How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk: Strategies for Battling Insecurity
Being insecure is never fun. Even if you think you have it all together, there are likely some insecurities that still nag at the back of your mind. Insecurity can come from a number of places, such as our flaws, negative thoughts, and past traumas. The constant worry about how we look or what people think of us leaves us feeling anxious and stressed out. But what if there were a way to finally feel self-confident? What if there was a way to stop being so hard on yourself? Here are some ways on how you can overcome insecurity with just 5 easy steps.
What is insecurity?
Self-doubt refers to the fear of disappointing others or being found lacking in some way. We may feel uncertain about our skills and abilities, wondering if we are capable of completing a project or communicating effectively with a particular person. Of course, we’ve all experienced these feelings at one point or another.
But insecurity can be detrimental to both our personal and professional lives. When we are convinced that we are less than perfect, we may start to question our talents. This can have the negative effect of causing us to underperform. And when we compare ourselves to others, we may feel uncomfortable and unworthy of success. This environment can create a lot of tension and often results in critical or careless behavior.
How does insecurity affect us?
Uncertainty can arise from any number of factors, like an inability to feel valued and connected to others, a lack of self-assurance, or a lack of education. All of these things, in varying degrees, can leave us feeling insecure, which in turn, leaves us feeling unproductive and inadequate.
But do you know why insecurity is a concern for so many of us? And what can be done about it?
It’s Not About Weight
At its core, insecurity is related to not being treated with the respect and trust you deserve from others. But it’s also about body image — how we feel about the way we look.
How to overcome insecurity?
Here are some of the most effective ways I’ve learned to overcome this personal weakness and build confidence and self-assurance.
1. De-identify and re-identify
Your identity is not one-size-fits-all.
Even within the confines of our corporate structures, we are all in unique positions. For example, if you are a member of a startup team, your identity may look very different from that of a CEO or executive in a large corporation. Similarly, even within the confines of your own home, your identity may look different than the identity you have when you step out of your front door to go to the office.
Understanding that your identity is unique allows you to treat it as an individual and one-of-a-kind characteristic.
Identify the underlying causes of your insecurities
We all have an internal critic, who encourages us to be less confident or insecure. These are all false beliefs we have about ourselves. One way to identify the source of your insecurities is to listen to your internal critic, ask yourself what you want to hear from it and ask yourself what you want to believe, says Daniel J. Amen, MD, author of Common Cents: The Science of Why We Do What We Do and What We Can Do About It. Then look for more information that supports those self-beliefs. You can also use logic, evidence and logic, Dr. Amen says.
Create a positive self-talk strategy
“You need to believe in yourself,” says Jodi Echakowitz, a brand strategist and leadership consultant in Toronto. I can say that every day.
2. Optimism and Positivity
Appreciating the positives in our work, relationships, and overall life can give us a source of positivity we may not have access to otherwise. Often times we can’t see the silver linings when we are experiencing insecurity, but we can create more positive and inspiring opportunities by examining our past successes and being positive. The end goal is to be aware of our accomplishments, and not to focus on our failures.
Embrace Your Failures
Failure can be a major contributing factor to insecurity, especially when we are not resilient to dealing with the negative repercussions that come with it. But embracing failure can be liberating and can help us realize that there is always room for improvement and that everyone has their setbacks.
We can alleviate insecurity by taking time to evaluate our personal strengths and talents, the experience and skill-sets we’ve acquired over the years, and what those experiences have taught us. Once we have a better idea of ourselves, we can start to develop our unique talents and strengths.
For example, I’m introverted, but I love to analyze and dig deeper into topics. To do that effectively, I rely on a very effective method that has helped me generate ideas and create better quality projects: Empathy. I take people’s experiences and feelings into consideration, and let their thoughts and emotions guide me to great solutions.
“Empathy unlocks your key traits,” says New York Times bestselling author, Orit Shahar.
4. Listening to Yourself for Real Feedback
Self-doubt can come from listening to the unhelpful thoughts that bombard our consciousness. In her book Quiet, Natalie Goldberg recommends focusing on three areas in which you struggle:
“Number one is, I am not good enough. This feeling of inadequacy is overwhelming, so I tell myself a version of the following: ‘You are enough. You are a good and strong and wonderful and useful person, even if you don’t feel that way right now. You are doing your best, every day, no matter what.’ This little formulation, ‘I am enough,’ ” she explains, “allows you to think with compassion for yourself and this feeling of inadequacy.”
When in doubt about how you are doing, seek out validation.
5. Create a plan to increase your self-confidence
In business, the first step is often about developing an action plan to combat insecurity. You might want to rethink your big goals, as the wrong goals can be toxic and undermine confidence. Consider small, attainable, and attainable but achievable goals that can increase your confidence and assist you in achieving success.
Set aside time to think and imagine the success that awaits you in the coming days, weeks, months, or even years.
Visualize your dreams and what they mean to you.
Engage in positive self-talk.
Take action toward achieving your goal.
Listen to your body and act.
What these strategies all boil down to is engagement. You need to focus on your dreams, interests, and activities and do them with commitment and passion.
Written by Pragya Singh