If someone is feeling insecure, it’s usually about experiencing a threat or inadequacy of some sort. Most people have felt it at one time or another and that’s pretty normal but when it starts to sabotage your relationship or success in your job, it starts to become very damaging. It stops peace of mind and prevents people from relaxing and being authentic and genuine – they will be asking for reassurance or be mistrusting of others’ motives and actions.
Whilst a lot of people think that the insecurity comes from something that their partner said, mostly it comes from within themselves. However, it probably started in childhood or early teens when someone was very hurt or threatened or perhaps couldn’t depend on what a parent said as they were always let down. If, growing up, children were judged harshly and criticised a lot, there’s usually a residual feeling of never being good enough.
If this is how you, or someone close to you, feels, here are some things that you can do:
- First of all, try to build up your self-esteem – most people who feel insecure have low self-esteem and they look outside of themselves for validation. However, when you’re trying to feel good by getting approval from others, it doesn’t really address the issue and also puts a burden on your partner, friends and family. By working on your self-esteem by reading a book, doing an on-line course or having counselling can help a lot with feelings of insecurity.
- With a partner, sometimes the feelings of insecurity are valid inasmuch as they’ve let you down before, lied to you or been unfaithfully. However, you mostly have a choice about how you deal with this and although you may not want to leave or can’t see a way to leave it because of other responsibilities, you can try to put down some boundaries and explain what the outcome will be if this continues. Although your partner may not be reliable, you can still feel secure in yourself as a good and caring human being.
- Have some trust in yourself if the insecurity was there before you met your partner. Recognise that you don’t have to beautiful or rich to attract a good partner – your particular characteristics are the most important thing and this applies with friends and family members too. Remember the traits that you have that are valuable – this could be a good communicator, you’re funny, kind and generally a nice person. Focus on what you have to offer, rather than what you perceive as a lack of something.
- Avoid people whom you feel insecure with – in other words, protect yourself. If a group of colleagues is very ‘cliquish’ and ‘excluding’, try to go out with them on a one-to-one basis and don’t socialise with them after work. They may feel that you’re unfriendly but this is about you, not them, and if you feel worse when you go out with them, avoid it.
- That leads onto surrounding yourself with people who are supportive – not so that they can validate you in some way but because they ‘get’ you and you feel you have things in common and nothing to prove to them. In other words, they like you for who you are and you don’t have to pretend to be someone else in their company.
Remember, no-one can see your insecurity so sometimes imagining how you’d really like to be can help in actually being that person. Visualise how you’d be if you weren’t insecure and work towards that image. It will take time but you’ll feel better for it eventually.