I remember this day so well, Miranda (not her real name) walked up to the podium and spoke so intensely about how she struggled with esteem issues and insecurities. I was shocked, so were many other people.
Miranda is beautiful, her dark chocolate skin is perfect and her hair, so long considering the fact that she is black (Nigerian); I remember asking her if that was her real hair and she smiled saying she gets asked that question a lot.
So here I was thinking, how could she be dealing with esteem and insecurity issues, come on! You can’t be beautiful, come from a wealthy home, have most of what you want and still deal with insecurities.
This is where I was wrong, just like depression, insecurities, esteem issues and lack of confidence are not always marked so strongly on one’s forehead.
A large majority of us find ourselves dealing with one insecurity or the other. It could be because of our looks, culture, race, status, recent failures, rejection or even our lack of knowledge.
The beautiful thing is, you are not alone, and you can overcome your insecurities.
The first step to overcoming your insecurities is identifying them and their causes. It was the only way I was able to defeat mine. It’s still a process, I must confess.
So what are the major causes of insecurities?
The causes of insecurities are so diverse and inexhaustible. Insecurities are most often than not, built and they develop from past experiences, feelings and occurrences.
That girl who gets mocked for the colour of her skin or the shape of her nose, the boy who gets bullied for being so fat or thin could go through a difficult phase of feeling they do not belong or have a hard time loving themselves.
Rejection from friends or even failed relationships may trigger self devaluing thoughts. The feeling of not being good enough or being wanted could trigger lingering insecurities.
A lot of people make statements of how they can never have close friends and how they are afraid to trust, to love completely because they believe people are out to hurt them or disappoint them. This paranoid feeling is a form of insecurity.
Most often than not, constant words of negation from ourselves and others build insecurities. Being constantly told you are not good enough or that you wouldn’t amount to anything great could damage self esteem and confidence.
Upbringing also has a part to play in a person’s attitude towards acceptance. Being overly shielded and restricted could affect relationship with people, insecurities around networking and social gatherings.
A vast majority of us feel less confident in ourselves due to failures in different life endeavours. This could be failures in academics, relationships or even career plans. That feeling of not being able to add value becomes overbearing.
Because of our short comings, we perceive the world doesn’t think we’re good enough and we shrink inwards, avoid people and beat ourselves down.
Little do we know that we are not alone. Everyone has an aspect of life they wish was better, the only difference is respective individual idiosyncrasies.
How can you overcome insecurities?
I personally recommend this as the first step of walking out of your insecurities. Let go of every bad experiences that made you feel worthless, incapable or invaluable. Trash them.
Some negative deeds and words were probably out of ignorance or lack of emotional intelligence from people, never let these define you or who you become.
If someone feels you are incapable, it does not automatically make you incapable, until you believe it and act accordingly.
That someone feels you are not worthy loving is their own perspective and not your reality. Do not act defensive thus blocking everyone who will try to love you.
Realize your self-worth
Dealing with insecurities requires so much self effort. Irrespective of any external effort you get, change must begin from within. Believing you are enough, beautiful and confident goes a long way to eliminating insecurities.
The moment we realize that our imperfections make us who we are and we are beautiful in our own different ways and not the one-sided way the world defines, the more freely we live.
People who love you will accept you the way you are and for what you are. Do not conform to fit anybody’s preference.
Self love is paramount in alleviating insecurities and this is the best gift you can give yourself. After all, if you don’t love yourself, who will?
I have learnt to affirm myself and celebrate my little victories. Speak words of affirmation to yourself, you’ve got to be your biggest fan, you know:
“I am enough”
“I have so much value to add to my place of work”
“I can achieve greatness”
“I am beautiful and lovable”
Write good things about yourself, paste them around you, smile at yourself in the mirror and watch yourself glow.
Invest in yourself and build your confidence
The more you work on your confidence level, the better it becomes. Instead of shying away from people, face your fears, socialize more, speak out more in public.
A sure way to help with this is by being well informed, learned and well read. This enables you contribute meaningfully to conversations and would likely make others want to listen to your valuable thoughts.
A wise man once told me, ” Learn to speak up, people will never know you have so much knowledge and intelligence if you bottle it all up”
I have never looked back since then. It is a journey that must be started. Start building your confidence today.
Finally, focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses in the background.
Acknowledge your shortcomings, but do not dwell on them. Bring your strengths to the table.
Focusing on your strengths make you realize how valuable you are.
If you’re asking “what if I do not have any strengths?”
My answer is, you do have strengths, take your time to discover them and build on them. The moment you do, your shortcomings and insecurities begin to shrink.
You are perfect and good enough!