Dealing With Insecurities

1mQUSpThe reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

– Steve Furtick

As a general proposition, only narcissists and sociopaths manage to dodge repeated encounters with insecurity. And even they manage to do so only on the surface level of consciousness. For the rest of us, dealing with insecurities is an ongoing and ever-evolving part of being human.

The nature of our insecurities is as widely diverse as we are. Some people are insecure about their appearance. Others are insecure about their intelligence. Some are insecure about speaking in public. Others are insecure about their level of income. And the list goes on and on. Moreover, insecurity is a moving target. Our insecurities can change with time, just as we do. Some insecurities disappear with those triumphant moments we experience in Life.  And some insecurities appear, seemingly out of nowhere, when we encounter a totally new experience and find ourselves ill-equipped to handle it.

The chore of effectively dealing with insecurities, as they arise, is one we must all face, if we value peace and happiness. As we learn to accept and appreciate ourselves, just as we are, we find ourselves less and less burdened by this particular human propensity. But, as is the case with everything we learn in Life, we must constantly apply the lessons we’ve been taught, We must also remain vigilant and refuse to accept the kind of negative thoughts that gave rise to the insecurities in the first place. All of that can be a difficult challenge, at times.

Today, I’d like to pass on 5 tips for dealing with insecurity that have helped me in my life. Of course, I’m still a work in progress, just like everyone else. But applying these principles in my own life has helped me in more ways than I could possibly recount to you. If you adopt at least one of them, I believe you’ll see an empowering difference in your life, as well.

1.  Avoid comparing yourself to others: Comparison is a dangerous game that leads to nowhere you truly want to be. If you are constantly comparing yourself to other people, you are gaining nothing more than a false sense of security or insecurity – depending upon how you end up rating yourself in the comparison.

There is no one on this planet who is exactly like you. There is no one who has had exactly the same life experiences that you’ve had. And the same concept applies in reverse. If you are looking at someone else’s attributes or accomplishments and verbally abusing yourself for not being like them or having their life, you are being very unfair to yourself. And you’re basing those harsh self-judgments on incomplete information. What you see as an awe-inspiring attribute or an incredible success in someone else’s life is only a snapshot of their entire experience, not the whole story of their life or all of who they are. The same principles apply if you find yourself tempted to make yourself feel better by making comparisons between yourself and people who might not live up to your particular standards. What someone else looks like, acts like, and (most certainly) what someone else “has” or does not have is completely irrelevant to you and your life. You are not them; and they are not you. And there is no amount of comparison in the world that can change that fact.

2. Recognize and appreciate your own strengths & attributes: In the West, there is a culturally created dichotomy between the value of self-confidence and the value of humility. And we are often torn between the tension of these perceived opposites. It’s as though we are expected to play some strange game in which we must be strong, confident, and self-assured (lest we be perceived as weak); but we’re supposed to pull it off in a way that is non-threatening and unintimidating to anyone else (lest we be perceived as egotistical or arrogant). Since this is a nearly impossible feat to accomplish, the struggle we create when we see confidence and humility as opposites is a breeding ground for insecurity. I believe that we can be confidently aware of our own strengths and attributes while maintaining a sense of humility.  As Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” You have many strengths. We all do. Become more aware of and familiar with your strengths and attributes and remember them in times when insecurity knocks at your door.

3. Recognize and appreciate your own limitations, without judgment:  Even Super Man and Wonder Woman had limitations. No human being is perfect, in any way. When we understand this fact, we can also understand that there will be situations in Life where our limitations prevent us from doing something or accomplishing something we might really like to do or accomplish (at least, at that moment in time). That does not mean, however, that we are less than anyone else or that there is just cause for insecurity. It simply means we have limitations, just like everyone else. Moreover, limitations are often situational; and we would do well to remember as much. For example: If I felt a strong desire to become a professional ballerina, the fact that I’m 6 ft. tall would certainly seem like a limitation. If, however, I decided that I wanted to become a professional volleyball player, being 6 ft. tall would come in handy. How we see our limitations, and the amount of overall affect they have on our lives, depends upon the perspective we choose. If we refuse to see our limitations as something shameful or as indications that we are somehow less than we should be, we can more easily dissolve the thoughts of unworthiness or inferiority that lie at the root of insecurity.

