It is human nature to feel insecure at some point in your life. In doing so, we look at ourselves through the lenses of someone else and judge ourselves unfairly. But when we hold ourselves up to an unrealistic yardstick every day, we develop an inferiority complex that can be difficult to overcome. People who are insecure often reveal their self-doubt in little ways without realizing they are doing so:
Signs of insecurity in yourself or others:
- Unable to maintain eye contact when in conversation with another person
- Laughs nervously in social situations and/or at inappropriate times
- Is indecisive because they don’t want to make the wrong choice
- Will make too many excuses to explain themselves when making a decision
- Avoids giving personal opinions on topics so they won’t have to defend them
- Does not easily give compliments or accept them
- Makes jokes at their own expense by poking fun at themselves
- Has a tendency to apologize for things when no apology is necessary
Let’s face it – insecurity is an unattractive characteristic. And, failure to deal with it can have a damaging impact on your relationships and career. It can also lead to depression which creates another subset of problems. While coping with insecurity may seem to be difficult, following the strategies below may help to simplify the process:
Avoid people you feel insecure around.
If you have a friend or family member who has a habit of putting you down – whether subtly or blatantly – steer clear of them whenever possible. These people generally have their own insecurity issues and boost themselves up by putting others down. When avoidance is not possible, do the “sidestep shuffle” by asking questions about them and re-directing their self-serving interests elsewhere.
When hanging out with a group of people that make you feel unconfident and self-doubting, you need to ask yourself why. If it’s because you are typically shy and unsure of yourself in large groups, suck it up and get to know a couple of individuals so that you will feel more comfortable. If it’s because these people make you feel vulnerable and apprehensive, trust your gut and take a rain check.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
There are people all around us who will love and accept us for whoever we are, wherever we are. They may be family members, the next door neighbor, a high school friend, or a co-worker. The important thing is these people make us feel good about ourselves, and give us a new perspective on our lives. These are the folks you should be hanging out with – or at least talking to on a regular basis.
Be a good friend.
One of the best ways to find a friend is to be a friend. Don’t timidly wait for someone to invite you to lunch – step up and ask them first. If you’re wondering why an acquaintance hasn’t contacted you in a while, let her know that you’re thinking about her by giving her a call. Make new friends by joining groups or committees with similar interests. Volunteer organizations are one of the best and easiest ways to make new friends while doing community service.
Consult with a professional.
Consider talking with a counselor or therapist who can help you discover the issues behind your insecurities and develop an action plan to instill more self-confidence. To change how we feel emotionally about ourselves is not an easy task and often cannot be done without professional help. Sometimes there is an underlying issue such as an anxiety or personality disorder that prevents an individual from socializing or feeling good about themselves.
Next week we’ll take in-depth look at some of the causes of insecurity and how you can become more confident by mastering specific challenges and situations. It’s time to come out from behind the veil of uncertainty and enjoy life to the fullest!