Insecurity is common. We all know what it feels like to want to share a thought in a meeting, introduce yourself to a new person, or raise your hand in school but feel too insecure to follow through. You might feel like you are not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, or any other form of “enough."
If you are struggling with insecurity, you are not alone. According to a study from the Education Policy Institute, self-esteem worsens throughout the teenage years and into adulthood. In teen girls, the percentage of participants who identified as having low self-esteem more than doubled from ages 11-14.
Fortunately, there are many tools to help you cope with feelings of insecurity, build self-esteem, and live a more confident life. Unsure where to start? Keep reading!
Acknowledge Your Self-Worth
Insecurity can stem from the perception that you are less worthy than those around you. You may feel less worthy of happiness, celebration, success, or achievement. However, in order to cope with and combat insecurity, acknowledging your inherent worth is important.
The raw truth is that human suffering is essentially universal. We all struggle in some way. That message can be difficult to sit with, but it is also vital for developing self-compassion. If you can recognize that you are not alone in your challenges, you may find it easier to acknowledge that you are as worthy of contentment as those around you.
Embrace the Reframe
Insecurity is often marked by a continuous stream of negative thoughts. If you want to speak in front of a class, you might think, “I am going to fail and embarrass myself.” These thoughts can be so powerful that they prevent you from even trying. You sabotage yourself before you even begin!
Learning to challenge and reframe your negative thoughts can be a powerful tool in coping with insecurity. When you find yourself in a negative thought pattern, can you find a way to shift the conversation? For example, if your thought is, “I am going to fail and embarrass myself,” could you try reframing that thought to something like “public speaking is difficult, and I am brave for trying.”
Simple reframes can have a huge impact on shifting your thoughts when you are struggling with insecurity. Over time, they can change your feelings entirely.
Become a Master
Mastery is all about taking small steps to build confidence. If you are struggling with insecurity, it might be helpful to work on developing a skill you already have. If you love to run, you might try to challenge yourself to a new running goal. If you play an instrument, can you add an extra few minutes of practice to your day?
You can also develop mastery with new things! If you’d like to read a new book, try reading just a few pages at a time. With any new hobby or skill, take baby steps. These baby steps allow you to build confidence as you are able to successfully accomplish each small goal!
With time, these smaller goals can help you cope with insecurity and increase self-esteem, confidence, and self-efficacy.
Share Your Feelings
Insecurity is common, and you are not alone. It may be helpful to speak to friends or family about how you are feeling. Try to focus on finding positive people and reaching out to them when you need additional support.
Make it a priority to schedule time with close and supportive people in your life. Schedule a phone call, make a plan to get lunch, or go for a walk together. Meaningful community and support can help when you are feeling insecure.
Recognize Triggering Environments
You may find that you feel more insecure in certain situations or environments. Noticing these circumstances can provide you with helpful information in coping with insecurity.
If you find that situations with lots of new people are stressful, it may be helpful to bring a friend. You may start to realize that certain environments or types of social interactions are more stressful than others- that insight is important!
The better you understand your triggers for insecurity, the more equipped you will be to identify the specific coping tools that work for you!
Talk to a Professional
If you are struggling with insecurity, talking to a mental health professional can help. Insecurity may stem from other issues, like depression, anxiety, or trauma. Therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals are here for you to provide support and strategies for coping with these related stressors.
Mental health professionals are trained to support you in developing the skills to reduce feelings of insecurity, increase self-esteem, and increase your coping skills for complex situations. Improving insecurity is possible, and help is available for you!
At The Mental Health House, we are here to support your journey towards great confidence and self-awareness. Contact us today to learn more!