The One Thing That’s Keeping You From Being Happy

By exploring your self-doubt, challenging your thoughts, and taking action, you can manage insecurities so they don’t sabotage your confidence and happiness.

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Confidence is something we all aspire to have, but the truth is that insecurity is something we all experience. Insecurities were huge for most people in high school (think acne, frizzy hair, not making the sports team, etc.), and although we’ve hopefully gotten over some of these things, we still are fragile and imperfect human beings who sometimes doubt ourselves. Take a deep breath and think about your own insecurities for a minute. Maybe it’s about your looks, your career, your intelligence, your family, or any other aspect of life that makes you feel vulnerable to others’ critical opinions. Unfortunately, these negative self-evaluations can limit your growth and stunt you in your relationships by making you feel like you’re not good enough. It is possible, though, to reframe things in your mind so that these uncertainties don’t rob you of your happiness. Here are some strategies to help you tame (and even overcome) your insecurities. The first is simply to identify what you’re insecure about. Find the words to articulate to yourself what thought or belief is bringing you down. Sometimes we have the added difficulty of having multiple insecurities, but there are usually one or two that eat at us the most: “I’m unattractive,” or “my job stinks,” are some examples. Although it can be painful to admit, be honest with yourself. It can be helpful to write down what you’re feeling so you can examine and evaluate it a bit more objectively. Then identify the source of your belief. Did someone tell you that you weren’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough? Where did that message come from? Identify what triggered your insecurity by finding out what’s at the root of it. After gathering some information about how you feel regarding your insecurity, try to be as objective as possible and determine the facts of the situation. For example, a young woman might feel shame when she looks at a beauty magazine because she feels she doesn’t measure up in the looks department. But after coming to understand what her self-doubt is and that she’s receiving messages about her body from an external source, hopefully she can realize that although she may not look like a model, she does have a healthy, functioning, and beautiful body that she can be proud of and feel comfortable with. By taking a step toward looking at things from a big-picture perspective, you may find that the facts make your insecurity dissipate (or at least not take up so much space in your psyche). You’ve done a lot of “research” on your insecurity: You’ve identified what it is, where it came from, and whether it matches up with the facts. If you find that it’s more than just a nagging thing that’s bringing you down, perhaps consider it as a source of inspiration for you to make some changes. Is there something you want to achieve? If so, determine what it is. Maybe it’s dressing in a way that is more flattering to your body, maybe it’s advancing in your career, or maybe it’s feeling more connected in your relationships. Once you’ve identified your goal, figure out what small step or action you can take to get yourself closer to it. Insecurities aren’t always bad if they motivate us to improve. Dreams don’t come true overnight, so break things down little by little to achieve them. Insecurities aren’t fun. I’ve had my fair share, and although they may never leave us completely, there are steps we can take to make them more manageable and keep them from ruining an otherwise beautiful life. Dig a little deeper into what’s making you second guess yourself, figure out if it’s real, and if you choose to, use your insecurity as motivation to improve your life and relationships.

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