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How to Overcome Insecurity

Two Parts:Adjusting Your PerspectiveTaking Action

We all deal with insecurity at some point or another; it's a natural way to try to gauge whether our ventures will be successful or end badly for us. In the case of trying to decide whether or not to jump the grand canyon on a motorbike, this is a very good quality. But in daily life, being too insecure to attempt even small tasks, such as speaking honestly to friends, limits your ability to enjoy the time you have on earth. Life is constantly changing and anything that is stable today may be broken or gone tomorrow. But if you make yourself powerful, you can always rebuild, overcome, and keep moving forward by your own will, and find happiness wherever you go. See Step 1 to be on your way to overcoming insecurity.

Part 1
Adjusting Your Perspective

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    Practice being objective. If you are feeling like you can't accomplish something, take a step out of yourself for a moment and imagine you are a completely different person. Think about what you would tell another person in your situation. For example, if you're nervous about going to a party where you don't know a lot of people or are interviewing for a new job, think about the advice you would give a person in a similar situation. If you look at it this way, you'll see that there's nothing to be scared about and that you will succeed if you put your mind to it.
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    Write down your fears. Write down all of the things that you are worried about, and all of the factors that make you feel like you can't accomplish a thing. Read them over and ask yourself how many of them are rational, and how many are just a product of negative thinking. Take the time to really think of what's at the root of your fears -- whether it's making a fool of yourself, disappointing your parents, or not having the life you want. See how many of your fears you can tackle, and how many positive solutions you can think of for all of the things that are worrying you.
    • It's perfectly natural to be afraid of failure or of coming off looking bad. Everybody has these fears from time to time. It's unnatural, however, to be so plagued with worry that you feel like you can't get a single thing done.
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    Remember all of the success you've had. Instead of focusing on all the times you embarrassed yourself, failed at something, or just looked silly, you should take a long hard look at all the times that you've done really well. Think of the success you've had in school, the great friendships you've maintained, or just of random times when you made a group of people crack up because of your winning sense of humor. The more great times you remember, the more confidence you'll have that you can have more of them in the future.
    • It can be helpful to write down each of your successes after they happen. Keep a success journal at your desk and fill it up with proud achievements and fond memories. When you feel incapable of anything and feel like you can't do anything right, you can look over your list and remember what an awesome, capable person you are.
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    Ask yourself, "What's the worst that could happen?" And be honest with your answer. If you get a new haircut and a few people don't like it, then it's unlikely to end of the world. If you absolutely hate it, then guess what -- hair grows. Don't let these silly worries stop you from trying something different. Once you realize that the worst isn't really that bad, you'll be more likely to be dynamic and to take risks.
    • If you cannot tell when your responses stop being reasonable and start being ridiculous, try running it by someone whose sensibility you trust. They should be able to tell you if your worst case scenario is feasible or overthought.
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    Now ask yourself, "What's the best thing that could happen?" This is something insecure people don't do nearly enough. Let's say you're nervous about going on a first date with someone you're set up with. The best thing that can happen is that you and the person hit it off, and begin a meaningful and satisfying relationship. Isn't this worth going on the date for? Though the best thing ever isn't always likely to happen, having it on the table can help you approach new tasks with a positive mindset.
    • Before you set out to do something new, you can even write down the best thing that can happen, or the best three things that can happen, so they are fresh in your mind when the time comes.
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    Remember your positive qualities. To keep yourself feeling secure, you need to keep your positive qualities in the forefront of your mind. Make a list of all of the things you love about yourself, from your friendliness to your intelligence, and keep it at the forefront of your mind whenever you engage with someone. Insecure people tend to focus only on the worst parts about themselves, which leads them to feel unhappy with who they are.
    • By only looking at the negative things that are distinct about yourself, you focus on them and neglect your positive qualities. If you have been hard on yourself for a long time, it can be difficult to think of anything worthwhile about yourself at first.
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    Practice positive self-talk. It is especially hard to notice negative self-talk if you have been doing it for a long time. If you're always telling yourself that you're a loser, a failure, or that you can't do anything right, then you're bound to feel that way forever. Instead, work on telling yourself positive things about yourself so you're more likely to attack new tasks with a healthy mindset and a desire to do well.
    • A helpful exercise to get you more comfortable with positive self-talk and to rein in your self-abuse is to tell yourself two sincerely nice things about yourself for every negative thing. They don't have to be related.
      • For example, if you burn your tongue because you didn't wait long enough for your coffee to cool off and swear, "Idiot! That was a stupid move," at yourself, you must then remind yourself, "But I do play tennis pretty well, and I have a great sense of humor." It may seem odd, but you are shifting your attitude when you praise yourself.
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    Question why you tell yourself no. Start saying yes more often. Instead of telling yourself all the reasons why you want to say no to a new experience, try running through what might happen if you said yes. Even if all of your no answers are true, the yes scenario could lead to new and unexpected things. If you get a little hurt after saying yes to a new experience, you can recover and you have a new experience under your belt than if you had simply said no. If nothing comes of it at all, you can be happy to think that you are the kind of positive and outgoing person who is willing to try new things.
    • Say a distant friend of yours from your music class approaches you and tells you they want to start a band, and they'd like you to join. Your automatic response might be "No way, I've never been in a band and you certainly don't seem to know how to make a successful one -- besides, I don't think of myself as a musician and I don't have time with classes and..."
      • In this way of thinking, before anything has gone anywhere, you have already shut yourself down and denied any exploration into the potential of the idea. You could bond with that friend and their friends, get an interesting experience out of it, and have a new story to tell. Say yes and see where it leads you .

