Insecurity and self-doubt are things we all grapple with. Sadly, many of us feel inherently incomplete. False ideas are thrown at us so often that they become normalized. Like the idea that there’s one acceptable personality type, body shape, or way of living. We feel caught and isolated because alternatives aren’t always easy to find.
It also really doesn’t help that we live in a constant state of insecurity. The course of our lives is largely unpredictable, and nothing is guaranteed. How can we trust in ourselves in a world that seems to thrive on our deepest fears and insecurities?
I think that part of overcoming insecurity is to cultivate a self-awareness so deep that external circumstances don’t shake you as much as they could otherwise. While it’s a deep and natural human desire to be accepted for who we are – or who we think we are – nothing can take the place of self-acceptance.
When we’re not sure of (or deny) who we are, we’re a lot more vulnerable. Instead of believing in ourselves and our own potential, we often look to others and the media to show us who to be. We might even strive to acquire more material possessions to fill us with a false sense of security.
I’m a great example of this. Throughout much of my young adult life, I spent a lot of valuable energy looking left and right, comparing myself and seeking acceptance from others, when all I ever had to do was look within.
When I accept myself, I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me. – Steve Maraboli
Instead of looking externally, I think our real journey is to discover who’s really inside us. To remember, in the words of Danielle LaPorte, “who you were, before the world told you who you should be.” And to accept that person. Because if you don’t accept yourself, no one else will. And if you do accept yourself, no one else will have to. Self-acceptance means a lot less comparison and a lot more self-compassion, both of which breed self-confidence. In an insecure world, self-love and acceptance is your biggest superpower.
Learning to accept yourself doesn’t imply that there’s nothing about yourself or your life that you would like to change. Self-acceptance is actually a prerequisite for change. (Check out this awesome book, Emotional Agility, for a lot more on that.) When you start where you are, there’s a lot less room for creating excuses. You’ve got to work with what you’ve got. That’s the only way it ever works.
It’s cool to like yourself
In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act. – Caroline Caldwell
So how do we go about doing all that? Seek out alternatives. Read what you want to read, watch what you want to watch, regardless of what others might be doing. Drop the self-judgment – seriously. Create more than you consume. Write out your thoughts, or express yourself in any other way, without thinking about being right – because there’s really no such thing. You can make your own rules. Get to know yourself, accept all your highs and lows, and the outside world won’t make such a marked difference in your happiness levels. When we fail to be true to ourselves, that’s when insecurity really wins.