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3 Insecurities We All Have And How To Deal With Them

3 Insecurities We All Have And How To Deal With Them

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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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  • 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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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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