When insecure about your relationship, try applying some of the above steps. Also, finding self-happiness works well too. If you're a generally happy person, chances are you'll make other people and your partner happy; hence, leading you to confidence and away from insecurity.

Part 2
Taking Action

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    Keep nurturing company. Pay attention to the friends you keep and their attitudes about others, themselves, and you. If you start noticing that the majority of your friends are highly critical, criticizing clothing, body, decisions, speech, or behavior on a daily basis, you may want to seek less judgmental friends. Try instead to find people who have nice things to say about others and are not quick to pass judgement.
    • While having a few negative friends is perfectly fine, if you are surrounded by negativity, even if it is not directed at you, you are absorbing its effects. Even if your friend is pointing out the stupid looking hairstyle on someone else, if you happen to like that hairstyle, now you are feeling as though you were mistaken and losing confidence in your own opinion.
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    Be more forgiving of others. Do not be quick to pass judgment, yourself. Trying to put others down may seem like it raises you up, but really, every time you knock someone else down, you are also criticizing a quality you possess and are knocking yourself down, too. Instead, raise others up. Not only will you have better luck making friends and having meaningful relationships, but you will also be elevating yourself.
    • If you find yourself condemning other's failures or decisions, think about why you are doing so. If your initial thought is "because they're wrong," think a little harder. Why is it wrong? In what context? Is it your cultural background or how you were raised that makes you think so?
    • Would someone from another country or cultural background feel the same way? Just because someone is doing something differently than you would or is living in a way you would not choose, it does not automatically make them wrong.
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    Do one thing that excites you every day. It doesn't have to be dangerous -- just go to a part of town you've never been to on your own and go into a random store. See what you find there. Try talking to the clerk. The more new and exciting experiences you rack up, the more likely you are to be excited by life instead of being scared of new things or new people. If you know that you're capable of doing exciting things every day, then you'll stop thinking that anything you try will end in failure.
    • If you're self-conscious about your image, try going to a clothing store somewhere out of the norm and trying on a bunch of clothes that you know don't suit your tastes. Laugh to yourself at your appearance in the mirror. You may actually find something that unexpectedly suits you. If not, you have your own familiar clothes which may seem a bit less ridiculous now. Just try new things as often as you can!
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    Address the flaws you can address. If you hate your freckles or the sound of your own voice, then there may not be too much you can do about it. If you have flaws you can't change, you have to work on accepting them. But if there are things you can change about yourself, such as how easily you get stressed out, your lack of compassion, or your lack of conviction, then you need to take some steps to work on the things you can work on. Sure, we are all born with a certain disposition and it's hard to transform yourself completely, but you can definitely work on improving the qualities that you can improve.
    • If you take action to improve the things you don't like about yourself, you'll be on your way to feeling more secure in no time.
    • Nobody said it was easy to figure out what you want to change about yourself and then to go for it. But this is better than the alternative: forever bemoaning the things you don't like about yourself without lifting a finger to do something about it.
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    Stop comparing yourself to other people. One of the best ways to guarantee that you'll be insecure is to compare yourself to the people you know, or even to the people you see on television. If you do that, you're sure to find a way to make yourself feel ugly, poor, unsuccessful, or a number of other unflattering things just because you feel like you can never measure up to other people. Instead, focus on the things that would make your life better by your own standards, not by anyone else's.
    • If you try hard enough, you'll always be able to find someone who is healthier, wealthier, and wiser than you are. But chances are, there are many people who wish they were more like you in some ways, too. The grass is always greener, and the person who you may think is perfect and has it all together may be wishing he or she were someone else.
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    Talk it out with a close friend. One way to overcome your insecurities is to talk them over with a close friend. Having someone who knows and understands you can help you get an unbiased perspective, and can make you feel like your worries or fears are irrational. A good friend will cheer you on, tell you that you can achieve your goals, and can help you dispel any of the negativity and doubt that surrounds your life.
    • Sometimes, talking something out is half the battle to solving it. You may be feeling worse because you've been bottling your insecurities up inside you.
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    Work to excel at something. If you want to feel better about yourself, then one way to do it is to be good at something. It can be dancing, writing short stories, painting, telling jokes, or being a whiz at foreign languages. It doesn't matter what it is; what matters is that you've devoted enough time and energy into something that you can say, "Hey, I'm really good at this." Making the effort to succeed at something and making the commitment to do it regularly can definitely help you feel good about yourself.
    • To be clear, you shouldn't aim to be the best soccer player on the field or the sharpest student in math class to impress other people. You should do it to make yourself proud.
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    Learn to laugh at yourself. In general, people who are insecure take themselves pretty seriously. They are always worrying about failing or embarrassing themselves. People who have a good sense of humor about themselves and understand that everyone makes a fool of himself from time to time tend to be more secure, because they accept that they will mess up sometimes and are okay with it. You should learn to laugh at yourself, and to make jokes if something didn't go as planned, instead of worrying about coming off looking good all the time. It'll be a big relief to face the day with more laughter and less worries about everything going perfectly.
    • This doesn't mean that you should be super self-deprecating and laugh at your own expense all the time. But it does mean that you should treat yourself more lightly and with more forgiveness; if you laugh at yourself, people will feel more comfortable around you because they won't be afraid of offending you all the time, and you'll find that you feel more comfortable with yourself in return.
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    Get as much information as you can. One reason you may be feeling insecure is because you hate dealing with uncertainty. You may not know what to expect at a party, in a new class, or during a trip where you won't know many people. While you can't predict what may happen in a given situation, you can make yourself feel a bit better by gathering more information about it so you feel a bit more in control. This will help you feel more secure about what's going to happen.
    • For example, if you're going to a party, try to find out who will be there, what kind of things people will do there, what the dress code will be, etc, so that you feel like you have a better sense of what to expect.
    • If you're worried about giving a presentation, make sure you know how many people will be there, what the room will look like, who else will be presenting, and so on, so that there are less X factors for you to worry about.
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    Remember that you're not alone. You may feel like you're the only person in the world who is constantly doubting himself or who feels like he doesn't quite measure up. However, you have to remember that everyone has felt insecure at one time or another, even supermodels or extremely successful businessmen. Insecurity is just a part of life, and if you stop feeling insecure about your insecurity, you'll already be on your way to feeling better! Everyone has something that he or she is insecure about, and your doubts are perfectly normal. Knowing this can already put you on the path to feeling better.


