Feeling insecure, self-doubt, and a lack of self-confidence can make life difficult. Sometimes, even after a significant success, a gnawing feeling undermines the sense of victory by instilling doubts about your accomplishment. You start to ask if you deserve it, whether you really are as good as the award you just received says you are, or if you really are loveable even though you’re with an amazing person who thinks the world of you.
Feeling insecure can happen in any aspect of life – at work, in your relationships, or in social situations like at a party or family gathering. Being able to cope with and handle your insecurities well can help you enjoy your life and your successes more.
What is insecurity and where does it come from?
One way to think about insecurity is that it is a feeling that you are not good enough or that you are inadequate in a particular situation.
Some of the causes of insecurity include:
- A recent and significant failure, rejection, or betrayal.
- Traumatic experiences like being bullied or body shamed that instilled negative beliefs about yourself.
- Experiences like abandonment and neglect can foster an insecure attachment style in relationships.
- Having critical parents or caregivers who undermined your confidence and set an impossible standard for you to achieve .
- Deep-seated perfectionism, which makes you unsure that you can ever do or be enough.
- Emotional dependence on or attachment to a person, then losing that relationship.
- General A person who experiences unpredictable upsets in daily life will tend to feel insecure about routine things.
How insecurity affects you.
One of the main things that insecurity does is it makes you uncertain. It will often produce anxiety in you about your goals, relationships, and ability to handle certain situations or problems.
Your insecurity can fill you with self-doubt. It stunts your options in life because you limit yourself and what you think you’re capable of. As such, you might not pursue that love interest, follow up on that call for papers by an academic journal, or apply for that job you have always wanted.
Insecurity will affect various areas of your life, including your relationships, work, your view of yourself and your body, or how you think others perceive you. Insecurity can lead to low self-esteem, perfectionism, poor performance at work, self-isolation, and mental health challenges like anxiety and depression.
How to cope when you feel insecure.
We all feel insecurity at one point or another in our lives. Some of the ways for you to cope with insecurity include:
Know that you are already loved.
Often we do things to get ourselves accepted by others. We want to be, as C S Lewis once put it, in the “inner ring”. We want to be part of that group of people we think are cool or in the know. Getting inside the inner ring is futile because you will wonder if you belong there, and you may discover another innermost ring that you are not part of.
Instead of getting trapped in that rat race, rest in the knowledge that you are wonderfully and fearfully made, and in Christ, God loves you with a love that cannot be overcome by anything in all creation (Romans 8: 37-39). In Christ and by His grace, you are already in the inner ring that matters most. Everything else is just noise.
Build meaningful and healthy social networks.
Healthy social networks can help to alleviate some of the effects of insecure attachment styles. The more you are exposed to loving, secure, and trustworthy people, the more likely you are to overcome an insecure attachment style in your relationships. You can learn to trust again.
Talk back to your inner critic.
The voice in your head that accuses you of being unworthy or never good enough, your inner critic, should not go unchallenged. It is important to disrupt that inner critic and the negative self-talk that the negative voice dispenses.
Yes, you may have areas of growth, but that does not mean you are not interesting or fun to be around, or unworthy of someone’s love. If your inner critic is a perfectionist, you can challenge the all-or-nothing thinking that usually accompanies that.
Do not avoid uncomfortable situations.
Insecurity can cause you to avoid situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Instead of yielding to the impulse to withdraw, courageously face the situation, and be willing to sit in the discomfort. Creative engagement with the situations that make you feel nervous can help you overcome your anxiety around those things.
Evaluate the effort, not the outcome.
It can be tempting to have a sole focus on results, and not on what you put in. Outcomes are rarely in our control, but we can control the amount of effort we put in. Choose to celebrate your effort and to focus on evaluating that regardless the outcome.
Insecurity should not have the last word in your life or your sense of worth. Reach out to our offices to speak with a Christian counselor that can help you cope with your insecurities in a healthy way, and to begin the journey to overcome them.
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