Insecurity is as common as a cold. So many of us wander through life saddled with the effects of damaging childhoods, traumatic relationships or events and subsequent personal shortcomings; all of which can burden us with a lifetime of endless self-doubt.
7 Ways to Spot Insecurity
1. Defensiveness - when a person feels he or she isn't equal to others, a common way to respond is by putting others down, and being easily offended.
2. Arrogance - feeling 'less than' creates a false pride manifested by bragging, selfishness, constantly out performing others , judging people critically and unwilling to see own shortcomings.
3. Needy - requires constant validation, may have many physical or other 'special' needs that make them high maintenance to others. Can be highly jealous when not in the limelight. Also can be the 'suck-up' with no boundaires in the attempt to do better than the rest and get special recognition.
4."Quitter" Mentality - often have a track record of not finishing projects, relationships, school or careers.
5.Fearful - being constantly worried, anxious and fearful is a way of life for insecure people. What if I fail, what if they don't like me, what if they find out what a phony I am or my shameful past, secrets, etc.?
6. Angry - mad at the people that made them this way, and those they perceive as judging them but mostly angry at themselves for being so messed up. Insecure people have no peace and because they are always on the verge of losing it, tend to blow up easily.
7. Isolate - having to cope with so much never-ending inner turmoil leaves them raw. The only way to cope is to isolate from society, family, friends and numb out. Food, alcohol, drugs and distractions such as tv are used to stop thinking and feeling.
That's Me! Now What?
Most of us have some of the above traits imbedded in our personalities. But when it all starts running your life and causes you to make one bad decision after another, it's time to turn things around. Here are 7 steps you can take right now that will begin the process of becoming the person you want to be.
1. Be mindful of your actions, down to the smallest ones, but not in the paranoid sense that you may be curently doing out of habit. Instead simply begin noticing when your conscience tells you that what you're doing or saying is coming from insecurity. Then stop. This is hard at first. Resolve to forgive yourself for not suceeding at first and keep practicing mindfulness.
2. When you hurt someone with your words or actions, get in the habit of apologizing. Not profusely, just simply. For example: "I'm sorry I did that, it wasn't right and I'm working on it." Then let it go. Don't berate yourself or go into a long reason why you're so messed up. Keep it simple.
3.Get out of your comfort zone. What ever you are doing too much of to cope, stop. Isolating, talking endlessly, eating, drinking, shopping, over accomplishing - stop now. Instead, force yourself out of this habitual behavior. If you are sitting home with your cat again, force yourself to go somewhere, anywhere where you may want to interact with others. If you, on the other hand, hate being alone, make yourself sit down and read a book that's helpful to your recovery. Practice enjoying solitude from time to time.
4.Get counseling. Don't let your issues keep you in chains another day. People overcome their problems everyday and you can too. Yes, it's hard. Be determined and fearless.
5.Surround yourself with people on similar paths. AA and all its offshoots are invaluable in offering acceptance, accountability and support.
6.Seek a relationship with your Higher Power. When you become dedicated to a loving God, you can no longer get away with negative behavior without regretting it. And it's a wonderful feeling to know you are not alone and are loved just as you are.
7. Learn to be easy on yourself. Of all the people you are critical of now, no one gets more of your negativity than YOU. As you become mindful of your thinking, actions and words, you will gradually get tired of putting yourself down all the time. Be kind to yourself. Try something new and fun. Art, travel, new types of physical excersize, healthful eating, any type of self expression is good for the soul. And you will find yourself focusing on a new positive project instead of obsessing about your old problems.
Finally, remember that insecurity makes us self-centered in the worst way. To overcome it we have to take our minds off ourselves now and then and develop compassion for others. In helping people we not only make a difference in their lives, but we begin to see ourselves as giving instead of always reacting out of need.
I promise you that even though you think you are a lost cause today, if you commit to undertaking the above steps without condemming yourself for not being perfect at them, it won't be too long before you realize you are becoming the person you always wished you could be.
Jeanette Menter, author of "You're Not Crazy-You're Codependent" - What everyone affected by addiction, abuse, trauma or toxic shame must know to have peace in their lives. available at www.amazon.com
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