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4 Ways Insecurity Hinders Personal Growth

4 Ways Insecurity Hinders Personal Growth

Every person struggles with insecurities of some kind. If you’ve met a person who looks and acts confident, get them away from the cameras, and they will tell you that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some people are good at dealing with their insecurities honestly, and others are good at hiding behind a facade of pseudo-confidence.

We worry about what people will think, how people will respond to us, or whether or not we’ll be accepted by a certain group. We obsess over whether we’re good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, tough enough, bright enough, strong enough, tall enough, shapely enough, athletic enough, or educated enough. Yet we don’t get anywhere beyond the mirror. Social media doesn’t help much either. Fighting for likes, retweets, views, and reposts only exacerbates the problem.

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And why do we struggle more with our insecurities instead of fighting to overcome them? Well, it’s very hard to deal with something that you won’t face. You can’t overcome something that you won’t acknowledge exists. This goes for anything including insecurities. Overcoming our struggles begins with an acknowledgement that we are struggling, and having the courage to face what we ultimately want to defeat.

Here are four ways insecurity hinders personal growth:

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1. We live for approval, acceptance, and affirmation

Many people live to hear someone say “good job,” “you look lovely,” or “you’re so smart.” Anything that approves of their behavior, actions, or looks makes them feel valued and worthy. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way. Every person has a healthy need to know they are loved and valued. When it becomes an obsession, however, it’s a real problem. When we don’t hear these lovely words about ourselves, we fear we have run out of favor with people, and then our self-image is stripped away. When our goals and dreams hinge upon the acceptance of other people, we will rarely ever reach what we are trying to aim for. Approval, acceptance, and affirmation are good only in healthy doses. Too much of it can leaves us smothered and stuck in a cycle where we crave approval so much that we question everything people do and say in both real life and social media.

2. We allow doubt to kill action

Everyone faces doubt at some point in their lives. Whether it is about our abilities or we don’t think we can come through on a deal, we face doubt on a regular basis. I am not too sure that is normal. Perhaps, research in the very near future will tell us if it is. Whatever the case, you and I must learn to overcome doubt every day in order to reach our goals. We can be said to be growing when we intentionally put a hand up to the voice of doubt. That little voice in your head that says “you can’t,” “you’re stupid,” “you’ll never succeed” will always be there. It is your job to fight it. Instead of focusing on what is the worst that could happen, think about how you can take action to bring about a desired outcome. Doubt kills action before it even begins. You must shut the door to doubt and its loud voice in order to succeed.

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3. We harbor a negative self-image

When people criticize us, we can begin to internalize what is being said against us or about us, and start to criticize ourselves. Harboring negative criticism while doubting our abilities and seeking out approval by the people around us leads us down a steep road of always comparing ourselves to other people and produces a negative image of ourselves. We can be the exact opposite of the criticism that is being leveled against us. We can be smart, gifted, and competent, but if we see ourselves as dumb, stupid, and a failure, that is how we will act. People act according to the belief they have about themselves. They may be the very best at something, but if they don’t see it and don’t believe it, they won’t act like it and will sabotage themselves.

4. We don’t accept ourselves (or anybody else) as we are

This is one of the biggest obstacles to overcoming insecurity. Acceptance. Sure, we are not perfect, and we know it. But trying to be perfect looks on the surface to be a lofty goal, but it isn’t helping us very much. The result of trying to have the perfect shape, the perfect body, the perfect hair, the perfect look, is that we end up rejecting ourselves — the real parts of us that matter. It is really weird because we envy other people for how they look but those people don’t like very many things about themselves either. They are just as insecure as we are. What good does it do to envy another insecure person? Externally, we reject ourselves because we’re overweight, we have too many curves, we have big ears, we have pimples and dark spots. Internally, we reject ourselves also because we don’t like the parts of us that are arrogant, lazy, dishonest, and hateful. Accepting ourselves doesn’t mean we let things go that are in our power to change. However, not accepting ourselves (and other people) is a major problem that only makes us more insecure, distrusting of others, and unhealthy physically, emotionally, and mentally.

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Featured photo credit: Morwen / Flickr via flickr.com

More by this author

Daniella Whyte

Psychology Researcher

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Last Updated on September 26, 2018

10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

If you want to change your life, you are going to have to do things differently. Sometimes you can look to inspirational books to create a positive change in your life. If you desire change, you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone. As Anthony Robbins points out in the quote below, you are going have to experience discomfort and pain in order to transform your life. Any change, whether it be an organisation or personal, can be a painful process. However, the rewards of going through the change process are priceless.

“All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting an empowering new belief” – Anthony Robbins

There are two specific events that threw my life into a tailspin, where for a while there it felt like I was losing control. These two events were, the sudden and tragic loss of my parents, and being made redundant three times in eighteen months.

With the third redundancy, I was at my lowest point in my life. I felt utterly useless. My self-confidence was at zero, and I could see no future for me.

My life was turned upside down. I knew that I had to turn it around. I just didn’t know how.

Then one wet Sunday afternoon, I picked up a book from my bookshelf called ,“The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. I had this book for at least a year and had been meaning to read it, but hadn’t gone anywhere near a book for months.

