7 Signs You’re Insecure About Yourself video


Insecurity, we all have insecurities, it is something natural. But sometimes insecurity paralyzes us and sabotages our progress. What is insecurity? what are the signs and symptoms? And the causes? How do we overcome insecurity? 

What is emotional insecurity? Definition and meaning

Emotional insecurity, or self-insecurity, is a feeling of anxiety or nervousness caused by the perception of not being valuable, loved or good enough , especially compared to another person.

Being emotionally insecure means constantly worrying about not being good enough. Having a lack of confidence and all kinds of doubts about oneself can trigger many psychological problems such as impostor syndrome , anxiety, depression ... It is also a characteristic of disorders such as borderline disorder.

The opposite of emotional insecurity would be emotional security, what does it consist of? Emotional security is the ability by which a person is in control over their emotional state, they are psychologically resilient. Find out here what resilience is.

Dr. William E. Blitz was the first to develop a theory of emotional security. According to her, security is a state of mind in which the individual accepts the consequences of her behavior, all aspects of behavior in all her vital areas are interpreted in terms of security.

Emotional security is closely related to self-esteem, self-efficacy , self-acceptance.

Signs and Symptoms of insecurity

1. Defensive attitude

A person who feels threatened or pressured will act defensively. It is a natural reaction for everyone and does not mean that we are emotionally insecure.

The reason why a person behaves defensively is because their emotions rub against something of their identity and self-esteem . Without the ability to manage our emotions, the emotional realm and its expression can scare us. When we are afraid, we can react by fighting or fleeing from that threat.

Emotional insecurity is identified when a person responds defensively without listening to or accepting differences of point of view because they feel that their self-esteem and identity are shaking.

2. Redirect blame

Emotionally insecure people often attribute fault or error to factors outside of themselves or others. In this way they protect themselves in a certain way from the damage that their self-esteem causes them to assume their responsibility and make mistakes.

3. Compare

Comparison is something very common today, where we have access through social networks to the "life" of many people. However, what we see is not real life, it is the plot they want to share. But we never know what may be behind it.

Each one of us takes a personal journey, which is nothing like that of our friend, neighbor, brother ... Each one has a way of being, has certain experiences. Just as we cannot compare what is better if a dolphin or a horse, because they are simply different, it does not make sense to compare ourselves with others. And more when this is based on comparing our difficulties and miseries with the successes and the image that others want to give. It is a comparison in which we will always lose out .

4. Invalidation

Invalidation consists of belittling or criticizing another person or ourselves for feeling the way we do . Often insecure people have been invalidated by someone close to them, and they have integrated that discourse in such a way that they become invalidated themselves.

It is a very subtle form of self-abuse, and it can be difficult to identify. It can be expressed with phrases or thoughts such as: "You are being too sensitive", "I do not have to react like this", "It is not so bad".

5. Jealousy

Jealousy is a sign of emotional insecurity, whether it be jealousy towards your partner, friends, siblings ... Partner jealousy can seriously affect the relationship and is a risk factor for partner abuse.

6. Dependency

Dependence on others is also a sign of insecurity. If you cannot do anything without consulting your parents, your partner, your friends, if you need their constant validation it means that you do not consider your own criteria as valid and acceptable.

7. Low confidence in yourself

As we have mentioned, low self-efficacy or low self-confidence is closely related to emotional insecurity. And it is that, an insecure person is likely to believe that he is not good enough to perform certain tasks. Sometimes one way to handle this unpleasant feeling is to compensate with a domineering and even abusive attitude.

Causes of insecurity

There is no specific cause for insecurity, for each person it will be different. Both past experiences and an innate tendency to have self-confidence will influence

The experience

We are not born with insecurities. It is usually as we grow and receive information from the environment and interact with others when they appear.

Our experiences and learnings leave a mark. That imprint can be encouraging and supportive and can sometimes be damaging, negatively affecting our emotional well-being.

When it comes to developing our sense of identity, self-perception, and competence, the message we receive from our loved ones is very important . Experiences of teasing or bullying can undermine our safety, as can our parenting style.

If a child is flattered excessively, he will grow up depending on the validation of others, and ignoring his own , he will tend to do things to obtain sympathy from others, favoring his insecurity. Find out here how to praise children to boost their self-esteem.

Both neglectful and overprotective parents will damage the child's safety . A parent who does not take care of the child's needs will encourage the child to internalize the message that they are not lovable. An overprotective parent sends the message that the child is not capable of doing things for himself, that he needs someone to assist him or do them for him.

And it is that for our children to grow up confident they need to perceive that they are loved for who they are, not for what they do or for their achievements. They need to be treated with acceptance and compassion , not criticism and hostility .

Our internal dialogue

Our internal dialogue acts both as a cause and as a consequence of insecurity, and serves to perpetuate feelings of self-doubt.

A negative and critical internal voice is often the cause of the internalization of the messages that we have been receiving during our lives. Some of the most common messages are:

  • You're stupid
  • You are not attractive
  • You are a failure
  • You don't do anything right
  • No one is going to love you
  • You are fat
  • You are a loser
  • You will never make friends
  • You will never get X
  • What am I going to try it for?

