How To Overcome Insecurity: Tips From a Therapist

Key Takeaways:

    • Insecurity stems from negative thoughts and experiences: Our insecurities often develop from negative self-beliefs and past experiences that have made us question our worth.
    • Insecurity can negatively impact various aspects of life: It can affect our relationships, careers, and mental health, leading to difficulties in forming connections, pursuing our goals, and maintaining emotional well-being.
    • Overcoming insecurity requires building self-confidence: Cultivating self-compassion, challenging negative self-talk, and celebrating our achievements are crucial steps in developing a strong sense of self-worth.
    • Reframing negative thoughts is key: Replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations and focusing on our strengths can help reshape our perception of ourselves and challenge limiting beliefs.
    • Seeking professional help can be beneficial: If insecurity significantly hinders your daily life, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support in your journey towards overcoming it.

What Causes Insecurity

Insecurity often stems from our inner beliefs about ourselves. When our self-esteem takes a hit, self-doubt creeps in. Childhood experiences also profoundly shape our core beliefs growing up. If we internalize messages that we are not good enough or don’t belong, those seeds of insecurity may haunt us for years.

Common causes of insecurity include:

  • Negative self-talk: That cruel inner voice constantly critiques our appearance, performance, and abilities. Left unchecked, it can torpedo our confidence.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Holding ourselves to impossibly high standards sets us up for failure. Perfectionism fuels imposter syndrome.
  • Social anxiety: We desperately want to fit in and be accepted. Fears of judgment or rejection manifest as insecurity.
  • Trauma and abuse: Emotional, physical, or verbal abuse leaves deep scars on our psyche that breed insecurity.

Insecurities take root when our basic human needs go unmet, like:

  • Safety and security
  • Identity and belonging
  • Accomplishment and growth

When these core needs aren’t nurtured, we question our worth. Vulnerabilities feel amplified. Self-expression suffers as we withdraw to protect ourselves.

The good news? Insecurity stems from learned behaviours – which means we can unlearn them. Understanding their roots and impacts can transform our relationship with self-doubt and reclaim our confidence.

Impacts of Insecurity

Insecurity’s impacts permeate our lives. Unchecked self-doubt erodes our foundations like a slow leak sinking a ship. The consequences intensify over time if we don’t plug those holes.

  • Relationships suffer: Insecurity breeds jealousy, control issues, and arguments. We may try to manipulate partners to get our emotional needs met.
  • Career stagnation: Insecurity freezes us from going after promotions and new challenges. We play small to avoid failure or judgment.
  • Mental health declines: As our self-esteem diminishes, anxiety and depression often increase. Negative thought patterns are hard to escape.
  • Physical health impacts: Insecurity can trigger stress responses, which strain the immune system and heart over time, increasing disease risk.

The good news? The opposite also holds true. Self-confidence has cascading positive impacts:

  • Healthier, more secure relationships
  • Career advancement and fulfillment
  • Balanced mental health
  • Reduced stress and disease risk

Committing to face our insecurities is the first step to stopping their damage and unlocking our potential. With courage and compassion, we can transform self-doubt into an unshakable foundation of self-confidence.

Identifying Your Insecurities

Before conquering insecurity, we must identify its forms in our lives. Common categories include:

Personal insecurities:

  • Appearance – weight, looks, skin, aging
  • Abilities – intelligence, talents, skills
  • Social anxiety – fitting in, awkwardness

Professional insecurities:

  • Imposter syndrome
  • Public speaking
  • Qualifications/experience
  • Asking for promotions

Relationship insecurities:

  • Abandonment
  • Betrayal
  • Inferiority to partner

Pinpointing our specific insecurities clears the fog. We can name the demon to tame it. Reflection questions help:

  • When do I feel most self-conscious or doubtful?
  • Which scenarios trigger my self-criticism?
  • What fears hold me back from self-expression?

Shining light on our shadows robs them of their power. We claim agency to reshape our inner worlds.

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Building Self-Confidence

An intimate portrait of a person overcoming insecurity and self-doubt and feeling happy

Constructing unshakable self-confidence requires work but pays infinite rewards. Daily habits build self-assurance steadily, brick by brick.

Mindset Matters

Our thought patterns drive emotions. Redirect negative self-talk through mindset shifts:

  • Validate yourself instead of constantly seeking external validation
  • Celebrate small wins and obstacles on the confidence journey
  • Find the lesson when you fail or fall short

Self-Care First

We can’t pour from an empty cup. Make self-care non-negotiable:

  • Prioritize sleep, nutrition, exercise
  • Set boundaries and take breaks
  • Indulge in activities that energize you

Get Uncomfortable

Lean into vulnerability to prove you can handle discomfort:

  • Speak up more in meetings
  • Attempt something new weekly
  • Share an unpopular opinion

Go Solo

Learn to enjoy your own company free from judgment:

  • Dine, shop, travel, or attend events alone
  • Spend reflective time journaling
  • Appreciate silence without distractions

Building real self-confidence requires dismantling our security blankets, facing fears, and realizing we can thrive independently. By making small, courageous moves daily, we develop the muscle memory needed to trust ourselves in times of uncertainty.

