are: automatic thoughts and feelings.
I want to encourage you to try something.
Exercise: For the next week, take 5 minutes of alone time and just sit with your thoughts. Try not to label them as “good” or “bad. Just observe them. Over time, you’ll start to recognise that, when you can observe your thoughts with labelling them, their power over you disappears. Remember, don’t try and beat your thoughts, just watch them without labelling.
Try this for a week and you might start to recognise that most thoughts aren’t really based in reality at all. So, why label them and let them bring you down?
2# Keep A Thought Journal
The next thing you can start to do is keep a thought journal.
This involves writing down all the thoughts and feelings that you would describe as “negative” or “bad”.
As soon as you have an automatic, negative thought, write it down as quickly as you can. Don’t censor the thought in any way. Just write it down.
Try to also record what was happening at the time, where it happened, who you were with, etc. As much detail as possible.
This is bringing the total situation to your awareness.
Soon, you’ll be able to recognise patterns.
Maybe you only have a certain feeling when you’re with a certain person. Or perhaps you only feel certain insecure thoughts when you’re scrolling through Instagram.
Whatever is happening, you’ll be able to start to get more of an understanding about why these thoughts and feelings crop up in your life.
You can ask yourself “why?”.
Then, you can start to deal with them.
3# Changing Your Belief System
The best antidote to insecurities is positive beliefs – which are vastly different from positive thinking.
Positive beliefs are things that you truly believe about yourself that build a healthy level of self-esteem. Positive thinking is ultimately lying to yourself because you believe “negative thoughts and feelings” are bad.
Positive beliefs have evidence to back them up. Positive thoughts are just hopes without foundations.
So, if you’ve followed the two tips before this, you’ll know two things:
- You’ll know that thoughts are just thoughts – they’re not real - and...
- You’ll know what your insecurities are because you’ve kept a thought journal
Now, you get to decide on what new belief you want to have in your life.
For example, if the insecurity is “my friends only hang out with me because we’re in a group”, your new belief might be, “my friends like me for me”.
Now, without evidence, that’s just positive thinking. So, you have to go out and test that new belief out.
You might call one of your friends and ask to meet for coffee and go from there.
Here’s the thing though, much like a scientific experiment, any result is a good result.
Because the fact is, you might find out that the insecurity is true and that’s great!
Because now you’re free to fix the problem. You can either work on making more meaningful connections with your friends or you can try and make new connections.
Either way, you continue to work on your new belief until you have all the evidence you need to support it.
It can be hard work, but it’s worth it in the end.
That new positive belief will help you overcome that insecurity and, very soon, you’ll find your self-esteem starting to rise too.
As I said at the start, insecurities will always be there in life.
We can’t escape our automatic thoughts.
But, we don’t have to give them power over us. We can choose how we respond to them.
Over time, we can create positive beliefs about ourselves and the world by taking small consistent steps every day.
Remember, overcoming your insecurities and building your self-esteem is possible.
You just have to get up and start taking action today!
What are you going to do today to start improving your self-esteem and overcoming your insecurities?
Let me know in the comment section below (I’ll always do my best to reply to every single comment and question.
Also, check out the Ultimate Guide to Healthy Self-Esteem to learn everything you need to know to beat your insecurities and low self-esteem.
If you’re interested in getting coaching to overcome self-esteem issues and start living with confidence, make sure to check out the Confidence Coaching page on Life Transformation UK and get in contact.
Alternatively, you can get in contact with me on the LTUK Facebook Page.