image by John Hain
It’s insecurity that is always chasing you and standing in the way of your dreams.
– Vin Diesel
A short while ago, I asked you to think about your insecurities. To say that everyone has them, may be a too sweeping statement. So I will be a little conservative and say that most people have insecurities.
Of course some people are a lot more insecure than others. But there seems to be really no correlation between the level of success (as the society perceives it) one has, and the quota of insecurity one suffers from.
I know people who in my opinion have nothing to be insecure about. They have everything going for them, and are luckier than most, and yet they are insecure.
I have my own insecurities too. They swoop in and knock me off course when I least expect it. When that happens, the logical part of my brain is aware that I am being irrational, that there is no reason to feel insecure, and the only solution is action. But logic rarely triumphs over emotions for most of us.
So what’s the solution? It may be possible to eventually overcome some of your insecurities, but that’s likely to be a long-term process. Meanwhile, the thing we need to focus on is to follow Erich Fromm’s advice:
The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.
But how do you go about doing that? There is no one specific answer to this, and no ultimate solution. Depending on your personality and your strength of will, as well as your circumstances, it may be harder or easier for you to manage your insecurities than for other people. So first of all, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. No two people’s heads are full of same things. Your thoughts, your emotions, and the way you respond to both makes you unique. That means, you need to figure out what works best for you. But I’m going to give some guidelines here, which more or less, should work for most people once they put in the work.
5 Ways to Manage Your Insecurities
- Know Your Insecurities. Denial is Detrimental
Awareness! This is the ultimate concept when it comes to any type of personal development. You must know your problems before you can accept them. You must accept your problems before you can solve them. Insecurities are problems too. To overcome them, or at the very least to manage them, you need to accept your insecurities.
I’m not saying you need to advertise them to the world. You may choose to be open about it to people closest to you, but you don’t necessarily need to go around admitting to everyone – say your boss or colleagues or people who are mere acquaintances – that you are filled with insecurities. But you do need to be honest with yourself. What the world does or doesn’t know about you is not important. What’s important is that how truly you know yourself.Are you continuously lying to yourself? Do you tell yourself that you have no insecurities? Do you tell yourself that there is nothing holding you back? If you are, you need to get out of denial. You need to gain complete awareness of all of your insecurities. It’s not going to be comfortable. In fact, it’s probably going to be difficult. You will want to hide, and burrow your head in the sand. But that’s the time when you get to test your character. Strength of character is not about being unafraid, or being brave all the time…it’s about taking a step forward, even when you are afraid.Accept your insecurities. Admit to yourself, with complete honestly, about exactly how you feel. If you need help with gaining more self-awareness, check out the Who Am I: Journey to Self-Discovery Course from the Kaizen Journaling Academy.
- Positive Reinforcement
Surround yourself with people who provide you with genuine positive reinforcement. This is important. I’ve written here before about spending time with the right people, and forming your success support group. It doesn’t matter how confident you are, how much self-esteem you have, or how much faith you have in your abilities. All of us, need positive reinforcement from time to time. Sure, if you are strong enough, you can probably get by without it. But having that support from people who genuinely mean it, can make the world of difference. So make every effort to find those right people.However, if you don’t have those people, then you need to supply your own positive reinforcement. Your journal can be a valuable tool for that. Make sure you fill your journal with positive entries, make note of your achievements – however small, as well as everything that makes a positive contribution to your life. Ensure that your journals are empowering, and filled with positive aspects of your life. If you need help with that, read this post, 7 Ways to Turn Your Journal from Whiny.
- Talk it out / Write it out
Don’t keep your insecurities bottled up. The bottling up almost always ends in emotional explosions, and rarely in a healthy manner. Talk about them with people you trust. But be careful. Don’t be continuously talking only about your insecurities, even to your closest friends or loved ones. That’s not attractive, and no one likes to listen to someone whine all the time. But there may be times, or particular days, when just talking about it may be helpful. You can also do that in your journal. Whenever these insecurities try to worm their way to the forefront of your mind, let them have their voice in your journal. Explore them through writing. Then, argue with yourself. Try to discover exactly how you feel about them.
- Keep Digging and Find the Root Cause
Your insecurities are not superficial. They usually stem from within, for a reason. You may or may not discover that reason, but you need to try. It’s okay if you can’t afford a therapist. You have your journal. Keep writing about your insecurities, try to discover when they started, and whether they stem back to particular instances or whether they have stem from other causes, such as family issues. It’s not going to be an immediate thing. It may not even be simple, because often you may thing your insecurities may stem from one thing, but the truth may turn out to be something else entirely. So keep exploring. Every answer takes you closer to being more self-aware.
- A Specific Action to Conquer A Specific Insecurity
Ultimately, the best solution to manage your insecurities is to take actions. Specific, deliberate actions. Don’t try to overcome all your securities all at once. Focus on whatever’s affecting you most at the moment. For example, if you are feeling insecure about your career, lacking confidence in your ability to move up the ladder. Take a concrete step. Apply for a job that you want, or learn a skill you think you need to learn. Go to networking events. Speak to your manager, or people who are successful in your profession. Take concrete steps that makes you feel like you are doing something towards conquering your insecurity. Make sure you keep record of these actions in your journal. This could be the positive reinforcement for when your insecurities are letting you down.
Insecurities are inevitable. They are part of our emotional make-up. It’s inevitable to be unaffected by them, but it is possible to not let them control your life, and not let them hold you back. Use the five steps above to manage your insecurities, instead of letting them manage you.