Warning signs of insecurity and overcoming its grip
Overcoming insecurity and self-doubt in relationships
“If it wasn’t for you, things would have gone smoothly!” Does this refrain sound familiar?
We all have issues with insecurity or have met highly insecure people. In the statement above, blaming others other than looking at oneself is a sign of entrenched insecurity. The grip of insecurity can be strong and at times even devastating. Indeed, dealing with insecurities is an overwhelming and challenging task.
What causes these insecurities, how do we recognize them and best handle them as they make an unwelcome appearance?
What causes insecurity?
In a relationship with our spouse, family and friends, the insecurity can stem from a few sources.
Trust issues from past relationships or experiences
The person may have been let down before in a relationship or experience. The hurt could have cause a fear and distrust of others.
The insecurity can also come from feeling guilty about previous mistakes made and perhaps forcing the self correction on others.
A poor feeling of self-acceptance
Though he may not admit it, an insecure person has a strong inferiority complex and cannot accept himself as he is. It causes him to make negative remarks about everything.
A fear of being overshadowed
This is the greatest cause of insecurity. More often than not, people have a fear that others will do better or out shine them in areas of work or relationships. This fear of being overshadowed creates insecurity.
Poor body image
At times, the outward appearance puts a bearing on a person’s sense of security because they are often told negative things about it, eg, “You’re too fat,’ “You’re too skinny” or “too short.” The body image may have even led to circumstances of bullying in childhood.
Body image definitely causes a few security issues. For some, working on one’s outer image, dress sense or fitness can help to develop a better sense of security.
What are the signs of insecurity
The first move anyone has to make to overcome insecurity is to recognize its presence and signs. Not knowing or denying that there is insecurity can be a stumbling block to overcoming it.
Inability to give a compliment
An insecure person usually has difficulty giving others compliments because their very insecurity, or perhaps one among a few, is the fear of being out done by others. So they refuse to see the good in anything that others do and keep compliments to a minimum. In extreme cases, this may even lead to negative, destructive criticism.
Inability to make eye contact
An insecure person always looks down rather than makes eye contact with others, for fear of revealing too much to the other party or out of sheer fear of being seen for who they are. I am sure you have seen this many times - an insecure person will try not to look at you.
An insecure person has a lot of self-doubt.
One sign of insecurity is doubting one’s own abilities. When you have fear of completing tasks or overcoming challenges, it is a sign of lack of confidence in the ability to do so.
Challenges present insecurities that we have to overcome all the time. This is why they do the tough job of bringing us out of our comfort zones.
A sign of insecurity is the need for control.
An insecure person has a need to be sure that he or she is in the know about everything. They believe that if not, all hell breaks loose. They need to know that circumstances are occurring in the way they deem fit.
Have you met the person in the office who needs to be sure that you follow the procedures he or she has set to the letter, or the boss who is so afraid of being overshadowed that he puts measures in place to curtail his subordinates’ progress? Familiar, and insecure.
An insecure person is defensive.
An insecure person assumes that everything that is said is an arrow ready to be aimed at him. His fear of criticism is very much greater than others’, so he has the belief that everyone is pointing fingers at him. Statements he makes tend to be defenses of his actions.
An insecure person is not willing to share personal information
An insecure person does not share much about himself to anyone. He fears that any weaknesses he has will be on display as well. He hardly, if ever, tells the truth about himself.
When a person is insecure, he always needs to be right.
Have you ever met the person who needs to be correct about everything? That is Mr. Insecure. He is afraid to be seen as the loser in an argument and his point always has to come across as the winner.
This is sometimes true of arguments between parents and children. The parent sometimes does not want to admit that his child may have a point for fear of losing control.
An insecure person is not willing to share his or her happiness.
When a person is insecure, he or she feels uncomfortable witnessing the success of others around him. He runs that success down with criticism for fear of being overshadowed.
I know of someone who criticizes the children of her friends when they seem to have more success than her own. They are either not smart enough or beautiful enough and anyone who has children who prove their success in certain areas evoke deep seated fear.
An insecure person has bouts of frustration.
An insecure person has occasions of frustration when he thinks that he has not achieved enough or when he has been surpassed in relationships or at work. The frustration can cause him to be unreasonably critical of others around him.
