Life & Stuff · Mental Health

What are Insecurities?

Most of us have heard of insecurities but I think some of us are confused as to what our insecurities are and how they can show up in our lives.

So, here are my thoughts on insecurities to help you get to know yours more and hopefully begin to tackle them.

 

Fears

In a nutshell, insecurities are just fear. Many of the uncomfortable things in life can be reduced down to being fear. Our insecurities stem from one or more fears that we have.

The fear of not being smart enough.

The fear of failure.

The fear of letting others down.

The fear of being inadequate.

One of my biggest insecurities is my intelligence. This, when broken down, is just a fear that I’m not as smart as those around me. That I’m not clever enough to be a successful writer. That I’m an imposter in my industry.

Fear, fear, fear…

 

Limits or weaknesses (true or not)

Our insecurities are usually around a limit or weakness that we have about ourselves or our lives, whether they are true or not.

You can feel insecure about money because you’ve never made a lot. You can be insecure about your intelligence (like me) because you don’t have a university degree which is a “limit” or “lack” that you feel you have in yourself and your life.

If you’re not good at something (or think you’re not) you feel insecure about that thing. You feel like you’re stacked up for failure and so you’re afraid of that thing and what it means about you to even try.

 

Beliefs

Insecurities are largely about our belief systems. What we believe to be true about ourselves or our lives. It’s this story that we tell ourselves (over and over) about who we are and what we’re capable of.

“I’m fat and always will be.”

“I’m just not as smart as other people, I don’t take in information.”

“I can never make as much money as I’d like to because of XYZ.”

It’s this narrative that we hold on to and believe more than we should, allowing it to manifest as this big fear, this big limit, this big weakness that then controls our lives.

“Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.”

 

Not Enough

Any narrative in your head that involves the word “enough” is usually an insecurity.

Not cool enough.

Not smart enough.

Not educated enough.

Not brave enough.

Not pretty enough.

…enough…

Insecurities are the song of not enough. Feeling like there’s something missing or wrong within you that sets you against the grain and makes you less-than compared to others. It’s the all-time favourite thing we all do called the Comparison Game.

 

Self-Doubt

And of course, this all comes down to self-doubt. Feeling like you aren’t equipped to do something or be something. Doubting your ability and fearing what it would mean to try your hand at something.

 

How do our insecurities show in our lives?

This is how to spot your own insecurities:

  • Shame: Any time you feel the burning cheeks and racing heart of shame, that may be because your insecurities are being highlighted. For me, that shame may arise when proved wrong about something or feeling like I have no idea what people are talking about and thus feeling this shame narrative of “you’re not smart enough“.
  • Emotional Triggers: It’s not just about shame. When other emotions like sadness, anxiety, anger, jealousy or the like arise, that could be a sign of a insecurity being prodded.
  • People are mirrors: They say that what you judge or hate in others, can be a sign of something you dislike within yourself or fears and limits of your own. You can read about this in my confidence post.
  • Inner Dialogue: It’s important to pay attention to your thoughts. They aren’t always worth our time, of course, but sometimes negative thoughts run wild, thus highlighting insecurities and fears that we have. So, pay attention and find the reoccurring thoughts.
  • Puffing Up & Shrinking: Any time you feel compelled to defend yourself by puffing up and bragging, may highlight an insecurity. This could be saying, “actually I am a great writer because so-and-so read my work and loved it. When have you written anything read by people all around the world?” This is puffing up because you feel threatened and your insecurity has been triggered. The opposite is also true. If you shrink down when something is said, it can mean you feel insecure, too.

 

Insecurities suck. We all have them. We all have doubts, fear, limits, beliefs, and emotions that sit with us for a long time. The important thing to do is be aware of them, though, so that you can deal with them better and recognise them when they arise.

Good luck x

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