To Overcome Your Insecurities, Understand Where They Come From

A crash course in eliminating negative thoughts.

Matt Lillywhite
Nov 30, 2020 · 5 min read
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Photo by Charnee May on Unsplash

I used to feel insecure all the time. I was frequently worried that everyone would judge me for the insecurities I saw in myself. Honestly, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror because I always felt embarrassed.

Looking back, I realize that I allowed negative thoughts to get to my head. I let my insecurities control my mindset and prevent me from living a genuinely happy life.

I felt hopeless. But one day, I learned that the best way to overcome your insecurities is to understand where they come from. Because once you can identify why they exist, it’s much easier to prevent them from affecting you in the future. Quoting an article published by VeryWellMind:

“When you start confronting your negative views, you can begin to notice how many of them are not true in your life. Instead of assuming the worst, you may realize that you feel disappointed you did not reach a certain goal, but also accept that you are learning and growing from your mistakes and setbacks.”

From this, I learned that your mindset will never improve until you take action. Why? Because the only person who can control your thoughts is you. Which means you have the power to prevent them from negatively impacting your life in the future.

Here’s how:

Spend A Few Minutes Each Day In Self-Reflection.

Blaise Pascal once wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” He’s right. We often avoid thinking about our problems because we hate feeling uncomfortable. However, that’s what we need to do. Because it’s only when you embrace the discomfort that you can truly expand your comfort zone.

Let me give you a personal example. I used to have social anxiety. I was genuinely afraid to make new friends. But one evening, I sat in my room for 30 minutes and thought about my rationale for being so scared of making new friends. I had a paralyzing fear of being judged. I couldn’t figure out how to overcome my negative thoughts.

I decided to take baby steps. The following day, I had a ten-second conversation with the barista in Starbucks. It went okay. So I started interacting more with people that I encountered in my daily life.

All of a sudden, I realized that a lot of my fears were unfounded. And in doing so, a lot of my insecurities quickly faded away. As Noam Shpancer writes in Psychology Today:

“Exposure is scary primarily because most people, lacking an understanding of the habituation principle, expect their fear to escalate indefinitely in the presence of a feared object or situation. But nothing rises indefinitely. And fear, if you face it, will soon begin to subside as you habituate.

Thus with anxiety, the only way out is through. If you’re anxious about spiders, you will have to handle spiders. If you’re scared of the elevator, you will have to ride the elevator repeatedly. If you dread talking in class, you will need to start talking in class. This is not easy to do, since confronting your fear will produce a lot of initial anxiety. You will have to stay in the feared situation and stay with the heightened fear response until it begins to subside, which it will, because it must by design.”

Spend a few minutes each day in self-reflection so you can better understand your insecurities. Because you learn how to control your negative thoughts, they will no longer be in control of you.

Then, Create A Roadmap To Get From A To B.

If you want to overcome your insecurities, you need to visualize what a better life might look like. For example, if you’re worried about judgment, a better life might involve walking down the street with a feeling of unlimited confidence.

Take a moment to understand where you are in life right now. It’s important not to judge yourself or wish for things to be different. Instead, practice acceptance.

Everything you’ve ever done has led you to this very moment. And likewise, everything you’ll ever accomplish shall be a reflection of your actions from this moment onwards.

If your past hasn’t been perfect, that’s okay. You have the power to change your life by figuring out where you are so you can create a roadmap to help you get to wherever you want to be.

This concept took me a while to get my head around. I thought it wouldn’t do anything to change my life and was just another self-improvement gimmick that people like to talk about on the internet.

But then I started to write down what a better life might look like. And within a short amount of time, my level of confidence quickly increased. After all, I put one foot in front of the other and made a little bit of daily progress towards my goals. Like the former President Barack Obama once said:

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

I recognized that nothing in my social life was going to change until I took action. So I stopped running from my insecurities and spent some time in self-reflection. It didn’t take long for me to start living a much better life than I ever thought possible.

Unless you have a time machine that I don’t know about, you can’t change the past. However, you can certainly change your actions in the present to create a better future.

Spend a few minutes in self-reflection. And whenever you encounter adversity, create a roadmap that will help you from A to B. The effect those two things will have on your mindset is incredibly profound.

I’m going to leave you with a beautiful quote from Ryan Holiday, who perfectly sums up what I’m trying to say:

“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.”

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Matt Lillywhite

Written by

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

Matt Lillywhite

Written by

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

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