Uncomfortable as it can be, dealing with insecurity is pretty much just part of being a human.
Those pesky, nagging thoughts that target your vulnerabilities can hold you back at work, impact your relationships and turn certain scenarios — ones that should be fun — into situations you'd rather avoid. We totally get it.
Here's some good news: There are several techniques you can use to center yourself when your own self-doubts are getting in the way of you living your life! Figuring out how to overcome insecurity can be emotionally draining without any help, so here are four ways to understand where insecurity comes from (and advice for tackling it head-on).
1. Know that it's normal to compare yourself to others
You've probably heard the saying "comparison is the thief of joy." And to some degree, that may be true. You might feel great about finally nailing crow pose in yoga class — that is, until you look over at the mat next to you and realize your neighbor is doing a full scorpion.
We do this because of something called social comparison theory. Essentially, it says that in order to know how we should view ourselves, we naturally look to others and make a comparison. But most of the time, this isn't actually helpful or healthy!
Simply understanding why you compare yourself to others can take a lot of power away from unhealthy thoughts and make dealing with insecurity easier. The next time you're feeling inadequate, ask yourself: Am I actually upset about the way I am? Or do I just expect something specific of myself because I see it in other people? The negative thoughts won't go away immediately, but practicing this over time can help break the comparison habit.
2. Evaluate yourself honestly
If we're not worrying about how we think we match up to others, chances are we're stressing about what others think of us.
But is focusing on what other people think of you really the best way to spend your time? One thing's for sure — it can be a major source of insecurity.
Remember that in many areas, you're the best judge of yourself. When you're dealing with insecurity about something, take a step back and get your take on where you're at.
For example, maybe you're insecure about your public speaking abilities. In an attempt to get more comfortable, don't focus on anyone else, just look at yourself practically. Which skills do you think you need to work on? What specifically makes you nervous about addressing a crowd?
If you don't start to see the value in yourself, you'll likely get bored waiting for others to validate you. It can take time (and practice) to cultivate a healthy dose of self-esteem, but the more frequently you do it, the better you'll get at it!
3. Write down your insecure thoughts
When you're unsure of how to overcome insecurity in the moment, try grabbing a notebook and writing out a few sentences about what you're feeling. It might start out something like, "I'm not able to..." or "I don't know how I'll ever..."
Oftentimes, a negative thought that seems intimidating in your head looks way less scary on paper. Once you've seen it written out, question it — is it really true? Do you know that for a fact? Chances are, it's mostly just internal insecurities dragging down your thought process. Understanding that can help you move forward faster.
4. Revamp your social media feeds
Our environment deeply affects how we feel about ourselves, and that includes the images and words we come across every day online. This isn't to say that using social media automatically leads to insecurity, but every so often, it's a good idea to check in with yourself about whether social media is doing you more harm or good.
Start with a look at who you follow and who you're friends with. Consider how each person or account makes you feel about yourself and declutter accordingly. By consciously shaping what you choose to see online, you can avoid content that makes you feel insecure and seek out people who build you up!
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