How to handle those awful pangs of insecurity (and feel confident again)

Insecurity is a plague. It begins almost imperceptibly — a tiny spot that unless worked through grows larger and larger until before you know it, it’s all consuming. Once insecurity has it’s grip on you it disables intuition and instincts. It’s a miserable, dark, painful feeling, but it’s a feeling we all confront. At some point or another we are all forced to face our insecurities and either believe the terrible lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, or find ways to kick their butt and own our truths.

I’ve sloshed through the muddy waters of insecurity throughout my life, sometimes being so nervous about who I was that I pretended to be someone else entirely. The problem with that is it’s exhausting to keep up a front, and if you’re not true to yourself the resulting feeling is always loneliness. If no one really knows you, how can you ever feel truly accepted and loved? More importantly, how can you ever love and accept yourself?

I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid feeling insecure. The prospect of acknowledging my insecurities has always felt daunting, if not terrifying. If I admitted that I felt insecure it meant that I was all of the things I was most afraid of. And then one day it dawned on me: it’s Ok to not know everything. It’s Ok to not totally like myself sometimes. It’s Ok to feel crappy and weird and out of place, but it isn’t Ok to allow those little bouts of self doubt to define how I feel about myself as a whole.

It’s tiring always being mean to yourself. And it doesn’t do much for you, does it? What would happen if instead of looking in the mirror for everything you dislike, you looked for one thing you liked? Or what if you allowed yourself to feel rejected briefly, so that you could bravely respond to that feeling, instead of fearing it, hiding from it, and maintaining the fear by avoiding it?

Sometimes I think the best thing we can do when we feel anxious, sad, insecure or depressed is to just let ourselves feel it for a second, without pressure to immediately “get happy.” It’s Ok to feel ups and downs, and it’s Ok to feel icky about yourself sometimes, but don’t linger in that feeling too long. It’s amazing what happens when we give ourselves permission to feel things, even if they aren’t pleasant. People who allow themselves to feel are surprisingly strong.

Have you ever heard saying, “A secret loses it’s power when it’s shared?” Insecurity is similar, in that the more you try to deny and cram down feelings of insecurity, the more vengeful and powerful the insecurity gets. But if you bravely acknowledge your feelings of inferiority, you give yourself an excellent opportunity to sort out why you’re feeling insecure. Once you’ve figured out why, it becomes easier to address how to chip away at that insecurity and start building a stronger, healthier you.

You’re composed of a million little spots that make you the delicate and fierce human that you are, and if you let insecurity write your story you can’t even begin to imagine all the beautiful things you will miss. I always think of my heart like a plant. When I beat myself up and judge myself harshly, I’m deciding not to water my heart plant. But if I take the time to water it and make sure it gets sun, it starts to bloom and becomes sturdier. You gotta water that heart plant, girl! You gotta give yourself a break, open your arms to self-acceptance, and recognize that insecurity is just a part of being a human — it’s how you handle it that shows your true stripes.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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