As a human, you will have times when you feel insecure. It’s part of life. But there are ways to turn those insecurities into strengths without changing who you are as a person. What you need to decide is whether or not you want to change certain things about yourself. If everyone worked to become the same person, there would be no individuality, no uniqueness and the world would lose its beauty. It is your weaknesses and your strengths that make you who you are.

But what if you do want to change? What if you want to take the person you are to the next level? For many people that step is difficult because we feel insecure.

Let’s look at a common insecurity many people have: shyness. People who are shy might worry they won’t make friends or they’ll fail in a job interview. There’s nothing wrong with being shy; it’s a part of who you are. But, you can still be shy and learn how to carry on an engaging conversation with someone. That might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s quite possible. What it comes down to is which is more important to you: keeping quiet or trying to make a friend; being afraid to speak up or getting your dream job.

Here are three common insecurities people struggle with and ways to overcome them without changing who you are. You might feel insecure about:

1. How Others Will Perceive You

This is an insecurity everyone struggles with. We are afraid of being judged because of our appearance, children, attitude, homes, spouses, everything. Worrying every minute of every day about what someone else thinks is no way to live. The best advice I can give is what I have found to help me in my life:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Judgment from others can be harsh and debilitating, but only if you let it. You can choose to be offended or you can choose to accept who you are. This can be hard if you’re spending most of your time comparing yourself to people around you. Especially because we make habits of comparing our weaknesses with other people’s strengths.
  • Focus on your positive features, characteristics, strengths, etc. You have talents and skills; admit that to yourself. It’s alright to have a little pride in yourself (just don’t get carried away!).
  • When you do find a flaw in yourself you want to change, make a plan to work on it. But don’t be discouraged when change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience.
  • Don’t judge others. If you want to worry less about what other people think about you, then do the same for them. Don’t judge people because of their clothes, their job or even the way they talk. Give them a chance; give them the benefit of the doubt.

2. If You Will Ever Find The “Right” One

This topic once sat true with me. I dated a lot in college and from those experiences I thought I figured out what I wanted. All the guys I dated were the same kind of guy, similar look, similar interests, similar education; you get the picture. None of these relationships ever worked out. I started getting discouraged, wondering if it was my fault.

It wasn’t until I took time to find out who I was and I focused on myself and what I wanted out of life that I decided to move out of my normal dating pool and date someone different. It was then I found my husband.

He was not what I expected at all. And to my surprise he was better than the rest. We’ve been married five years now; we have two kids (hoping for more) and a dog. Our life isn’t the “dream” I imagined but he loves me for who I am and for the wife and mother I’ve become. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that. If you worry about finding “the one,” remember these five pointers:

  • You need to know who you are. I finally reached a point in my life in which I knew who I was and I wasn’t going to change for a man, no matter how good other people said he was. Spend time on yourself instead of trying to fit into a mold for another person’s life.
  • Give someone a chance you normally wouldn’t. That’s not changing who you are as person, it’s broadening your views. You never know how well you’ll get along with someone until you actually try.
  • Put yourself out there. If you don’t try to date or meet new people, it won’t happen. This can be hard for a lot of people but it’s doable. Go to social events; get to know people at work or at school.
  • Don’t be afraid of getting hurt. Break ups are hard. You were with that person because you had a connection and when you broke up, all of a sudden the connection was severed. It’s hard to go through but each relationship you’re in has lessons to be learned and value in it. Take what you can from each relationship and keep trying to find that special someone.
  • Know that relationships take work. Being in a relationship is hard. It takes compromise, communication and effort on both parts. Don’t hold double standards. Don’t hold grudges. Support one another. Remember “love” is a verb; it requires action. If you don’t work on it, it will fail. It’s like a flame, if you neglect it, it will burn out.

3. If You Will Become Successful

Success in life can be determined by money, fame, family, living arrangements, etc. In order to be successful in life decide what is most important. Do you want money? Do you want a happy family? Do you want a huge house? There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things. But decide what your priorities are.

  • If your priority is to make money, that is where most of your time and effort should go. You’re going to have to work long hours and educate yourself in your desired industry.
  • If your priority is family, you should fulfill your responsibilities to them. This could include working to support them but also spending time with them. Be involved. Have open communication. Make sure your relationships always come first.
  • Can you have more than one priority? Sure. But one will always be at the top of your list. You need to choose which one will take precedence over everything else.
  • Once you know your priority, sit down, set goals and make plans on what you’ll do to stay on course. You should have a daily reminder of what’s important to you.

In my family, our top priority is family and happiness; our careers come second. Let’s say an opportunity for a career were to present itself for my husband or I, but it required 60 or 70 hours a week; we would turn it down, no matter how good the money was. We made that decision when we got married. Family first. Our jobs are sufficient for our lifestyle. If we ever decide we want more, we can revisit the topic and figure out what we’re willing to sacrifice to make changes.

Decide how you will determine what success means to you and then do everything you can to achieve it. When you spend all your time in life worrying about the big things, you miss out on the beautiful little things that happen all around you. Take time to appreciate what you have, what you’re working towards and how much you have accomplished and learned along the way.

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