4. Refuse to allow insecurities to become barriers: When I was in practice, I became nervous and a bit insecure every time I had to speak in the courtroom. The same thing happened every time I gave a speech in connection with my community involvement. Occasionally, the nervousness was so strong that it literally made me nauseous. But I spoke anyway. Once I began talking and focused my attention on what I was trying to convey, instead of why I felt insecure, everything usually went very smoothly. If we allow insecurity to become a head-high wall between us and what we truly desire in Life, we will eventually find our light of day completely blocked out by the dim, cold shadow of self-doubt. When insecurities pop up, we must find ways to deal with them that prevent them from becoming barriers between us and the happiness and fulfillment we want.

5. Surround yourself with kind, encouraging people: We all need a little encouragement, from time to time; and a kind word is always a gift. If we surround ourselves with people who respect and appreciate us, just as we respect and appreciate them, we put in place a strong support system for combating the affects of insecurities. When we have friends and loved ones who truly believe in us and what it is we’re trying to do with this thing called Life, we essentially tag-team the insecurities, as they arise. Our friends and loved ones can remind us of our strengths and encourage us, when we need it most.

Applying these principles in our daily lives gives us the helpful tools we need to deal with insecurities. The most important tool we can have, however, is self-compassion. Give yourself a break when you’re feeling a little insecure about a situation, a task, a goal, a relationship, or anything else. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel a bit apprehensive, sometimes. It’s not unusual or abnormal for insecurities to occasionally arise (especially when you’re in unchartered territory).

Feelings of insecurity are important because they can help us discover much about ourselves. But feelings of insecurity do not have to define us or govern how we will live our lives. 

Live Free! Be Happy! Choose to deal with insecurities.

© 09/26/2013

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11 Comments

  1. Beacon of Aquarius

     /  September 26, 2013

    Reblogged this on Beacon of Aquarius.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jim, for the reblog! Have a fantastic day, my fabulous friend! Sloan

      Reply
      • Beacon of Aquarius

         /  September 27, 2013

        you are welcome Sloan…when I see your words, I instantly smile. Please have a great day and weekend. 😀

  2. Hi Sloan, great article! Thanks for sharing the helpful tips. It’s true, we are all unique with our own strengths and positive qualities and its important to be surrounded with positive like-minded people. Always be grateful for you.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Sweet Stephanie! I am grateful for our friendship as well. Have a beautiful and inspiring day! Love & Light, S

      Reply
  3. Another great post, Sloan. Funny, I just posted a Norman Vincent Peale quote today. I have the most trouble with number two. Number four used to be me. I allowed my insecurity to prevent me from doing what I wanted to pursue for my life. Not until I turned forty did I finally try writing for publication. I think I conquered four now, but number two I still have a tendency to do. I tend to be hard on myself. Thanks for your wise words.

    Reply
    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lori. I believe there’s something about 40 that changes our perspective. I’m glad that you moved past the blocks to your writing publicly. Now, you get to share yourself and your insights with the world. What a blessing for us all! Have a beautiful day! Sloan

      Reply
      • You’re so kind, and as you mention in your post, I am humbled and grateful for you as well. BTW, I meant to mention about accepting our limitations. Heh, I’m only 4’11 and couldn’t slam dunk a basketball but only in my dreams. I’d love to have long legs, but it is what it is. 🙂

  4. Really good post. Love it.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jason! I appreciate the reblog too. You give great tips for improving salesmanship on your blog. Positive and practical. I like it. Have a really good day! Sloan

      Reply
  5. Reblogged this on Sales Coaching and Personal Development Blog and commented:
    Nice, short post about dealing with insecurities.

    Reply

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