Like an evil coach, this voice tends to get louder as you get closer to your goals "You're going to screw up any minute." We often react to these thoughts before we realize we have them, so if we don't start to be more aware of them they will take control of our life.

Job insecurity

Insecurity can affect us in many areas of our lives. We are all going to have an internal critical voice that is present in some areas more than others. For example, you may feel very safe in your work but quite the opposite in your love life, or the other way around. Most of us have at some point these thoughts of self-sabotage towards ourselves or our professional career. Some examples are:

  • You don't know what you're doing
  • Who do you think you are? You will never succeed
  • You can't take so much pressure
  • You won't get to do it all
  • You better do it perfect or you will be fired
  • No one is going to hire you
  • When are you going to get a real job?

How does job insecurity influence us?

Now we are not talking about insecurity regarding our own performance at work, but about having an unstable job . According to some research, having job insecurity has a more negative impact on the health of the population than losing a job, especially for men.

Employees who fear losing their job enter an "anticipatory phase" where they are aware that their position is threatened but have no further information.

Job insecurity leads to stress, increased alcohol and tobacco use, and increased medical appointments. Prolonged job insecurity can also lead to cardiovascular problems and even cancer.

Insecurity in the partner

Whether you are single, have sporadic relationships, or have a long-term relationship there are many ways in which your inner critical voice can sabotage our love life. Relationships can arouse many insecurities and bring with them emotions that we do not expect . The fear of intimacy and being vulnerable to the other person can bring a lot of insecurity.

Listening to that negative inner voice can damage our relationships with others. It can cause us to feel desperate towards the partner or to try to walk away when it gets serious. It can intensify feelings of jealousy and possessiveness , or leave us feeling rejected and unworthy.

Some phrases of our internal critic can be:

  • You will not find another person who understands you
  • Don't get too fooled
  • It's too good for you
  • You have to make me stay interested
  • When he meets you he will go away
  • Do not open yourself too much or it will end up hurting you

How to overcome insecurity

Once we are aware of our insecurities, we can begin to challenge them.

Write your critical thoughts

This can be difficult at first, but it is very important to do it to begin to be aware of what situations trigger them and what they tell us . In this way we can start to handle them. Once we have managed to write some, instead of writing them in the first person, change them to the second person. Instead of writing "I am not worth anything" write "You are not worth anything". This will help us to distance ourselves from these attacks, seeing them as an external enemy.

Reflect on them

Think and reflect on your reactions to these negative thoughts. Do they remind you of someone or something from your past? In what situations? Discovering how these thoughts have formed can help us to distance ourselves from them, feel compassion, and reject these attitudes as a true reflection of ourselves.

Question thoughts

This step is often difficult, as it is difficult to turn against those beliefs and insecurities that we have held for so long. Respond to these self-attacks, express your real point of view. Convince your negative inner voice why what it says is wrong . It can be very helpful to write them as rational and realistic statements about who you are. If this is difficult, it may help to imagine that these phrases are said by a friend about himself.

How do they influence your life?

Reflect on how these negative thoughts affect you at work, with your partner, as a parent, in your personal goals ... What triggers your insecurity? In which areas does insecurity influence you the most?

Change those thoughts

The final step is to make a plan to change those thoughts. If your insecurity keeps you from asking someone out on a date or pursuing a promotion, it's time to do just that . Ignore those thoughts that trip you up. It is not something simple, but with practice it improves.

The mindfulness meditation can be helpful to see those thoughts as something external to us as something that we do not fully identify as something that comes and goes. These thoughts are not a reflection of reality or how you are. Don't believe them.

And when you identify them, let them go, and replace them with something you would say to your best friend if they had that thought. Treat yourself with compassion.

Emotional insecurity in children

The most severe emotional insecurities in children stem from some type of attachment disorder . These disorders are formed in childhood and can have serious effects on a child's well-being, schooling, behavior, and social relationships.

Discover here the types of attachment that exist and here all about attachment theory.

Attachment problems occur when the child's primary caregiver fails to meet the child's emotional needs , and / or parental hostility is shown in front of the child.

If a child develops an attachment problem, this does not necessarily mean that the caregiver has not cared for him adequately, it simply means that certain needs of the child have not been taken care of as he would have needed. This happens especially when the child has suffered great stress very early, as in neonatal units, for example.

That is why it is so important to surround the child with a calm environment from a very early age. The first two years of life are critical for the development of attachment. Insecurities can be seen in babies a few months old, if they do not have a consistent type of care.

However, this is not to say that insecure attachment cannot be repaired. It is possible to modify the type of attachment with time and patience.

Characteristics of an attachment disorder

The characteristics of an attachment problem can vary from child to child but can include:

  • Shy children who avoid eye contact and smile, cry uncontrollably.
  • Inhibited, quiet children who do not want physical contact.
  • They can be socially awkward and withdrawn
  • They are comfortable alone and perform behaviors to calm themselves, such as rocking.

The severity of these problems varies, but it is important to recognize it early. If they are not treated early, they can develop difficulties connecting with others and managing their own emotions, which complicates the situation.

To heal the attachment, you have to provide an environment and a relationship of security, where you feel that you are loved for who you are and not for what you do or for your achievements.

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