What can I do about my insecurities?

I’ve recently realized that I’m a much more insecure person than I thought I was. A lot of things I’ve done up until now, especially those involved efforts (e.g. getting into a good university, choosing a hard major, working out, being drawn to combat sports), is at least partially to make up for that. But all of them have come to naught recently when someone rejected my feeling for them. What can I do about my insecurities?

Sorry to hear that you’ve had your feelings rejected by another – this is always hard to deal with and it’s not unusual to feel more insecure and conscious of what we consider to be our weaknesses, “unattractiveness” and flaws when we are rejected. Our brains seem to like delving into these perceptions of ourselves, regardless of their veracity in order to attempt to find an explanation for the rejection. A measured amount of this sort of reflection can be useful – we need to check if there was something we did or said that led the person to reject our feelings. It can also be helpful to seek feedback from the person directly to help us understand what has happened, although sometimes this isn’t possible or appropriate. Our trusted friends can sometimes offer a realist’s perspective that we cannot quite see for ourselves.

Often, it’s not possible to fully understand why our feelings have been rejected. When we are hurting and feeling insecure it can be helpful to do the following: take a reality check on how critically we are appraising ourselves; embrace non-comparison (ie. try not to compare self to others;) get present focused – try practicing mindfulness; shift focus to the things in life that bring enjoyment; reflect on personal strengths and qualities and think and act on things that help us feel good about ourselves in the present moment.

In our society, there is often a focus on attaining goals in order to feel good about ourselves. However, a form of ‘self-esteem’ such as this can let us down when we need it the most – when we fail or are rejected. An alternative approach is to develop self-compassion. Consider what you may say to a close friend who was rejected in this way? Can you try and direct that kindness to yourself? Insecurity, or vulnerability of spirit is a universal human experience. It’s essentially humility. By bringing self-compassion forward perhaps it is possible to appreciate ourselves more deeply.


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