  • Pick up a hobby or activity you have interest in and practice as often as possible. It can be something you do by yourself or with a group. Even if you aren't very good at the beginning or don't feel you're a pro after a while, you are giving yourself another trait, and if with a group, building relationships. Regularly playing a sport, hiking, knitting, reading, photography, painting, playing an instrument, collecting insects, learning a language or computer software, or volunteering in your community are all good examples.
  • If someone is criticizing you, take a step back and think objectively- "Is what they're saying valid? Have they thought about this from a number of different angles? Do they understand my side of things? Are they offering me a solution or just trying to make me feel inferior?" Put yourself in their shoes.
  • If you're embarrassed, laugh at yourself and try to be happy. Getting angry or silently beating yourself for a long while after only destroy your chances of enjoying what you're doing, and will leave you sore about the whole situation from then on. If you laugh, you can move on and keep trying to have fun.
  • Try to help others even if it is 'Simple' in ways - "It gives you a sense of confidence & that you are valued. communicating doing/working things together brings a sense of motivation & joy inside. Make yourself wanted to others as well as yourself.
  • Stay busy and try to be occupied with life right now. Then you won't have a lot of free time on your hands to think about sad thoughts.


  • Self confidence takes a long time to nurse back to health and will often fluctuate. It may take years before you realize you have changed at all. Just believe that you are changing and do your best.

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Categories: Managing Negative Feelings