It sucks when you're plagued with self-doubt, but it sucks even more when those thoughts and worries stop you from trying something really cool. It's tough stuff to learn how to stop your insecurities in their tracks, but you have to learn to ignore the critics in your head if you ever want to accomplish something truly great. Whether it's getting over your worries about showing up to a pool in a swimsuit, joining a volleyball league when you're not the most coordinated, trying your hand at art for the first time, or reaching for a job you might not be the best qualified for, if you let your insecurities win then you'll never know all that you're capable of. And even worse, you might miss out on some amazing opportunities and stellar memories.
Whether you're insecure that you're unlikeable or not good enough, nine point five out of 10 times there's no actual truth to it. It's just fiction made up in your head that keeps you where it's safe: In your comfort zone. But while nothing embarrassing and nothing scary happens in your comfort zone, not much changes in there, either. If you're ready to grow and see what your full potential is, it's time to roll up your sleeves and tackle those insecurities head on. It's going to be tough, but anything that involves growing as a person usually is. To help in this awesome journey and to give you some guidance where to start, below are seven tips on how to stop your insecurities before they have the chance to limit yourself — try them out and see what happens.
1. Shake The Self-Centered Point Of View
First thing's first: Your insecurities might feel earth-shattering, but no one's noticing. Hell, half the time no one even notices you walk down the street or enter a room. Stop stressing. Lifestyle writer Daniel Wallen at Lifehack pointed out, "A self-centered worldview will have you chasing boogeymen where they don’t exist." When you feel your insecurities starting to hold you back from trying new things or enjoying a situation, just bring that reminder up: You're acting self-centered. No one will notice, and if they will, they'll forget it in the span of five minutes. Is that enough to stop you from doing something awesome?
2. Realize You Invented The Critic In Your Head
Everyone has a critic or warning voice in our head that pushes the panic button right before we're about to try something scary and exciting. It's that annoying guy that tells you you can't when you so can. And more times than not, he convinces us.
In order to shake that critic, realize he doesn't exist without your voice. As in, you're the one that's writing yourself these insecurities.
According to PsychAlive, an expert-run psychology site, "Like a mean coach, this voice tends to get louder as we get closer to our goals. 'You’re gonna screw up any minute. Everyone will realize what a failure you are. Just quit before it’s too late.' Oftentimes, we react to these thoughts before we even realize we are having them. We may grow shy at a party, pull back from a relationship...Just imagine what life would be like if you didn’t hear any of these mean thoughts echo in your head."
Don't be mean to yourself just because something scares you and is new. If you can tell yourself you can fail, you can just as easily tell yourself you can succeed.
3. Think Back To The Origin Story Of Your Inner Critic
If you understand why you have that critic in your head in the first place, you can feel sympathy towards yourself and try to shield yourself from the mean attacks. PsychAlive offered, "It can be helpful to uncover the relationship between these voice attacks and the early life experiences that helped shape them. This too will allow you to feel some self-compassion and reject these attitudes as accurate reflections of who you are."
If you realize you're insecure about working out because your dad always teased you for your form or stopped singing because you had a crabby teacher that liked to tear you down, you'll realize those aren't your opinions. They're someone else's, and they don't get a say.
4. See That Your Thoughts Create Your Reality
Our reality is created by what we see and what we think, so if we believe we suck and we can't do something then, yea, we won't be able to do it. But what happens when you change that thought process? What happens when you believe in yourself and not let the opinion of other people's thoughts get a say? Reality completely changes.
Emily Roberts, author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are and contributor to psych site Healthy Place, explained, "We really can be ourselves if we can remember that it’s our perception that matters. It’s a waste of energy to try to see ourselves through other people’s eyes. The reality is they’re paying far less attention than we think. It is just our low self-esteem trying to trick us." Don't fall for the trick: Change the way you think and you'll change the way you experience things.
5. Give Yourself The Same Pep Talk You Would To A Friend
What happens when your friend looks at you with sad eyes and tells you they can't do something? Um, you tell them to knock it off because they so can! Now do that same thing to yourself — give yourself that same amount of confidence and love.
PsychAlive suggested, "Respond to your attacks the way you would to a friend who was saying these things about him or herself, with compassion and kindness." Don't let yourself get away with your shit — remind yourself you're awesome and you can do anything, just like you would tell your best friend.
6. Erase That Perfect Version Of Yourself
We each have a perfect versions of ourselves in our minds: That person that's the right shape, the right personality, with the right job and somehow manages to impress everyone they meet. Well, get rid of her. Once you erase that perfect idea of yourself, you have nothing to compare the real thing to. Meaning, you'll never fall short.
According to life coach Gary van Warmerdam on self-development site Pathway to Happiness, "Changing the 'not good enough' image is much easier once you have broken your belief in the image of perfection. Without the image of perfection you no longer have the comparison reinforcing the unworthy self image." It's not realistic to think you'll change and just forget all the experiences, moments, and lessons that molded you into the person you are. Don't compare yourself to someone that could never exist — it's a waste of time.
7. Practice Some Self Compassion
Instead of trying to raise your self-esteem to fight your insecurities, why don't you try to raise your self-compassion, instead. PsychAlive highlighted, "Research by Dr. Kristen Neff found self-compassion to be far more psychologically beneficial than self-esteem. Self-esteem still focuses on evaluation and performance, where self-compassion encourages an attitude of kindness and patience." When you feel nervous or like you can't do anything, be kind to yourself and encourage yourself to try. Take baby steps, don't stress, and try.
Once we realize our own strength and that we matter, we can begin to change. Shush the critics, give yourself the time to adjust to the knowledge that you really are capable, and encourage yourself like you would a best friend. Then, just watch the insecurities fade away.