Insecurity is one of the most debilitating mindsets the average human can experience. Years ago, when my insecurity and self-consciousness levels were at their peak, I found it difficult to keep conversation going with even my closest of friends. Imagine that! Terrified of whether my best friend thinks I’m the most annoying person in the world simply by speaking to him…
Here’s a simplified guide on how to overcome insecurity. None of these fix it overnight or cure it entirely, for I doubt it ever vanishes completely. But they can help put you in a better place:
1) Realize that no one gives a shit about you. That sounds incredibly mean, but it’s actually quite assuring. Everyone is focused on what they’re doing almost all the time. Nobody’s purpose in life is to have you under the microscope and analyze each and every move you make (every breath you take). It’s analogous to giving a presentation in high school. You’re terrified of going up. Terrified of what the person next to you will think of your speech. Then you go up and that person is thinking, “Holy fuck, I’m next. What’s this person going to think of my speech?!”
”When we are not engaged in thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95 percent of our time thinking about ourselves.”
-Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
2) Fake it ‘till you make it. We’ve all heard this one. If you want to be a confident individual who’s comfortable in their own skin, pretend to be. It doesn’t take long for your environment to adapt to your supposed change of state. You’re a thermostat, not a thermometer.
Back in my heyday of insecurity, my big thing was after I’d said something stupid or foolish, I would end it with some sort of self-deprecation (e.g. “I’ll just stop talking now; But I literally don’t know anything at all; If anyone gives a shit; I could just shut up and go die”). Often times these were merely jokes, but they accurately depicted how I felt about myself and my thoughts. So one day, I decided that no matter how I felt about something silly I had just said, I wouldn’t say anything about it afterward. At first, many of my friends would look my way after I’d said something goofy or wrong, conditioned to hear my own verbal-punishment, but I’d remain silent. After a short while, a tension among my peers and myself lifted and I felt much more free to speak my mind and make mistakes around them…thanks to that little omission.
3) Find something you love to do that’s difficult, do it all the time, and get better at it. This wouldn’t be a Dill-blog-post if I didn’t throw this in here. I only do it because it may be the only thing of which I’m 100% certain.
Find something you enjoy which challenges you, takes consistent practice, requires discipline, and allows for you to look back at the progress you’ve made. It doesn’t have to be anything profound. Become amazing at it. Super simple idea. Super long and arduous process…that’s the point. You’ll never reach the end. You’ll never stop learning. It will show you that you’re capable of growing and becoming better. This understanding is vital for getting out of your head and eliminating the stagnant-mindset.
There are so many intricacies to insecurity and I don’t take it lightly. It held me back for several years, which is why I attempt to show people that there exists an alternative. If you have struggled or continue to struggle with it, let me know.