Reframing Unhelpful Thoughts

Our thinking patterns drive our emotions and behaviours. When insecurity strikes, reframing unconstructive thoughts can short-circuit destructive reactions.

Flip the Script

Challenge negative self-talk by consciously considering alternate perspectives:

  • Ask, “What’s the evidence this thought is true?”
  • Consider your Core Value strengths
  • Imagine how your role model would perceive the situation

Adopt a Growth Mindset

View failures and setbacks as feedback for growth:

  • They reveal areas needing work
  • There’s no such thing as “bad at something” forever
  • Skills can always improve with practice

Get Objective

Run judgments through “The triple filter test” from Socrates:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it good?
  3. Is it useful?

If not, modify self-criticism accordingly.

Edit Your Story

Look for plot holes in your narrative. Do you:

  • Expect perfection?
  • Minimize positive experiences?
  • Assume the worst without evidence.

Our inner voice frames our reality. Ensuring it aligns with truth and constructive messaging prevents insecurity from poisoning thought patterns.

Living Above Insecurity

Conquering insecurity unveils our limitless potential. By building self-knowledge, courage, and growth-focused habits, we can capture freedom from self-doubt.

When we define ourselves by our character, contributions, and values – not external validation or credentials – no one can make us feel unworthy. Confidence blossoms from a firm sense of identity.

Owning our stories with compassion plants seeds for relating to others’ struggles with sensitivity. We become forces for building confidence and connection without judgment.

This ripple effect transforms communities as we lift each other higher. Choosing self-trust aligns us with an unstoppable current of creativity, love, and purpose greater than our small selves.

Insecurity and Mental Health

Insecurity and mental health share an intimate dance. When our self-confidence crumbles, conditions like anxiety and depression often surge. In turn, these drain our psychic resources, making it harder to manage insecurity.

Common connections include:

  • Negative thought cycles fueling feelings of unworthiness
  • Social isolation when we withdraw out of loneliness and shame
  • Impulsivity with risky behaviours attempts to numb our pain
  • Low motivation as doubt paralyzes us from pursuing goals

If insecurity persists despite your best efforts, seek support. Therapists help identify self-sabotaging patterns and make meaning from experiences breeding inadequacy. Building self-awareness and coping tools can free you from the grip of insecurity.

At times, medication may be warranted if neurochemical imbalances underlie the condition. Compassionate counselling and lifestyle changes can help transform self-perception from victim to survivor.

When to Seek Counselling

Despite your efforts, if insecurity persists and interferes with life, seek counselling support. Red flags include:

  • Pervasive low self-esteem unaffected by wins
  • Suicidal thoughts or plans
  • Anxiety or depression symptoms disrupting work/relationships
  • Substance abuse attempts to cope
  • Inability to identify insecurity triggers

Counselling facilitates awareness missing on our own. Therapists help strategize skills, improving distress tolerance, communication, and cognitive restructuring. Some specialize in identity issues or trauma recovery.

Getting help takes courage but can profoundly accelerate your self-confidence gains. You deserve to live freely and fully as your authentic self.

Counselling Services in BC and ON

Our clinic offers specialized counselling services if you’re in British Columbia or Ontario and are looking for longer-term support. Our counsellors and psychotherapists are trained to help you navigate abuse’s emotional and psychological impacts. We provide a safe, confidential space where you can begin your healing journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When doubt strikes, try this:

  • Validate yourself
  • Name the story your inner critic is telling
  • Ask if it seems true and kind
  • Reframe to a growth mindset
  • Focus outward on your values

Unfollow accounts cause envy. Curate your feed to inspirational accounts aligned with your values. Monitor usage if it worsens self-perception. Unplug regularly to nurture self-acceptance where you're at, without comparison.

Recall successes proving your abilities. Collect external validation like peer feedback. Set clear professional goals to build confidence through progress. Consider sharing vulnerabilities with mentors who can relate.

Communicate openly around triggers and needs. Name limiting stories you tell yourself. Reality check the evidence for them. Practice asking for support rather than reassurance-seeking or manipulative behaviours.

If insecurity manifests as anxiety, depression, isolation, or avoidance affecting functioning, seek counselling support to improve coping skills and self-talk patterns. Don't neglect self-care basics, either.

Pareen Sehat MC, RCC

Pareen Sehat MC, RCC

Pareen’s career began in Behaviour Therapy, this is where she developed a passion for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches. Following a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology she pursued a Master of Counselling. Pareen is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. She specializes in CBT and Lifespan Integrations approaches to anxiety and trauma. She has been published on major online publications such as - Yahoo, MSN, AskMen, PsychCentral, Best Life Online, and more.

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