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How to Get Over Your Insecurities

How to Get Over Your Insecurities

Last month, I published an article called “10 Things Insecure People Do That Slowly Destroy Their Lives.” A reader reached out to me on Twitter basically saying, “yeah, so what? You’ve identified the problem, but now you need to tell me how to solve it.” So I pitched this article as a follow-up piece; since I already identified the problems, now I can help offer some solutions. I picked some of the tips that I thought worked the best, especially in conjunction with my previous article. I hope this helps other readers out there as much as it helps me!

1. Be objective.

I’ve found that it helps if I talk to myself like I was someone else. That makes me sound crazy, right? Strangely enough, I actually give good advice to others when they’re facing insecurities or having problems. I just never follow my own advice. So when you’re facing your own insecurities, or can’t seem to get past a difficult speed bump in your life, step back and look at your situation objectively.

What advice would you give to a friend in your situation? If you’re scared of going to a party where you know no one, pep yourself up by saying you never know who you might meet; it’s great to talk to new people and learn about them. Don’t allow yourself any excuses, and push yourself to actually take the advice you come up with. Not allowing yourself a loophole to stay at home instead of go somewhere new will help you feel more secure and confident.

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2. Write down your fears.

Writing might seem like a passive action to take, but it’s a really helpful step! When you write things down, you’re getting them out of your head and looking at them in a different way. Instead of turning negative thoughts over and over in your mind, you have them down on paper so you can read over them.

Be honest when you read them and decide what is a logical fear, and what is irrational, like you being worried about what people think of you, or being considered a failure by your parents. Think about your fears and decide what you can let go, and what you can work to improve. Knowing your fears instead of being blind-sided by them in social or work situations will help you feel more secure in your daily life.

3. Celebrate your successes.

You’re written down your failures, but don’t forget your successes! You’ve gotten this far in life, so of course you’ve done some good. If you were a good student, remember your time in school and be proud of it. If you were just hired for your dream job, make sure you celebrate that instead of focusing on the fear of failing in the position. Celebrate even your smallest successes—sometimes checking a few things off of your To Do list is cause for celebration!

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If you start thinking negatively of your successes by saying it’s been too long since you’ve accomplished something, or anything along those lines, then make sure you turn around your way of thinking and make it positive again. Remembering past positive experiences will help you realize that there is much more good to come, and that you deserve it.

4. Change what you can.

Instead of hating certain things about yourself, try to change what you can. If you hate being short, you’re out of luck, but focus on things you can change. If you hate how you sit on the couch for hours after work, then push yourself to go to the gym and then cook dinner and be social after work. If you’re tired of worrying about every little thing, then start talking yourself out of those worries and making everything more positive.

Even if it takes a long time for you to change anything, just taking the action will motivate you enough to keep going. You’ll know you’re making progress because of the way you’re thinking, and taking control of your life and making change happen will push away those insecurities.

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5. Start saying yes.

When I was going through insecure times, I had a hard time saying yes to anything. It was too easy to say no to any social engagement, or to talking to a friend, or anything. I didn’t want to do anything because it was more secure for me to sit at home. I don’t even really know why I would say no. If I stopped to think about it, nothing horrible would have happened if I said yes.

Once I started questioning why I said no, I realized it was easier to say yes and try to put myself out there more. Just like in step 4, if you start saying yes, then you’re changing a bit of yourself. You’re taking charge of your situation by saying yes and facing new experiences instead of closing yourself off and living the same life day in and day out.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others is the easiest way to cut down your self esteem. How insecure do you feel when you compare your outfit to someone else’s, or when you think their life is so much easier than yours? In truth, that person might not be that comfortable in their clothes, and they probably have more problems than you know.

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Though you may not realize it, thinking this way of others is actually a way of judging them. When you look at someone and judge them, you’re cutting them down to trying and raise yourself up—but does it really make you feel any better? You’re just being negative, and even if you judge them in a way that makes them look bad, you’re still comparing yourself to them.

Instead, raise other people up. Compliment them, smile, and see how much of that positivity you get back. You’ll feel better because you’re being more positive, and you’ll feel more secure because people will enjoy being around you more, and will smile and return compliments and goodwill to you.

7. Keep good company.

Have good friends. If someone in your social circle is negative and criticizes you and others for every little thing, you need to get away from them. No matter how good of a person you think you are, that type of behavior is infectious and will impact your own outlook. Be around people who are nurturing, who will compliment you when you deserve it and support you during both good and bad times. Make sure these are people you genuinely care about, so you won’t have to think twice about treating them the same way they treat you.

Featured photo credit: anna gutermuth via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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