An insecure person is always fault finding.
An insecure person always sees faults in everything and is also Miss or Mr. Perfectionist.
Nothing is ever good enough for this person.
I know of someone who recently criticized a friend’s apartment, well-swept and kept, for being very dirty. She insisted on coming down personally to clean the apartment until my friend had to put a firm stop to it.
How do we deal with an insecure person?
An insecure person, whether conscious of it or not, can have a toxic presence. He either makes you feel negative about him, or worse still, about yourself and your abilities. So how do we deal with such a person?
Have a little understanding and empathy.
When you feel angry or irritated by the behavior or unnatural criticisms of an insecure person, try to look beyond the anger and into the reasons why that person might be behaving in such a way. A little empathy helps to quell your own anger.
In the example of the lady who forced her presence on my friend’s “dirty” home, the same lady has deep seated health and relationship issues. Often, issues that are difficult to resolve cause some unstable behavior.
With such knowledge on hand, be kind to the insecure person and try to understand that he or she has issues to deal with. Sometimes a word in kindness might serve as a prompt for him or her to change any toxic behavior.
Learn to ignore the insecure person’s criticism.
While this is a challenge, it sometimes has to be done, especially when the insecure person is your own parent or sibling. Knowing that the criticism they give has no grounds, try the best you can to ignore it. Remember that it has no actual bearing on yourself or your ability.
Give them a little help.
Sometimes a kind prompt might serve to help the insecure person realize the negativity of their own actions. Or, if amenable, talk them through the issue that is bothering them.
Watch out for yourself.
Do not get drawn in by an insecure person’s toxic remarks and remember that in trying to help them, these negative remarks or actions can also hurt you.
I had a good friend who had deep seated insecurities that caused her to distrust everyone. When I approached her, she locked me out of her home. Thus I learned the valuable lesson of having to watch out for ourselves when helping the insecure person, for their problems may require assistance we may not be equipped to give.
Provide a listening ear.
When a person opens up to you about insecurities, be kind and offer a listening ear for it is not easy for someone with insecurity to trust anyone. Shutting him out closes the doors to trust and thus, change.
How do I overcome my own insecurity?
Much as we do not like to admit this, we all have issues that challenge our sense of security. If not addressed or dealt with, these issues can consume and make us the toxic persons we dislike. We can set ourselves up for failure if we do not deal with our insecurities.
Address it honestly.
It is understandable that addressing insecurity is very uncomfortable, yet it must be done. When facing insecurity, do not deny the problem. Instead, face it and find positive sources to conquer the negative feelings.
Accept who you are.
Each one of us, with our insecurities, has something to contribute to society and life. With that knowledge, accept ourselves and be proud of that! Our inner beauty is our own and must be cherished.
We may be the victims of toxic remarks and insecurity, and when we are, we should remind ourselves to prevent our thoughts from veering towards the negative. Remember that the retention of a positive attitude is of the essence.
Find the source of our insecurity.
Is there something that triggers irritation or perhaps brash behavior? That would be the source of our insecurity. Sometimes, it requires a little digging to get through to the root of the problem.
The lady who tried to force my friend to let her clean her home not only has health problems but also has a fear of facing the illness alone. The actual source of our insecurities may run a little deeper that we may be aware of.
Ask how the fear or insecurity can benefit you.
Feelings of insecurity do not benefits us, so once we recognize it, take a step back and ask how the self-doubt can benefit us.
Make some practical plans to conquer your insecurity.
Once we know that we suffer from insecurity, make some practical plans to conquer it. Perhaps it is enrolling in a class, or daily meditation. It could even be a daily walk.
Examine your thoughts.
Examine your thoughts and determine whether these thoughts are based on fact. Challenge them and ask whether they have any basis.
Take small steps.
It may not be realistic to overcome your insecurity at once. If your insecurity has to do with not having enough knowledge, enroll in courses that increase that knowledge. If it is with a relationship, give yourself time to talk to the other person.
In conclusion, insecurity is an all too prevalent problem that should be addressed before it gets out of hand and hence, toxic. If you know someone who is insecure, try, if possible, to give them a hand.
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