They make you needy, paranoid, self-conscious and fearful – this is not how we want to live life.
Let’s first define what an insecurity is from my perspective:
When your actions and thoughts are evolved around seeking approval from external sources.
At this point in time this for me sums up what an insecurity is; essentially when your fundamental thought process and emotional state is dependent on impressing others.
As a result of this we end up performing actions with the intention of pleasing others instead of ourselves.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress up nicely or to make someone like you, however, when you start to craft your life around it a fundamental problem arises; you are not living life for you.
I had this issue myself – I was heavily influenced by other people and had a need to always want to impress.
For example, my insecurities were one of the underlying reasons I was fixated on getting big, strong, and pursuing a corporate career; I thought it would impress others and achieve what was expected of me.
Admittedly these insecurities did give me a huge drive to want to make me successful. That being said, it did not contribute to happiness, which is far more important.
If you feel that you are often constantly thinking about what others think of you and/or constantly try to impress them you made be somewhat insecure – this is completely normal – even I am still a bit insecure! However, I have come a long way mentally from where I used to be and have felt a lot happier and freer as a result.
So how did I stop being insecure?
First and foremost I was honest and aware of myself and made a conscious effort to not only embrace the idea that I could be insecure but to also actively work on it.
If you think you may be insecure and want to overcome it, take a step back at the end of each day and reflect on your thoughts and actions.
Below are the 3 questions which I have found have helped me out the most along with the reasoning as to how:
Am I doing what I am doing for me?
Think about the things you do any why. For example, are you going to the gym because you want to truly become the best version of yourself or are you doing it to look good to impress others around you? I used to be that guy who would do the same exercise as someone else, try and lift more, and hope they notice (sad I know…)
In a lot of instances the same action on the surface can have different underlying intentions; working hard to impress your boss is completely fine provided you are not dependent on his approval – it only becomes an issue when you feel incomplete without it.
Did I feel a need to over exaggerate and/or boast?
This is one of the most common traits which is the most evident, clear, but easiest to actively work on.
I am still prone to this; on paper I am fairly accomplished, and would always try to name drop bits and pieces of my achievements throughout daily conversations… Sure you should be proud of your achievements, but do you need to tell everyone about just how amazing you are in everyday scenarios?
Restricting yourself from unnecessary bragging is great to tackle the issue of wanting to impress everyone around you and helping you appreciate that you do what you do for you and not anyone else.
(Also, bragging also often makes you come across as arrogant and cocky too – it would not be bad to cut back on it regardless!)
The good thing about this trait is that it is easy to identify and stop in its path; when you’re in a conversation with someone and they mention something which you could use to show yourself off, take a step back and think to yourself: ‘does this person really need to know my CV?‘ In most instances the answer is no; use it as an opportunity to overcome your need to impress.
Did I judge someone for something I wouldn’t do?
This is an interesting one; you may be thinking how judging someone may show signs of insecurities:
Often it shows that you want people to think and act the same way as you as you want to be sure that you will be accepted and embraced by other people.
This was ridiculously relevant to me; I used to get so annoyed when others would not agree or align with my thoughts and opinions and I didn’t know why. In hindsight, my inner need to seek approval from others explains a lot…
Work on understanding that everyone has had different exposures to each other; different things make us happy, sad, excited, fearful etc. – appreciate that everyone has their own thoughts and feelings and has no effect on you; no one needs to think, act, or be the same.
If someone does not agree with you then so be it; it does not mean you’re no less or more of a person.
Be open and acknowledge others thoughts, opinions and actions, but do not try to change yourself just to be in line with someone else if you don not fundamentally agree with it.
The underlying theme here is to be independent: at the core you should be emotionally stable and complete.
Imagine your emotional state is a cup of water: if you are only able to fill it half way and need others to fill it up you will start to emotionally depend on them; this leads to you becoming needy of them which leads to developing insecurities as you want to impress them to ensure they stay in your life.
Instead, fill your own cup up to the top then let others overflow the cup; you are you and not anyone else.
Think and act independently to everyone else and be proud and secure of who you are.
Need more help overcome insecurities? Check my free guide on more actionable steps to overcome insecurities.
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