We all have our insecurities. They rear their ugly heads in all aspects of our lives at times. Sometimes we see it clearly, and other times we don’t. It’s often easier to see insecurities in others than it is in ourselves. What’s the first sign of having insecurities? Well usually it’s judgement or being critical of others, or just lashing out at others in some way. That’s the easiest way to see it. We feel “less than” in some way and we get anxious, fearful, and go into a sort of protection-mode. Usually we distract others and ourselves away from our insecurities by pointing out issues in others.
Notice What You’re Doing
How can you notice your insecurities and stop them before you start to lash out at others? Or even if you tend to be a quiet, beat-yourself-up type, or just switch into victim mode and feel sorry for yourself. It’s all the same. It all starts with that little voice in your head. That mean little hyper-critical voice that always reminds you that you’re not good enough, not attractive enough, not smart enough….whatever. It makes you feel like the outsider. Like you aren’t worthy. How in the world did we get such a mean little voice inside us? Most will tell you it’s your ego. Personally, I don’t really care, I just want to figure out how to shut her the hell up. Haha! Seriously though. How can we be so mean to ourselves?
Recently I was at a gathering and I tortured myself much of the night over several moments that I felt like an outcast early in the evening. I kept feeling stupid and unwanted in the group and in the moment. And really, it was completely unwarranted! It was my own insecure thoughts that came up that I kept thinking and feeling the whole night. No one did or said anything to set me off. It was my own brain making up stories. While it was obvious that no one else saw it or felt it, I took myself down this little spiral of insecurities. I also found myself picking at others a bit, a sure sign that I was feeling insecure. I felt bad after I did it, but in the moment I didn’t recognize what I was doing.
So how do we stop doing this? Well really it starts with feeling more secure and happy with ourselves. Because really, people will pick at you in life and you need to have a “thick skin” and not let it bother you, because let’s face it – they are only doing it because of their OWN insecurities about themselves! It’s like a really ugly cycle of everyone feeling bad about themselves, and then lashing out at others and making them feel bad about themselves, and the cycle goes on….where it stops is with the person who is secure enough that it doesn’t bother them. Now I know that’s not easy. It takes a strong person for it to not bother them. And definitely a strong one to stop your own insecure voice in your head from beating you down.
Stop the Negative Self-Talk
If we can stop listening to our own negative self-talk and find some confidence in ourselves – or even some lack of caring about it – then we can find some peace. You need to be peaceful enough within yourself that it rolls off. But you also need to have enough clarity to see that it’s that person’s issues with them self, not with you. Am I that person? No way! But I aspire to it for sure!
What are some steps we can take to get there? Here’s a few you can start with:
- Be proud of yourself and who you are. When someone puts you down, stand up for yourself (in a non-aggressive way) – don’t cower or agree with them.
- Always remember that it’s the person making fun of you or criticizing you that is the insecure one, and think about what they might be insecure about – not to pick back at them, but to try and understand them, and be compassionate rather than angry.This will also help you to not take it personally.
- When your little (or big) critical voice starts making you feel bad, doubting yourself, making you feel less-than – tell it to shut up. Give it a name and tell it to shut the heck up! I call mine Vicky, and I like to tell Vicky to mind her own damn business!
- Stop the cycle of lashing out at someone else because YOU feel insecure (or perhaps they brought out your insecurities). Let it go. Move forward. Don’t make the situation worse.
- If your friends make you feel insecure, decide if it’s just your imagination and feeling unworthy, or if they are really being too critical of you. Make sure you have people around you that really do adore you and are kind and compassionate. Make sure it’s also not just you feeling unworthy of the great people you are with – because you ARE worthy of great friends!
- Love yourself! Just work on that. I’ve worked on it for years, and while I will always find flaws in myself, I’m not nearly as insecure as I used to be. It takes time, compassion, and patience. Once you get to a place of self-love, you won’t care what others think. You will just be yourself and spend time with people who like you for who you are and vice versa.
The Road to Peace
It’s a long road to making peace with your own insecurities. And even when you think you’re there, someone else will lash out at you based on their own insecurities and make YOU feel insecure again. Like I said, it can be an evil cycle. But the first step forward is to recognize it, in yourself and others.
And be compassionate, not condescending about it. Don’t put down someone (or yourself) because of the insecurities – we all have them. Just be aware, observe, be patient and kind, and know that you’ll find more peace with your own insecurities, and recognizing the insecurities in others over time.
You might also want to read this blog – Anxiety Sucks. 5 Things that Might Help You.
A recommended book on this topic is – The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown