Insecurities are a product of our experiences so naturally no two are the same. However, there are patterns that emerge when we look at the nature of insecurities and we can identify that they generally trigger a sense of helplessness and anxiety, despondence or a lack of confidence, all things that can damage our sense of joy and fulfilment. Whilst we’re not doctors nor specialists in this area, we do have a few simple techniques to share with you that will put you on the right trajectory towards overcoming insecurities in your life.
Gratefulness trumps regret
We know that not everyone processes experiences in the same way and that this mindset is often a result of the lens (past, present and future) we use to view the things in our attention. Some might have a mindset that gravitates towards the ‘future’ which, like anything in life, has two sides: a positive and negative. We might choose to focus on the future as something that is constantly unfolding and is therefore an open door of opportunity. Yet this is balanced by feelings of worry or overwhelm that are often paired with an anxious view of the future. Whether you focus on the past, present or the future, one thing is true. You feed your thoughts with attention. If you can alter your attention you can alter your mindset and make those insecurities know where they’re not welcome.
Insecurities are often defined by a sense of regret for past criticism and things that cannot be changed. This feeling of powerlessness is counter-productive, self-perpetuating and generally not very helpful. We all know that simply thinking about something unfortunate that may have happened in the past does not change the reality of that experience. It simply projects it, and all the associated negative emotions, into the present and often into the future. However, changing thought patterns is often easier said than done. It’s a process of repetitive discipline to help train a way of thinking, but it can be done. Often trying to eliminate a thought entirely is an unsurmountable task that end up in feelings of disappointment and failure. Rather than attempting to destroy your negative or regretful thoughts completely, a more manageable approach is to alter your perspective or lens from one of criticism to one of gratefulness. Try to focus on things you are grateful for rather than things that spur regret. It’s difficult to be regretful when your attention is fixed on something that you are immensely grateful for. If we can speak and think highly of ourselves then we are more likely to continue creating a life that we can’t help but be grateful for.
There is so much to be thankful for, especially in the simple things that we tend to overlook. Daily practise is a great way to achieve steadfast behaviours in the long-term, so try turning your attention to things you are grateful for on the regular. If journaling is your thing, then have a go at writing these points down. Otherwise, you can simply practice honing your attention by meditating on what you are grateful for and cultivating an attitude that values gratitude over regret.
Become your biggest fan
Now I’m not talking about developing a narcissistic attitude or inflating your ego. What I am talking about is maintaining a healthy self image driven by love and kindness towards yourself. It’s no surprise that we are our own worst critic, but this attitude can often develop an unhealthy self dialogue that equates to a negative self image that sometimes feels like it develops out of the blue. The truth is we are always in dialogue with ourselves, but it is the tone of our dialogue that shapes our sense of self. Insecurities thrive off negative self talk and take up mental space that should rightfully belong to positive and self-loving thoughts. Rather than allowing these negative thoughts to become compounded and develop into insecurity strongholds, nip them in the bud by flipping your self talk into a conversation you enjoy and that gives you energy.
Even if it feels unnatural or contrived at first, a good tool for practicing positive self-talk is to quite literally talk to yourself in a way that is uplifting and inspiring. This might mean having positive affirmations by your bedside or simply smiling at yourself in the mirror before you begin your morning rituals (especially after you have brushed those pearly whites). Whatever your method, the process always begins with acceptance – of things that make you happy or insecure, of your strengths, your intentions and the areas in your life who might wish to improve. No matter the subject, ensure that you are filling yourself with kindness and affording yourself the space and time to address and overcome what is needed. Our internal voice is one that we are indubitably stuck with, so we’re better off making it our friend not our foe.
Of course, every person is uniquely different – some more introverted, others extroverted – and time by one’s self can often do the soul wonders. For the long term though, it is important to live life with a sense of community and belonging, to do life ‘with’ others and share in your experiences together. We strive to have a healthy balance between time alone and time spent in company, and when step out of this balance we can often enter into a spiral of rumination and insecurity. This is because our internal dialogue becomes louder, more salient and sometimes more difficult to have a handle on. Spending quality time with trusted individuals and allowing them to become an important part of your life welcomes a more holistic sense of perspective, accountability and encouragement. Again, as with anything in life, balance is key.
The real take away point here is that an unhealthy amount of time spent alone can often encourage our insecurities to show their face. Leave your mark on the broader world around you, share enriching experiences with others and invest your time into yourself and others who are on a similar journey of seeking positivity.