Tips For Overcoming Insecurity And Learning How To Deal With It
By Julia Thomas
Updated December 20, 2018
Reviewer Debra Halseth, LCSW
Insecurity can be an awful beast. It can make people doubt themselves constantly, and it can ruin a relationship. This is especially true in the case of a brand-new relationship. Insecurity makes you doubt yourself constantly, which can put a strain on the relationship to the point of actually pushing your partner away.
It is certainly easier to define insecurity than to overcome it. One definition of insecurity is that it is, simply, a lack of confidence in oneself. A synonym for insecurity is "self-doubt." Another way to understand insecurity can be when one is completely unprotected in a certain situation, such as job insecurity, when a person is in danger of losing his or her job with little or no warning.
There are all kinds of insecurity, not just insecurity about one's relationship. A person can suffer from job insecurity, emotional insecurity about himself or herself, or feelings of insecurity or self-doubt in specific situations or around certain groups of people.
Both sexes can show signs of insecurity. Signs of insecurity in a woman are the same as those that can be exhibited by a man. He or she may be controlling or get jealous easily. S/he may put you down in front of your friends and family, or constantly ask for reassurance that s/he is good-looking, smart, funny, etc. He or she may also hold grudges and have difficulty with forgiveness because it makes him or she feels validated to hold onto that anger for as long as possible.
Causes Of Insecurity
What causes insecurity in a relationship? The answer is many things. The causes are important because understanding the cause can help one recognize triggers and overcome the insecure feelings by changing underlying negative beliefs.
Maybe we're insecure about our looks because we grew up being constantly told we were "fat" or "ugly." Maybe we're insecure about our partners cheating on us because our last partner did just that. Or maybe we're insecure about how smart we are because we keep comparing ourselves to what we believe to be smarter people.
According to Psychology Today, there are six main contributors to a person's insecurity. For instance, some people are born super-sensitive to impulses that can trigger their fight or flight reflex. These people are more likely to anticipate "bad" things happening to them in the future and are constantly ready for an attack. Hence, insecurity.
Other people are so deeply afraid of disappointing the people they love that they become hypervigilant, doing everything possible to stay in their loved ones' good graces. And, of course, childhood trauma is another catalyst that can drive insecurity, especially if, in the face of tragedy, they were left to lick their wounds, rather than comforted or supported.
How To Overcome Insecurity
One obvious signs of insecurity is to imagine the "worst case scenario" and then become convinced that is the reality. Have you ever envisioned a situation so utterly terrible and convinced yourself it was true, only for your friends and family to be like "are you crazy?". If so, then you know what it's like to let your insecurity get the best of you. Letting your imagination run wild always assuming the worst is the very definition of insecurity.
People who are insecure tend to terrify themselves with their distorted perceptions of reality. The best way to combat this is to face it. Write it down on a piece of paper. You can even have two sheets of paper in front of you: one labeled "Imagination" and the other labeled "Reality." Describe the situation that is currently scaring you on the Imagination sheet, and then write down what is happening right now on the Reality sheet.
Chances are, you'll discover that what you're imagining and what is happening could not be further from the truth. This is a great way to face your fears because you are looking right at them and saying to yourself: "I'm wrestling with some insecurity issues. Let's see how I can go about fixing that."
Nothing In Life Is Certain
Another helpful tip when learning how to deal with insecurity is the fact that nothing in life is certain, and when we try to nail down a certainty, we're only setting ourselves up for disappointment. You can make your partner promise every day, every half hour that he or she is never going to leave you and that yes, you two will be together until the end of time. But people change, life gets in the way, and even when we make promises, sometimes we can't keep them, through no fault of our own.
What is most important is that you live your life. Get everything you can out of every day you're here. Carpe diem. Because even if your partner has assured you time and again that he or she will be around forever, tragedy, divorce, and other unexpected situations can happen.
Constant Reassurance And A Lack Of Trust
The catch-22 of insecurity that can drive anyone crazy is that when a person is insecure, he or she is constantly looking for validation. However, because they are insecure, no matter how many times you tell them they're good enough, they don't believe you because they are incapable of trusting you. This can be incredibly frustrating for both parties. Since the insecurity is an internal sense of doubt, no amount of external validation will work. It is accepting oneself that is the validation that will change that insecure feeling.
When a person is insecure, he or she finds things within himself or herself not to like. So, of course, if you tell her she's pretty when she's been obsessing over her pimples all day, she's not going to believe you. She may even get mad at you, even if she just asked you if you still think she's pretty. It can feel like the person is putting up a brick wall that is next to impossible to knock down.
This is why the only true way to combat insecurity is to become comfortable in one's skin. A person has to learn to be happy with himself or herself the way he or she is, and that it truly doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about them, so long as they are happy with themselves.
Quotes About Insecurity
When dealing with insecurity, it can be helpful to know that you're not alone.
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity. - Robert A. Heinlein
Any fool knows that bravado is always a cover-up for insecurity. - Bobby Darin
Bigotry and judgment are the height of insecurity. - Jasmine Guy
"Perhaps we need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy. Sometimes we don't feel that way because of the wounds and the scars we carry from the past or because of the uncertainty of the future. It is doubtful that we came to feel undeserving on our own. We were helped to feel unworthy. We were taught it in a thousand ways when we were little, and we learned our lessons well." - Jon Kabat-Zinn
"Most men have an insecurity of some sort. But we're brought up to believe that we can't show them." - Luke Evans
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, to be gorgeous, talented, and fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be?" - Marianne Williams
The truth is, even the most beautiful, smartest, and seemingly happiest people can suffer from insecurities. But insecurity can be overcome so that you can get back to living your life the way it was meant to be lived. Do you regularly suffer from insecurity? Would you like some further guidance and support? Consider reaching out to one of our qualified counselors, who are available to help you get on the fast track to feeling better about yourself.