Insecurities are something people don’t want to admit having due to the negative connotations associated with them. This is especially true for men as we know that it conveys the impression that we are weak and fragile, a sin that the opposite sex will not forgive us for. Other men, too, find it infectious and tend to avoid those who they believe suffer from insecurities. So while I think it’s justified to hide them, I think it’s more important to deal with them the right way.
The following steps will help you overcome your insecurities or at least greatly reduce their grip over you.
1. Know that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing
Insecurity in itself is not a bad thing; it’s how you respond to it that matters. Like the much maligned stress, it is a necessity for your daily function—it keeps you in check so that you conform to the values of society and not fall from your potential. Like stress, insecurity only becomes bad when it is excessive and out of control. And you know what kind of people suffer from no insecurities? Slackers, degenerates, and sociopaths.
2. Avoid negative coping strategies
Insecure people tend to cope by covering their anxieties or releasing them in various ways that aren’t always helpful. See if you can identify ones you do yourself from the following:
- Being overly critical of others to a point where you spend more time putting others down instead of focusing on yourself.
- Avoiding situations that trigger your insecurities or just withdrawing completely.
- Obsessing over your real or perceived flaws and getting bitter and depressed about it.
- Trying to control others because you have no control over your own anxieties.
- Needlessly lashing out in anger.
3. Change your perspective
This is essentially a way of re-framing your thoughts around whatever you believe is your flaw or shortcoming. For example, I’m quite short, but I never really suffered from a serious insecurity around my height because I just joke to myself that I would make a good leader (or a dictator). And when I read about great figures in present and history who had their own share of flaws and misgivings, I see them as quirks that attribute to their genius. There have been many powerful and talented men who were shy, depressed, celibate, pessimistic, bad-tempered, suffering from ill health, and so on.
4. Know what you can change and what you can’t
This is an age-old wisdom everyone should attain. Knowing the difference between the two will save you a lot of trouble and help you focus on improving in areas of your life that you have power over. Insecure about your weight and status? You can change those, start working on them. Insecure about your height or ethnicity? You can’t change those, so forget about them and focus on other areas of your life to make up for them.
5. Get rid of artificial insecurities
When I say artificial insecurities, I am referring to the ones created by our consumerist society. The most common of these insecurities are ones based on money, status, and success. I’m not saying that pursuing these three are necessarily bad in anyway, but our modern culture—especially American culture—tends to overdrive the desire for those three to a point of anxiety and obsession.
Pursue money, status, and success to all your heart’s desire, but just know that you don’t need to feel insecure about them to attain them. And this brings us to our next point.
6. Accept your current station in life
Acceptance of who you are at this moment goes a long way. Whatever may have happened to you in the past, no matter how unfortunate and “unfair,” you must accept it. No matter what you may be concerned with, whatever flaws you perceive in yourself, whatever desires remain unfulfilled, you must accept them all. You must also be process-oriented rather than goal-oriented so that you derive your self-worth from the progress you’re making rather than feeling bad about how far you are from your dreams.
To give you another personal example, I am poor. Besides what I saved up from years of slavery, I currently make peanuts. I earn just enough to get by and I don’t see my situation changing anytime soon. I have already come to terms with my financial situation and I don’t waste my time comparing myself with other more “successful” individuals. And because of that, I don’t feel any insecurity about my wealth or status. This doesn’t mean that I’m a slacker without an ambition who plans to continue living with low income; I have plans which I’m acting upon. It just means that I have accepted this as the inevitable stage of my life that I must go through—having anxiety about money will only make things worse.
7. Press on your insecurities
People often repeat in many variations that you shouldn’t care about what others think about you—that opinions of others shouldn’t influence you. But simply reminding yourself of that mantra doesn’t cut it. It isn’t enough to tell yourself not to care about what others think about you, you have to constantly put yourself in situations that will challenge your insecurities. You have to face rejections, you have to face criticisms, you have to face failures, and you have to continue on and on until your insecurities are dulled.
Think about it. Who’s going to overcome their insecurity faster: a man who tells himself a million times that “it’s her loss” after one rejection or a man who faces hundred rejections without hamstering to preserve his ego?
8. Suck it up and improve
With many things in life, you just have to push through to make it. Today’s people make far too many excuses for inaction when it really comes down to the fact that they’re lazy or afraid. For example, if you feel insecure in social situations because you’re introverted, shy, or whatever, the only way you’ll overcome your anxiety is by putting yourself in social situations over and over again until you become better. And yes, you will make an ass out of yourself until you get better. Expecting other people to cater to your personality or dismissing them as being “stupid” is not going to help you at all. I highly suspect that many introverts today are much more withdrawn than they normally would’ve been due to the fact that they just rationalize their personality as being innate and fixed rather seeing as something that can be changed. The plethora of electronic mediums and other diversions are not helping them go out and socialize either.
And when you go out to make the effort, when you are exposing yourself to your insecurities, expect people to ridicule, criticize, and discourage you in every way imaginable. Acknowledge that they will be there, but know that they do not matter. You’re the one striving to become better and overcome your weaknesses, you are the only one that matters. Haters are only there because it’s easier for them to attack you for your flaws than it is for them to fix their own. Like Teddy Roosevelt said, it is not the critic that counts. Don’t ever let others bring you down.
I won’t sugar-coat things and say that everything will be fine with whatever shortcoming you may be facing. Insecurities can be a bitch and they’re capable of eating you from the inside out. Whether you feel insecure about your appearance, wealth, competence, social acceptance, or the fact that you’re an incel, things will not likely improve in a short time even when you try. You just have to keep going by focusing on your efforts while relishing the little victories. Don’t let yourself suffer with regrets in five, ten, or twenty years in the future because you failed to take action now. Do what you need to do.