“Insecurity kills all that is beautiful.”
With the pandemic and the state of the world at the moment, it can feel like we're constantly running on empty. But no matter how many challenges we face, nothing kills our drive, courage, and perseverance more than our insecurities & self-doubt do. The feeling that we're not good enough or not worthy of what we desire can keep us stuck in fear, making us run away from taking actions and sabotage our relationships and success. When we feel that we are not good enough, our fears of failure, rejection, and abandonment make us give up before we should - even if that is on the subconscious level - painting the worst case scenarios in our head, putting us in the fight or flight mode.
If you're reading this article, you must be aware of the power of your beliefs, the fleeting nature of your thoughts, and the connection between your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
What if you can learn to truly believe that you're good enough and stop judging and criticizing yourself? This article will provide you some guidance on how you can get rid of self-doubt and self-criticism so that you can live your life without being a prisoner of your own self-judgement. Get your pen and paper ready!
1. Write it all out.
Every now and then we may start feeling insecure and doubting ourselves. Writing our negative thoughts and fears down is the first step to recognize that this is something we’d like to work on.
Sometimes we may try to blank these thoughts and feelings out. But unless we pinpoint these and work through them, they will still be in our subconscious mind, secretly driving our actions.
So, what are some of the negative thoughts you have about yourself? They may not be present at all times. They may just pop up once in a while. But please write them down so that you can learn to understand them.
What are you insecure about? What do you fear?
- In what way do you sometimes feel inadequate? In what way do you feel that you’re not enough? In what way do you sometimes feel inferior to others?
These questions might bring out some emotions. Please let them come out. We will work through this together and build a strong foundation together.
2. Understand where these doubts and insecurities come from.
Each of our patterns has its roots because we were born as blank canvases. Now let’s figure out how we started developing these.
a) Was there any events in the past that created these insecurities and doubts within you?
We don't all start developing negative thoughts about ourselves and having insecurities on our own out of the blue. We started conceiving these ideas, perceptions, or judgements about ourselves through an event or multiple events in life - events that were painful.
Even if someone said something to you unintentionally, it doesn't matter. What matters is that someone said something to you or did something to you years ago and it's still stuck in your subconscious mind and makes you feel like you're not good enough.
- Maybe you had to work so hard in your childhood in order to gain love and approval from parents. But no matter how hard you tried, you were still told that you're not good enough.
- Maybe someone said that you were stupid when you failed a test at school.
- Maybe you've been bullied.
- Maybe someone said you were ugly or incapable.
The more important the person who said those negative things to you were, the more painful the experience must have been for you.
The bigger and deeper the wound is.
Please take a few minutes to think deeply about this. Look into your past. Who were you surrounded by whilst growing up? What kind of environment did you grow up in? What negative experiences did you go through that caused you to have this limiting belief?
b) Who said what?
- What did they say?
- When did they say this?
- Why did they say so? What’s the context?
c) What happened?
- Describe the experience that caused you pain.
- What belief or insecurity did you adopt as a result of having gone through this experience?
d) How have those words and experiences been affecting the way you live your life? How have they been limiting you or motivating you?
e) The person that criticized you, what insecurities do they have? What beliefs do they hold about themselves?
- What insecurities do they have? What beliefs do they hold about themselves?
- What beliefs do they hold about others and the world?
- How did their beliefs and insecurities affect yours? How much of your beliefs and insecurities are influenced by theirs?
- What are their fears? Beneath insecurities, there are fears.
- How do you think they project their fears and insecurities onto you and others?
Oftentimes, we can't change people. But we can change the way we receive, interpret, and process what's being said to us.
3. Learn to forgive and let go
How can you forgive that person for the experience?
There are three things you can do:
Firstly, understand that people project their beliefs and insecurities onto others especially those closest to them. They judge others based on their own limiting beliefs and perceptions they have about themselves and lives. What someone points out to make you feel insecure is actually what they feel insecure about within themselves.
Secondly, try to understand their circumstances and where they came from. How come they believe what they believe? What was their upbringing? What were their circumstances in life? What beliefs were they brought up in? What fears do they have and did their parents have? Put yourself in their shoes and be compassionate with them, understanding why they are the way they are.
Thirdly, focus on what you have learned and how you have grown from it. You wouldn't have gained the wisdom and strength without having gone through such event. So that's something you can be thankful for.
How can you forgive that person for what they said to you?
How can you let go of those words? It's been years. Why are you still holding onto them and let those words affect your life until today? That person probably forgot they ever said those words to you. Write those words into a piece of paper and throw it into the bin or burn it. Let it go.
4. Form new perceptions about yourself. Change your beliefs around what's important to make one worthy.
In order to start feeling more secure, you must change your beliefs around what makes one good enough.
Does having a double degree make one good enough? Does having a certain amount of money in one's bank account make one good enough? How did you come up with these benchmarks? Who told you these beliefs are true? You need to re-define your definition of success and happiness in your own terms. Forget what you were taught to believe.
Firstly, focus on building positive thoughts about yourself. What are your good traits? What are your strengths? What do your friends love about you? What do you love about yourself?
Secondly, try to improve yourself where you can so that you can feel more secure. What are you currently not happy with in life or don't like about yourself? Can you improve? While trying to improve yourself, focus on how proud you feel with your progress. Keep the positive self-perception going!
Thirdly, redefine your definition of a happy life. If you were completely secure within yourself, what would your life look like? What would you do? What would your happiest self look like - the self where you don't have any fear holding you back or sabotaging your relationships and success? Describe this version of yourself that you desire to be - emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Now is the time to focus on becoming this happy and secure version of you. Leave the past in the past. Focus on forming new perceptions about yourself and removing judgements based on other people's limiting beliefs. Read books that reinforce positive self-perception.
5. Avoid putting yourself in situations or surrounding yourself with people who make you feel even more insecure.
Your insecurities will keep popping up every now and then. As you work through this, try to avoid putting yourself in situations or surrounding yourself with people who make you feel even worse - whether it's because they also have the same negative perceptions about themselves, or, they are overly competitive and put you down.
6. Surround yourself with people who are secure within themselves; who uplift your spirit as well as theirs.
Energies, mindsets, and attitudes are contagious. The same goes with security and insecurity. When one person in a relationship feels insecure, it makes the other person feel insecure, and vice versa. Therefore, it's impossible to not have self-doubt if your friends have self-doubt. It's impossible to not feel motivated and inspired when you're surrounded by people who are secure within themselves and focus on their goals without doubts and fears.
Sometimes by surrounding ourselves with the right people (energy), it's enough to make us start trusting in ourselves, feeling that we're good enough, worthy enough, and capable enough.
We are the average of the 5 people we're closest to, so choose wisely. Overtime, our feelings, beliefs, and perceptions will be shaped by our environment.
If this is what you are working on, check out our Self-Esteem and Self-Acceptance Journals. They are designed to help you understand yourself better and improve in this area.