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Improve your confidence: 10 ways to overcome insecurities

February 25, 2022 - 12 min read

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What are insecurities?

Three types of insecurities

What are the consequences of insecurities?

What causes insecurity?

10 tips to overcome insecurities

Final thoughts

Some days you feel like a rockstar, like nothing can bring you down. In every situation, you exude confidence. Need to introduce yourself to new people? No, problem — you feel easy, and even graceful, in your own skin, without that nervous feeling in your stomach. Giving a speech to a crowd doesn’t scare you because you feel good about what you’re talking about.

Everyone loves feeling invincible. Or at least super-competent.

Other days, not so much. It’s like a switch flips. Some days, without obvious causes, you want to hide because nothing seems to feel right.

Our insecurities can get the better of us, but that’s entirely normal. We’re all humans and we are wired to notice what doesn’t go well or what isn’t working more than what is. Your inner critic comes out of nowhere and does some damage to your self-confidence.

It’s easy to tell people to stop being insecure, but learning how to overcome insecurities is challenging.

What are insecurities?

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Insecurities find their way into every aspect of our lives. We can be insecure about how we look, how tall we are, what our voices sound like, and more. 

Insecurities can come from being bullied at school or constantly scrolling through social media and comparing yourself to others. Past experiences can follow us forward and haunt our self-confidence today, or daily events can trigger feelings of inadequacy.

All of our insecurities can come from a lack of self-esteem. They stem from our self-talk revolving around negative thoughts, like self-doubt and questions about our self-image. We often feel insecure when we don’t value our well-being and practice self-care.

An insecure person could feel nervous, anxious, or hesitant about certain things. Whether that’s how well they can do multiplication or what their skateboarding skills are like, these feelings can consume you and prevent you from taking advantage of new opportunities. 

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3 types of insecurities

Since insecurities can touch many aspects of our lives, there are a few types to be familiar with. Here are three different types of insecurities to think about:

1. Personal insecurity

Personal insecurities are about how you look or sound and how others perceive you. These surface-level insecurities can seem superficial to someone observing from the outside — worrying about hair or clothing or an unwelcome blemish.

But they can be deeply felt by the individual and cause distress. Personal insecurities can even prevent us from pursuing relationships, career opportunities, or social connections — if we let them. 

They can stem from a lack of self-confidence because you care deeply about what people think of you. They often, but not always, relate to body image. 

Social media platforms often lead people to compare themselves to others and enhance their insecurities leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms like eating disorders and self-harm.

2. Professional insecurity

Professional insecurities happen at our workplaces and make people anxious and self-conscious to give presentations or speak up.

These insecurities can also fill people with self-doubt and cause them to believe they aren’t good enough for promotions or taking risks. It leads people to experience imposter syndrome and miss out on achieving their goals.

3. Relationship insecurity

Relationship insecurities are common and can occur in any relationship. They make you feel like you don’t deserve your partner and that someone else will make them happier.

These insecurities can lead to jealousy, arguments, and dominating behavior. Relationship insecurities can be caused by past experiences with previous partners or other friends and family members if they’ve caused any trauma.

What are the consequences of insecurities?

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We all have our down days, but too much negativity can make a profound impact on your life. It harms our physical health and mental health. Since our insecurities stem from our self-esteem, when we have many insecurities that take over our minds, it causes low self-esteem. 

Our low self-esteem can make us more prone to mental health issues like increased anxiety, depression, and more. When our self-worth is low and fragile, we don’t believe in ourselves. This can lead to us abandoning our dreams or living inside our comfort zones. 

Having a positive self-image is empowering, but we can be too hard on ourselves when that’s taken away. It can cause people to throw their self-compassion out the window.

Even narcissists are insecure. People who suffer from narcissism are often flexing to compensate for their insecurities. 

Insecurities are also troublesome for our relationships. Feeling insecure can cause other feelings of distrust, anger, and even resentment towards our friends, family, and partners. This behavior creates tension for everyone and is unhealthy if left unresolved. 

Insecurities don’t have any right to rule your life. If you’re looking for help overcoming your insecurities, then get in touch with one of our coaches at BetterUp. We’d love to help you gain perspective and learn to live a life beyond your insecurities.

What causes insecurity?

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We need to know what causes our insecurities and where they come from to overcome them. It can be challenging to pinpoint exactly where each of our insecurities originates, but better understanding the causes of insecurities can help us move past them.

Research has shown that 40% of our happiness comes from how we experience recent life events. Failure in any aspect of life can fill people with self-doubt, negatively impacting their self-esteem and confidence. 

Imagine if your boss passed you over for an outstanding promotion at work that you’ve worked hard to achieve. This failure would crush you, and your self-esteem would take a big hit.

Failure can lead to a harsher inner critic if the feeling goes unresolved. You may strive for perfectionism because you won’t feel confident or satisfied without it.

Social anxiety also causes insecurities. When people lack confidence in social situations like family parties, business meetings, interviews, and dates, they feel afraid of how people perceive them.

Are they judging my shoes? Do they think my laugh is too loud? Did I say something stupid? These are all thoughts that someone insecure could have. 

Social anxiety can be caused by past experiences such as bullying, being rejected by loved ones, and other incidents of people judging you too harshly.

After negative past experiences, accepting ourselves and our mistakes is difficult. But our confidence won’t improve if we don’t practice better self-acceptance. 

10 tips to overcome insecurities

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Since everyone has different insecurities, there is no universal way to stop being insecure. You might need to try new strategies if some don’t work the best for you. Keeping that in mind, here are 10 tips to help you overcome your insecurities:

  1. Confront your feelings rather than avoid them.
  2. Have a growth mindset and set solid goals.
  3. Prepare yourself for setbacks but don’t let them control you.
  4. Embrace all of your characteristics and passions.
  5. Challenge your negative thoughts and think critically.
  6. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people.
  7. Listen to other people’s stories about overcoming their insecurities.
  8. Try new things that make you happy.
  9. Let go of people and situations that fuel your insecurities.
  10. Be proud of your progress, no matter how big or small it is.

Final thoughts

If you’re struggling with insecurities or lost in your quest for higher self-esteem, try BetterUp. 

When you work with a BetterUp coach, we help guide you to identify the causes of your insecurities and how best to move past them. You can always try a free session and see how a BetterUp coach can work with you.

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Published February 25, 2022

Shonna Waters, PhD

Vice President of Alliance Solutions

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