I’ve noticed that people tend to believe that feeling insecure is a character flaw. While it’s true that we don’t value insecurity in our society, it may be worthwhile to re-evaluate that position. When we face an insecurity, it allows us to access vulnerability, which can be a very powerful experience.
Vulnerability is the state of being able to get hurt, while insecurity is a feeling of unease as a result of recognizing that you’re vulnerable. The fact is that we’re all vulnerable at times, but our perceptions determine how often and how deeply we feel insecure.
Insecurity is simply a part of the human condition. Many famous people have both suffered from it and commented on it over the years. One of my favorite quotes came from Georgia O’Keefe. She said, “I’ve been absolutely terrified every day of my life, but I’ve never let it stop me from doing a single thing.” Eleanor Roosevelt recommended doing “one thing every day that frightens you.” But others, like Carly Simon, let their insecurity cripple them for years.
How can you make the shift from being held back by your insecurity into a place of acknowledging it and even learning from it? How can you get a little more comfortable being vulnerable? Because the truth is, when we close down in an effort to avoid being vulnerable, we lose our ability to connect with others.
I think it’s important to make that shift in all areas of your life so you can live fully; facing your insecurities is a powerful tool for growth. Here are some steps you can take to face your insecurites head on and use them to help you grow.
1. Take an honest look at your insecurities. What are your triggers? Do you tend to feel more insecure in business situations or interpersonal interactions? Identify the “what” first: what are you insecure about? Try to get at least a general idea of what triggers one of your insecurities. Chances are, the answer will come quickly. You might not like it, but hang in there with it.
2. For each insecurity, ask yourself “why.” Can you remember the first time you felt this way? Can you remember something one of your parents, siblings or other important people in your life may have said to install that insecurity? For example, perhaps one of your parents cheated and you felt the effect it had on your other parent (and the family in general). This could make you insecure about your own partner cheating.