I’ve been thinking a lot about whether insecurity can be helpful, and my conclusion is that it can be. We don’t have to let our insecurities erode our well-being and psychological stability. It doesn’t have to be that way.
The problem is we are led to believe there is something “wrong” with us when we feel insecure. As a result, our instinct is to try to rescue ourselves with forced confidence, and if that doesn’t work, we run and hide. These aren’t long-term solutions, just temporary band aids that will eventually fall off and leave the wound exposed. So, what else can we do? My suggestion is making your insecurities your friends.
First of all, we have to realize that our minds are hardwired to be sensitive to perceived threats. It’s how we evolved to identify and solve problems quickly. However, we are unfortunately operating with mental machinery that is hundreds of thousands of years old. So often times, the primitive areas in our brains are activated when we begin feeling insecure about modern day threats (speaking in public, starting a new job, going on a date, etc.). The problem is that the primitive brain can be unnecessarily dramatic–for all it knows you are about to get eaten by a bear.
Think of one of your drama king or queen friends. God love em, but man, can they be dramatic sometimes. Still, they serve a purpose and are a part of your team, even though you can’t take EVERYTHING they say too seriously. This is the type of internal friend your insecurities can be. People who are prone to being dramatic are usually quite interesting and are always a work in progress, and if you think about it, that’s kind of what your insecurities are like too– quite interesting and a signal that something about you is a work in progress. That’s really it. Not so threatening after all, right?
So, here’s an idea on how to approach your next moment of insecurity. Instead of indulging in the accompanying thoughts and feelings, maybe you simply and kindly say to yourself, “thank you, brain friend, for the interesting feedback. I appreciate you letting me know that I have areas of improvement (AKA you’re human!).” And then, remind yourself that the very nature of this internal friend is to be a little over the top, so you don’t get overwhelmed. In other words, the strategy here is to extract what’s important, and throw the rest away.
To wrap this post up, we are all insecure to some extent, but how we relate to those insecurities is what matters most. If forcing yourself to feel confident or hiding from your insecurities works for you, stick with that. If not, I hope you find some of these ideas useful.