You are good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, and strong enough. Believe it and never let insecurity run your life.
I am still amazed when people tell me how strong I am and how secure I appear to be. Somewhere inside of me there is still that little girl that had to overcome a lot in order to become a strong woman.
I felt like I was not good enough for a long time. Still now from time to time I have to remind myself that what I am doing is great, that I am good enough and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone to be loved. When I was younger I was so afraid of not being loved that I would call my mom every day from school to make sure she wouldn’t forget to come and pick me up at the end of the day.
As I grew up, a common question that replayed in my head during my high school years was: “What if people don’t want to be my friend anymore? What if they find out what I am doing is not perfect? My insecurity made me see problems where they didn’t exist, turning what could have been a successful relationship, work opportunity or friendship into a short-lived, dismal failure.
Know the feeling? If so, here are some ways to let go of insecurity.
1. Stop thinking it is all about you.
I remember entering into a room and thinking all people where watching me, judging me, noticing me. I was very self conscious at some point in my life. Then I realized most of the people that were in the room didn’t realize I was there not because I am not worth it, but because they are involved in the activities they were doing. Most of the time we believe people are always watching us, judging us. While it’s true that there may be a couple of them who do this, most of the people are so self centered or worrying about their own stuff that they don’t pay attention to what you are doing. And, if someone decides to do so, it’s because you are important to them in one way or another.
2. Practice being objective.
If you are feeling like you can’t accomplish something, take a step out of yourself for a moment and imagine you are a completely different person. Think about what you would tell another person in your situation. For example, if you’re nervous about going to a party where you don’t know a lot of people or are interviewing for a new job, think about the advice you would give a person in a similar situation. If you look at it this way, you’ll see that there’s nothing to be scared about and that you will succeed if you put your mind to it
3 . Stop psyching yourself out.
Your thoughts could be your life’s best friend or worst enemy. The quality of your thoughts has a direct effect on the quality of your life. Have you ever found thinking negative thoughts like, “I know they’ll get sick of me someday,” or, “I don’t think I am doing a good job like so and so?” These thoughts have little to do with reality but a lot to do with fear. In other words, the problem you are concerned with doesn’t exist—you invented it! Any time you find yourself feeling insecure about what you are doing, tell yourself, “The thing I’m worried about only exists in my head. I have full control.”
4. Write down your fears.
Write down all of the things that you are worried about, and all of the factors that make you feel like you can’t accomplish a thing. Read them over and ask yourself how many of them are rational, and how many are just a product of negative thinking. Take the time to really think of what’s at the root of your fears — whether it’s making a fool of yourself, disappointing your parents, or not having the life you want. See how many of your fears you can tackle, and how many positive solutions you can think of for all of the things that are worrying you.
It’s perfectly natural to be afraid of failure or of coming off looking bad. Everybody has these fears from time to time. It’s unnatural, however, to be so plagued with worry that you feel like you can’t get a single thing done.
5. Remember all of the success you’ve had.
Instead of focusing on all the times you embarrassed yourself, failed at something, or just looked silly, you should take a long hard look at all the times that you’ve done really well. Think of the success you’ve had in school, the great friendships you’ve maintained, or just of random times when you made a group of people crack up because of your winning sense of humor. The more great times you remember, the more confidence you’ll have that you can have more of them in the future.
It can be helpful to write down each of your successes after they happen. Keep a success journal at your desk and fill it up with proud achievements and fond memories. When you feel incapable of anything and feel like you can’t do anything right, you can look over your list and remember what an awesome, capable person you are.
6. Stop lugging around all that baggage.
The lovely thing about life is you can re-start as many times as you need to! If you keep thinking that because something didn’t work in the past is not going to work now you are just setting yourself for failure (and reinforcing your insecurities). We all have baggage but we don’t have to bring it everywhere we come. As I mentioned before, I was afraid of not being good enough. And, granted, there were times when the work I did was not good enough (notice I said the work I did, not that I wasn’t good enough). I got fired from a job because I was not entirely fulfilling all my responsibilities (I was so afraid of not doing a great job that I didn’t do the job at all). When I started my next job I had two choices, either I brought that baggage with me or I would let it at the door and start anew. The choice is always yours!. Something that helps me with this is thinking when I go on a trip. I bring a suitcase with me but I am not sightseeing with my luggage in hand. I leave it at the hotel. Do yourself a favor and do the same with your life.
7. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” And be honest with your answer.
This is my favorite one and the one I live by. I always ask myself before I do things that terrify me “What’s the worst that can happen?” and the answer never is strong enough for me not to try it.
If you get a new haircut and a few people don’t like it, then it’s unlikely to end of the world. If you absolutely hate it, then guess what — hair grows. Don’t let these silly worries stop you from trying something different. Once you realize that the worst isn’t really that bad, you’ll be more likely to be dynamic and to take risks.
If you cannot tell when your responses stop being reasonable and start being ridiculous, try running it by someone whose sensibility you trust. They should be able to tell you if your worst case scenario is feasible or overthought.If you let go of insecurity, you can expect the side-effects of reduced stress and increased relationship satisfaction. Have you ever struggled with insecurity? If so, how did you deal with it?
8. Now ask yourself, “What’s the best thing that could happen?”
This is something insecure people don’t do nearly enough. Let’s say you’re nervous about going on a first date with someone you’re set up with. The best thing that can happen is that you and the person hit it off, and begin a meaningful and satisfying relationship. Isn’t this worth going on the date for? Though the best thing ever isn’t always likely to happen, having it on the table can help you approach new tasks with a positive mindset.
Before you set out to do something new, you can even write down the best thing that can happen, or the best three things that can happen, so they are fresh in your mind when the time comes.
9. Remember your positive qualities.
To keep yourself feeling secure, you need to keep your positive qualities in the forefront of your mind. Make a list of all of the things you love about yourself, from your friendliness to your intelligence, and keep it at the forefront of your mind whenever you engage with someone. Insecure people tend to focus only on the worst parts about themselves, which leads them to feel unhappy with who they are.
By only looking at the negative things that are distinct about yourself, you focus on them and neglect your positive qualities. If you have been hard on yourself for a long time, it can be difficult to think of anything worthwhile about yourself at first.
10. Practice positive self-talk.
It is especially hard to notice negative self-talk if you have been doing it for a long time. If you’re always telling yourself that you’re a loser, a failure, or that you can’t do anything right, then you’re bound to feel that way forever. Instead, work on telling yourself positive things about yourself so you’re more likely to attack new tasks with a healthy mindset and a desire to do well.
A helpful exercise to get you more comfortable with positive self-talk and to rein in your self-abuse is to tell yourself two sincerely nice things about yourself for every negative thing. They don’t have to be related. For example, if you burn your tongue because you didn’t wait long enough for your coffee to cool off and swear, “Idiot! That was a stupid move,” at yourself, you must then remind yourself, “But I do play tennis pretty well, and I have a great sense of humor.” It may seem odd, but you are shifting your attitude when you praise yourself.
And you? What strategies do you use when you feel insecure?
Thanks for reading. Remember to follow me on twitter (@TereZacher), Instagram (@InsightfulRunner) and my Facebook page (Tere Zacher/Athlete) for motivation throughout the day.