Insecurity is a personal trait that often goes undetected. It can seem easy to recognize another’s insecurity, but quite difficult to see it within ourselves. I discovered some of my own insecurities recently, and decided to do the personal work to overcome them. In that effort, I read a book called The Tender Heart. This book helps you identify if you are insecure, why you became insecure, how insecurity affects your relationships, and how to work through overcoming insecurities.
Although most people have a few insecurities, there is a disposition that makes individuals prone to insecurity. People are born inherently sensitive or insensitive. On this scale of sensitivity, a sensitive person will also be very likely to develop insecurity over the insensitive person. The insecurity comes from early childhood experiences like being teased in school, having absent or abusive parents, moving around a lot, constant separation from parents, being under constant criticism, and others.
If you identify with the above scenarios, have a look at the following traits. If you find any of these to a mild or severe degree, you have some insecurity.
Do you take any comments about you or your work personally? Do you have a hard time laughing at yourself? If you get defensive or argumentative about anything that can be perceived as criticism, you have insecurity. I have found myself defensive and making excuses on many occasions for non-personal feedback. A teacher or manager may offer guidance on a project. It isn’t intended to be an attack, but assistance to help you grow. If you reject it out of insecurity, you’re missing out on valuable personal development.
Are you then critical of others to try to build yourself up? If you find yourself criticizing a lot, then you’re only trying to build yourself up to feel better about insecurity. When you criticize, are you complaining to a friend or to no one at all, just the television? If you are having a one-way conversation criticizing others, then you are showing definite signs of insecurity.
3. Unrealistic Expectations.
Do you harbor expectations of yourself and others that are impossible to meet? Do you beat yourself up for not meeting the expectation you have set for yourself? Do you expect things of your partner, yet neglect to tell him/her what you want. You are only setting yourself up for disappointment if you do. Do you expect your partner to never do or say anything to hurt you? I assure you if you’re human you will do something to hurt others and they will hurt you. It may not be intentional, but it’s a natural part of life and relationships. If your expectations are too high and unmet, it will only lead you to frustration and anger.
If you grow frustrated and angry when things don’t go as you expect and you are too sensitive to those things, it’s a sign of insecurity. You may just think you’re a little spoiled, but in truth, insecurity lies within. Are you not getting enough attention or not advancing in your career as you’d like? Are you getting frustrated with these things? If you just get angry and don’t act like an adult and take action, then you are only giving in to insecurity.
After things don’t go your way do you get down on yourself and feel sorry for yourself? Thinking Oh poor me, no one ever sees my value or they can’t give me a chance. People always get down on me. If you discover these or like thoughts as you monitor your internal dialogue, you are facing the pity party that comes from insecurity.
While you’re feeling sorry for yourself, do you separate from people, stay in bed all weekend, or generally withdraw? Does it take you days to recover from an assumed slight on you from another person? If you are withdrawing, you can also be reacting to your feelings of insecurity.
There are a number of signs here that can trigger your awareness of insecurity. Insecurity can undermine your life’s goals and your relationships leaving you lonely and stifled. Give yourself permission to be assertive and comfortable with yourself as you are. Then there’s no reason to be defensive, always accommodating, a doormat, and open up to being hurt all the time. You can still be a sensitive, emotional person, but that doesn’t mean you must be insecure. To me, the best combination is to be sensitive and secure. Then you get the best of all worlds. Do the hard work of recognizing your insecurities and then making new choices in your reactions and attitude to get past them. Create new life pathways because you can!