Being insecure during current times is common and absolutely normal. But not just now, on several occasions in life don’t many of us perceive ourselves to be vulnerable in some way (could be socially, financial, professionally or personal), feel filled with self-doubt, feel short on confidence, have fear of failure, start believing that we don’t have enough to offer or are not smart enough as other people? Well, these are all forms of insecurities and it won’t be wrong to say that there isn’t a person amongst us who doesn’t have insecurities.
Is it normal to feel insecure? It is, because these are just our responses to the uncertainty of the VUCA times we are in or may be a manifestation of our beliefs we have lived with so far. But at the same time, what we need to be cognizant of is the fact that though it might be normal to feel insecure but what makes a difference is how we deal with it as it may have repercussions on our health, emotional well being and mayalso impact people around us.
What are the common insecurities we all go through?
For each one of us insecurities will be different. For some of us it may show up as social insecurity when we feel people around are always looking at us, talking about us and judging us or being excluded from a group of friends/events making it difficult to make new friends, network and socialize.
For some it could take the form of professional insecurity – fear of losing your job, denied roles and responsibilities, fear of failing to meet timelines etc. Since the lock down, many of us might be having insecurities around our work, given the state of our economy we are operating in.
Many times, professional insecurities give rise to economic insecurities. This revolves around our financial capability or even incapability. When we are financially insecure, we are afraid that we may not have a steady income or savings for our family or support a certain standard of living.
Understanding why we feel insecure will help us deal with it better
Insecurities makes us angry, anxious and negatively impacts our mental and emotional well being. Insecurities make us panic, procrastinate, keep us away from things we ought to do and has bearings on the people we live and interact with.
If we introspect, we realize that most of our insecurities are a culmination of our beliefs and thoughts which could be influenced by factors like:
· Certain life events
· Past Traumas
· Recent experiences of failure or rejection
· Having a critical people around or being a self-critic
· Comparing yourself to others
Also, there are some common cognitive errors impacting our thinking pattern and might be fueling our insecurities. Lets look at some of them:
Here, you see certain things in black or white categories. Something is either good or bad, right or wrong; there’s no room for middle ground. It makes us think of the extreme and can lead to low esteem and feeling of not being good enough. Eg: I answered one question wrong, so I’m a failure or I didn’t get a promotion so I might as well quit my job.
Overgeneralisation involves reaching a conclusion about an event and applying that conclusion across the board. It can cause you to feel hopeless and might stop you from trying to learn and grow. Eg: You may have cooked a dish badly and you conclude you are a terrible cook.
Another thought pattern which can lead to insecurities is the tendency to ignore positives and exclusively focus on negatives. Eg : If you receive feedback at work which says you’re a great team player, you have creative ideas and you could work on being more punctual, you might focus solely on the fact that you should be more punctual and ignore all the other positive feedback.
This is about taking things personally when they’re not connected to or caused by you at all. Eg: When you blame yourself for circumstances that aren’t your fault or are beyond your control.
Let us all take an inward view
There are many causes of insecurities in our lives, but what matters more is how we deal with them. We can take steps to deal with our insecurities, to push past our insecurities and dare to follow your dreams.
To deal with insecurities, we need to change our perspective, from an outward view which is based on fear where we feel everything is out to get us to an inward view which is full of possibilities, choices and purpose to emerge stronger and positive. There isn’t much we can do to fix the world we live in but changing our minds and seeing things positively is freedom from our insecurities and fears in true sense. In the moment(s) of insecurity, focusing on possibilities, forcing our mind to shift from problem to solution, brings hope and positivity. Taking action leads to positive consequences that can potentially help us reduce insecurities and boost confidence. And doing this regularly, can create a habit of fighting insecurities mindfully.
As we celebrated our Independence Day this month, I have pledged to free myself from my insecurities. And when I say “free” I mean, to deal with them positively, find my moments of joy, leverage my strengths and stay optimistic, always !