How to Overcome Insecurity

Insecurity is a fairly common feeling. Nevertheless, it's also a source of a great deal of discomfort and prevents personal growth. Let's take a look at what it is and how to overcome it.
How to Overcome Insecurity
Sara Clemente

Reviewed and approved by psychologist and journalist Sara Clemente.

Written by Sara Clemente

Last update: 30 September, 2022

Insecurity can have various origins. However, one of its fundamental causes is a lack of self-confidence. We’ve all felt insecure at some time or another in certain situations. When you feel this way, you’re afraid of failing, being disapproved of or rejected, or showing yourself up.

This psychological dimension is one of the most recurrent in the general population. In fact, insecurity is behind states such as feelings of rejection, loneliness, social anxiety, and even low self-esteem. The factors that determine it can range from childhood trauma to poor management of social skills.

Nevertheless, it’s possible to overcome insecurity. In this way, you’ll be able to rise up as a more confident, competent, and valuable person.

“One way to boost our willpower and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.”

-Daniel Goleman-

If you think that you lack drive or temperance in your social relationships, don’t hesitate to start training your confidence. File down the edges of your insecurities and start to fit in, whatever the situation you find yourself in. 

Personal insecurity: causes and characteristics

Everything that happens in your life shapes you. While it’s true that genetics and biology predispose you to show a more or less confident and assertive character or be more or less extroverted, you’re also shaped by the events that occurred in your past.

  • A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, and conducted by Dimitros Ballos and Danny Dorling of the University of Sheffield (UK), explained that 40 percent of our ‘happiness quotient’ is based on recent life events. Therefore, if you experience failure, abandonment, or a deep disappointment, it’s common to develop a certain feeling of insecurity.
  • In addition, factors such as social anxiety and the constant anguish of being evaluated by others also make you feel insecure. This type of anxiety is often also mediated by the life events mentioned above. Thus, an authoritarian, critical, and even abusive upbringing and education will shape an insecure profile.
  • Another explanation for insecurity is that it’s driven by perfectionism. Indeed, if you scold yourself for not being good enough, you’re demonstrating deep insecurity. This can lead you to suffer from certain psychological disorders.
boy with insecure face

What are insecure people like?

Insecure people demonstrate a number of characteristic signs. As a rule, they tend to seek the approval of others, in order to feel secure in some way.

  • They tend to be defensive and don’t accept criticism. That’s because they consider it to be an attack on themselves. Consequently, it’s difficult to have a constructive conversation with an insecure person.
  • Insecure people who don’t know how to manage their insecurity often have a peculiar ability. In fact, they make others also feel insecure and question themselves.
  • They’re unable to keep quiet and tend to fill any silences with unnecessary talk. That’s because they feel uncomfortable with their own thoughts as they don’t have a particularly positive opinion of themselves.
  • Curiously, they tend to joke a lot. Indeed, they seek to make others laugh. Nevertheless, at the same time, they tend to be too insensitive toward others, making fun of both them and themselves, in an attempt at attracting attention.
  • They have a tendency to be egoistic and constantly promote themselves. They do this because they need validation from other people.

“Arrogance is the camouflage of insecurity.”

-Tim Fargo-

On the other hand, insecure people are highly competitive and can’t stand defeat. At the same time, they’re too authoritarian and compensate for their lack of trust by taking out their frustrations on their subordinates, especially people who are too docile.

In relationships, insecure people are jealous and often abusive, as they lack trust in their partners. This leads to mistrust and constant altercations with members of the opposite sex.

How to overcome insecurity

It was the psychologist Alfred Adler who coined the term ‘inferiority complex’. With this concept, he defined those people who see themselves with the constant need to ‘fight for their ‘superiority’. They sabotage the feelings of others to make them feel small because they secretly feel small themselves.

If you recognize this need in yourself, it’s time to change. Here are some tips to help you overcome insecurity.

Think positively

Change the direction of your thoughts and orient them toward positivity. Gradually, you’ll discover how this approach allows you to overcome fears, emptiness, and anguish. Be as critical of yourself as you are with others, but don’t let it paralyze you.

Woman overcoming insecurity

Overcome your weaknesses

Understand that it’s impossible to achieve perfection. Get to know your weaknesses, accept them, and then transform them and make them work to your advantage. Think about your strengths and develop strategies that allow you to bring about a change and go forward calmly and confidently.

Don’t compare yourself with others as this only provokes jealousy and insecurity. Be proud of who you are. You’re you, different and special, that’s why you don’t need to take anyone else as a reference. Neither should you feel inferior.

Share your thoughts

Share your negative emotions with your closest friends and family. Don’t hold back your feelings. Make sure you express your insecurities honestly, with people who care about you. They’ll be able to help you feel a little more secure every day and to go through those situations or experiences that you need to work on with you.

Say no to paranoid or nonsense ideas

“If I do this I’m sure it’ll all go wrong. They’re looking at me like that because they’re making fun of me and they think I’m a failure.” If you realize you’ve entered a cycle of obsessive and paranoid thoughts, it’s time to put a stop to them. They don’t take you anywhere positive. They only limit you and make you feel small.

Start to speak positively. It’ll help you improve yourself and take control.

Have fun

Relax and have fun. Learn to disconnect in order to find yourself. Maintain an internal balance and talk to your insecure mind and the fears that inhabit it. Take steps to get rid of them. Tell them to go away because you need to be happy, to feel safe, worthy, and satisfied with everything you’re achieving and will continue to achieve.

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  • Naranjo M. Autoestima: un factor relevante en la vida de la persona y tema esencial del proceso educativo. Actualidades Investigativas en Educación [Internet]. 2007;7(3). Disponible en: https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/447/44770311.pdf