When I read this book, I decided that I needed to get my life back. I needed to learn how to heal and rebuild my confidence, as well as my self belief.

So I started to read books. I read lots of books about inspirational stories on life, love, and happiness. Personal development and motivational books were full of information, tools, and strategies about how I could take control back and change my life. I would like to share with you the inspirational messages I got from reading these ten books that changed my life.

Read these 10 books because I believe they will inspire you, motivate you, and show you how to take action and go change your life!

    Awaken The Giant Within

    by Anthony Robbins
    The inspirational message from this book is how you have the power right now to control how you think, how you feel, and what you do. Anything you want or desire in your life, you already have the power to achieve it.

    “You and I have that same power at our disposal every moment of the day. At the moment, the questions that we ask ourselves can shape our perception of who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we’re willing to do to achieve our dreams” – Anthony Robbins

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      Screw It Lets Do It: Lessons in Life

      by Richard Branson
      Reading other people’s stories about their journeys in life can give you better perspective of what the journey of change can be about. Richard Branson is into reinvention and as a result, he embraces change.

      This book will fuel your enthusiasm to give things a go. It will show you how to sort out the self-limiting beliefs that stop you from stepping up and taking on the challenge of change.

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      “As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy. Waking up stressed and miserable is not a good way to live” – Richard Branson

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        The Art of Happiness

        by Dalai Lama

        There is not a person I know who is not in the pursuit of happiness.

        “The Art of Happiness” is a book that will encourage you to practice the discipline of self-reflection.The more you reflect on your life, the deeper you look into your inner self (your soul). This is where you discover what happiness truly means to you.

        Knowing what happiness means to you, gives you purpose. With purpose, you’ll have clarity, focus, and a vision. These are the foundations that will empower you to embark on the journey to change your life.

        “Both these people illustrate the essential point that happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.” – Dalai Lama

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          The Four Agreements

          by Don Miguel Ruiz

          “The Four Agreements” are Don Miguel’s code for life.

          “The Four Agreements” provide an inspirational code for life, for the way you handle your relationships, how you behave, and how you communicate with others. If you want to change your life, read “The Four Agreements”. This book will show you how to attain a happy fulfilled life.

          “If you live in a past dream, you don’t enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is. There is no time to miss anyone or anything because you are alive. Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive. This leads to self pity, suffering and tears.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

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            The Magic of Thinking Big

            by David J Schwartz

            According to Dr Schwartz, to create change in your life and to attain all that you desire, you need to change your thinking and your attitude.

            The importance of preparing your mind and your thinking for the journey of personal change is the key message of this book.

            “Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.” – David J. Schwartz.

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              Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How To Create A New You

              by Deepak Chopra

              Deepak Chopra believes that personal transformation not only involves the mind, but also your body and soul. According to Chopra, you cannot transform your mind without transforming your body and soul.

              Reading this book will encourage you to think about the potential energy force and power you hold within you. This energy grows when you are connected and aligned to your mind, body, and soul.

              “The key to transformation is that you create the change you want to see in yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

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                The Greatest Salesman In The World

                by Og Mandino

                This little classic has been around since 1968. Have you ever wondered what truly successful people have in common?

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                This book doesn’t really tell you how to be a great salesperson. It will; however, give you some fantastic tips on how to be an entrepreneur, how to self-motivate, and how to think like a successful person.

                The underlying message is the power of positive thinking – that you become what you think, say, and do. This book has great tactics for those of us in the process of change.

                “My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action.” – Og Mandino

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                  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

                  by Richard Carlson

                  This book helps you to manage the small stuff in your life that is usually creating the most pain in your life. This very supportive book is full of great practical suggestions on how you can live a more joyful and peaceful life.

                  “True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice, and to learn.” – Richard Carlson

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                    Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

                    by Chip & Dan Heath

                    Have you ever tried to lose weight or get fit and never reached your goal? You know that you have to make changes in your life, but you don’t know how?

                    If you are nodding in agreement, then you need to read “Switch“. If I had to recommend one book that shows you how to create and maintain lasting change in your life – then it would be “Switch“.

                    In this book, Chip and Dan share the Secret as to how you can create and sustain change in your life.

                    Hint: It has something to do with knowing how to “Direct The Rider”, “Motivate The Elephant”, and “Shape the Path.”

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                    This book, without a doubt, will show you how to change your life.

                    “When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there. Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.” – Chip & Dan Heath

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                      The Gifts of Imperfection

                      by Brene Brown

                      Do you ever feel that you are just not worthy enough, intelligent enough, or courageous enough to live a fulfilled happy life?

                      Do you have secret dreams that you hold deep inside of you that you don’t share in case someone thinks they are silly? Or are you too scared to follow your dreams because you fear that you may fail?

                      Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, will show you how to find your courage, as well as rediscover your self-belief and self-worth.

                      This is the book that will get you prepared to embark on your journey of change. “The Gifts of Imperfection” is about you learning how to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.

                      “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

                      These 10 books were key to helping me change my life. I rediscovered hope for my future. I found my courage, strength, and my self-belief. I hope that by reading these books, you will find the same inspiration and motivation to take up the challenge and change your life.

                      “If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” – Sherman Alexie

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