Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have them. Some more than others, and sometimes we don’t even realize our actions are the result of feeling insecure.
When was the last time you were in a meeting at work and you thought about contributing to the discussion but didn’t because you were afraid you might say the wrong thing—only to hear your coworker say the same thing you were thinking and get praised for it?
The hesitation you felt and the voices in your head that made you feel like you wouldn’t be able to make a worthy contribution are all manifestations of insecurity.
You might think that this example is inconsequential, but look at the bigger picture and you’ll realize why overcoming insecurity is so important.
The effects of insecurity create a snowball effect.
Today you’ll miss the chance to be heard in a meeting. In five years, you’ll be passed over for a promotion that you deserve but you didn’t have the confidence to put yourself out there and go for it.
Insecurity poisons our potential, leaving us to battle with our doubts instead of facing our fears and becoming the best version of ourselves.
The good thing about it is that insecurities can always be fixed, and with consistent work you can overcome everything that feels like it is holding you back.
What can you do to combat insecurity? Here are a few tips:
1. Compete With Yourself, Not Others
The world we live in thrives on comparing.
With so many choices available at our fingertips—food, clothes, cars, electronics, housing—it’s easy to get sucked into the notion of comparing ourselves with others.
And when we compare ourselves and find that we’re not like others, we begin to compete to be better.
While some competition is healthy, the constant comparison will sap us of our joy and heighten our insecurities. Break free from the cycle of always competing with others and start competing with yourself.
Keep track of your achievements and challenge yourself to be better because you want to be, not because you want to be better than anyone else.
2. Be More Optimistic
The way you see the world directly influences behavior.
In his best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich, Napolean Hill shares the secret to success, “thoughts are things, and powerful things at that when powerful things at that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches, or other material objects.”
Even though Napolean applied this concept to the creation of a rich life, the thought behind his reasoning is a universal truth. What you think creates your reality.
If you constantly put yourself down, talk yourself out of taking risks and think critically of yourself, then you’ll always be insecure.
Adopt an optimistic way of thinking.
Praise yourself for your accomplishments, no matter how small. Talk to and think of yourself the way you would of a cherished friend. Treat yourself gently.
3. Use A Journal For Reflection
It’s easy to forget the great things you’ve done.
Since you constantly need to remind yourself of how well you’re doing, a journal is one of the best ways to reflect. Make it a point of your duty to write down at least three good things that happen each day.
When you’re feeling scared or insecure about a decision or situation, pulling on your journal will help to reassure you of how great you are, as well as affirm your boldness.
A simple bullet journal is a great place to start. Otherwise, you can buy a regular notebook, a few colored pens and start writing about your days.
4. Change Your Motivation
Contrary to popular belief, insecure people often have many achievements. The difference is that often, insecure people are motivated by fear instead of confidence.
Think of the last big decision you made, what motivated you to do it?
Did you push yourself to meet that deadline because you were afraid of what would happen if you didn’t, or because you were confident that you could produce great work?
If your answer is the latter, it’s time to reexamine your motivation.
Moving from a place of fear to a place of confidence will greatly help your insecurities.
5. Read About The Experiences Of Others
No matter how unique you think your experience is, there is definitely someone out there who has experienced and overcome something similar, or much worse.
Spend a few hours combing through Google to find examples and stories of individuals who have beat odds worse than what you’re going through.
If they have an autobiography out, purchase it. Then spend time reading and internalizing the idea that you are greater than anything you may feel or experience, and you can beat the odds, no matter how impossible it may seem to you right now.
By drawing inspiration from others, you’ll find yourself more confident when faced with everyday decisions.
6. Surround Yourself With People Who Uplift You
Have you ever heard the saying, you’re the sum of five people you spend the most time with? It’s a saying for a reason.
Who you hang out with directly influences that kind of person you are, including how you handle insecurities.
If you hang out with people who are constantly criticizing others, who poke fun at your insecurities and don’t make you feel better after hanging out with them, chances are you need to make some changes to your circle.
Ideally, your closest friends should be people who inspire you with positivity and push you to become a better version of yourself. They should make you feel confident about who you are.
7. Celebrate Your Wins
Insecurity goes hand in hand with harsh self-criticism, and self-critics rarely allow themselves to feel good for anything they’ve accomplished.
If you fall into this category, it’s time to start celebrating you more often.
If you struggle to wake up on time, praise yourself the days you manage to do so.
If you normally skip breakfast, congratulate yourself for waking up to make something for yourself.
If you set an income goal for yourself and fall short, still give yourself a pat on the back for making it as far as you did.
Stop thinking of your goals as “all or nothing” and start thinking of them for only what they are—goals. If you fall short, you should still applaud yourself because you made it that far.
8. Believe You Can Change
This tip is reserved for last because it’s arguably the hardest one on the list. Taking the steps to change will be hard. However, with consistent work, you’ll start seeing changes.
Belief in yourself is the first step to any positive change, and if you envision yourself as a confident, fearless person you’re already halfway there.
Stay positive and adopt these changes into your lifestyle so that you will continue to improve!
Now that we’ve tackled eight things that you can start doing right now that can help you overcome insecurity, what do you think?
Which of these tips do you feel best about? Which seems the hardest? Leave a comment below.