The 3 most common causes of insecurity and how to beat them…
Adopted from Psychology Today Written by Melanie Greenberg Ph.D
Do you find yourself feeling filled with self-doubt and short on confidence? Despite your accomplishments, do you feel like a fraud destined to be exposed? Do you feel that you don’t deserve lasting love and that partners will inevitably leave you? Do you stay at home, afraid to venture out and meet new people because you don’t feel you have enough to offer? Do you feel overweight, boring, stupid, guilty, or ugly?
Most of us feel insecure sometimes, but some of us feel insecure most of the time. The kind of childhood you had, past traumas, recent experiences of failure or rejection, loneliness, social anxiety, negative beliefs about yourself, perfectionism, or having a critical parent or partner, can all contribute to insecurity. Following are the three most common forms, and how to begin to cope with them.
Type 1: Insecurity Based on Recent Failure or Rejection
Recent events in our lives can greatly affect both our mood and the way we feel about ourselves. Research on happiness suggests that up to 40% of our “happiness quotient” is based on recent life events.
The biggest negative contributor to happiness is the ending of a relationship, followed by the death of a spouse, job loss, and negative health events. Since unhappiness also influences your self-esteem, failure and rejection can deliver a double whammy to your confidence. In his book “Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure and Other Everyday Hurts”, Psychology Today blogger Guy Winch states that rejection inevitably leads us to see both ourselves and other people more negatively, at least for a time. And those of us who have lower self-esteem to begin with are more reactive to failure. It’s as if an experience like losing your job grabs old negative beliefs about your self-worth and activates them. It may help to understand that failure is a nearly ubiquitous experience: Before becoming president, Abraham Lincoln lost his job, was defeated for nomination to Congress, and failed at least twice in Senate bids. Persevering despite setbacks can lead to eventual successes, which raises your self-esteem.
Below are some tools you can use to overcome failure- or rejection-based insecurity:
1. Give yourself time to heal and adapt to the new normal.
2. Get out and engage with life, following your interests and curiosity.
3. Reach out to friends and family for distraction and comfort.
4. Get feedback from people you trust.
5. Persevere and keep moving towards your goals.
6. Be willing to try a different strategy if necessary.
Continued next week
∑ Winch, Guy Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts (Plume, 2014)
∑ Greenberg M. (2015) Six Mental Health Habits That Will Wear You Down
Dr. Jozelle Miller