When the lack of confidence invades: emotional insecurity

· July 29, 2018

Navigating through life with emotional insecurity is a heavy burden. Doubting everything, especially doubting ourselves, is a great impediment to personal happiness. Walking through life fearfully while lacking confidence and unable to make decisions is like trying to balance on a tightrope while juggling a thousand things.

This insecurity may have been with us since we were children. It can be the result of an unhappy childhood. Maybe we didn’t feel protected or safe as children. On the other hand, maybe our insecurity arose from the opposite side of the spectrum. Maybe our parents overprotected us when we were young, which made us feel inferior and invalid. Insecurity can also arise from highly impactful traumatic situations.

Emotional insecurity is the greatest enemy of progress, the biggest hindrance to self-esteem, and the largest obstacle to building strong relationships. If we let emotional insecurity invade our minds, criticism and an endless cycle of self-doubt will take over. However, we can protect ourselves so that this doesn’t happen. If we’re already feeling emotionally insecure, we can begin to rebuild our security. Let’s dive deeper.

“Mistrust is the mother of insecurity.”

-Aristophanes-

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What is emotional insecurity?

Emotional insecurity arises from constantly doubting our own abilities, feelings, and the way we act. It’s a state of constant doubt that paralyzes us. When we’re emotionally unstable we require validation from other people in order to achieve a sense of false happiness.


We can’t forget that insecurity and uncertainty are just a part of life. In fact, the Spanish philosopher and essayist Ortega Y Gasset would say that radical insecurity can cease to exist at any time. The problem is that we’re not always aware of our insecurities. We spend our time planning and organizing, creating illusions of the future. We’re so certain that everything will happen as we expect. Suddenly, when everything breaks into a thousand pieces, we have to pick up the pieces and start a new plan.

Living with some insecurity

Knowing that everything can change in a matter of seconds can help us to live more intensely. However, this doesn’t mean that we adopt insecurity as a friend or companion. Rather, we simply take the idea of insecurity into account. We have to be comfortable with the idea that insecurity or uncertainty can sneak in at any time. The best thing we can do is be prepared to face it when it does come.

Does this mean that it’s better to be insecure and not taking anything for granted? No, all we’re saying is that it’s best to avoid living in an imaginary perfect world where nothing goes wrong. Excess emotional insecurity is harmful. In addition to invalidating our self-confidence, emotional insecurity can expand to all areas of our life. How do we go on when we’re not sure of anything?

The important thing is to know how to differentiate between general insecurity and extreme emotional insecurity. Emotional insecurity is a much more specific state that has to do with us and how we value ourselves. Emotional security sticks with us and makes us see life in an entirely different way. It causes is not to trust ourselves and makes us seek validation from others in order to feel good.

What characteristics do emotional insecure people have?

To better understand the world of emotional insecurity and how it affects us, it’s important to know what it means to be an insecure person. Here are some of the most common characteristics of emotionally insecure people. They are the following:

  • Fear of criticism, judgments, and assessments from others.
  • Constant need to show their achievements and receive praise in order to feel valid and capable.
  • Tendency to be perfectionistic and competitive.
  • They’re usually defensive.
  • Have low self-esteem.
  • They attempt to spread doubt and insecurity to others.
  • Frequently use false modesty.
  • They greatly distrust themselves.

“Distrust is a sign of weakness.”

-Indira Gandhi-

insecurity emotionally unstable

The mind of an emotionally insecure person

Insecure people tend to act and think as if they’re constantly fighting an internal war. This war is a struggle between their need to stand our and prove to other that they’re valid and their deep sense of disability and uselessness. In the most serious cases, when an emotionally insecure person feels as if nobody values them, they become invisible to themselves.

The Austrian psychoanalyst Alfred Adler proposed the concept of the inferiority complex to describe this type of person. He affirmed that insecure people maintain a constant struggle for superiority. This need for superiority can have a negative impact on their relationships. Their unhappiness makes others unhappy. In addition, Adler classified this type of behavior as typical of neuroses.

However, not all insecure people are classified in this way. Everything depends on how much they distrust their own abilities and achievements.

Keys to managing emotional insecurity

It’s possible to get rid of the constant self-doubt and insecurity that governs us. The important thing is to know that we must put the work in. However, if we’re used to underestimating ourselves this process will take some time.

Believing in ourselves is one of the strong pillars we can build to avoid falling back into the hole of emotional insecurity. In order to evade discomfort and relapse, we have to work at the process of recovery every day. To recover, we have to take a few things into account:

  • Avoid comparisons.
  • Accept both your weaknesses and strengths.
  • Don’t turn criticism into something personal.
  • Heal the wounds of the past. They create seeds of worry and constant doubt.
  • Develop a sense of humor.
  • Don’t seek approval from others.
  • Value each step you take in the right direction.
  • Give up the belief of having to be perfect.
  • Mind your internal dialogue.

Now you’re familiar with the path. Why not get started on your journey? Valuing ourselves is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give. Trusting in ourselves and our abilities will create immense personal growth.