Comments on
5 Things to Do When You Feel Insecure

By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor

5 Things to Do When You Feel InsecureGerman psychoanalyst Eric Fromm said, “The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.”

Everyone I have ever known — I take that back — every likable person I have ever known in this world has admitted to periods of sheer insecurity. They looked at themselves from the perspective of someone else — perhaps a person with no appreciation of their talents, personality traits, abilities—and judged themselves unfairly according to the perverted view.

I am terribly insecure much of the time. I grew up with bad acne, braces, and a twin sister who was in the popular group. The adolescent self-doubt had sticking power. At times I can pull off the image of a self-confident author and writer, but it usually lasts as long as the speaking event or lunch with my editor.

Lately the junior high inferiority complex has made a surprise visit, and I’m more insecure than usual. So here’s one of those lists that people are always writing — suggestions on what to do if you are feeling insecure, too.

26 Comments to
5 Things to Do When You Feel Insecure

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  1. A great article! really helped!
    Thanks

  2. Therese, this is really well done. I clicked on the article not really expecting to learn anything new, but by the time I read that well-chosen and rather amazing quote from Stephen Fry, I knew I was in the hands of someone who could treat this important subject with more panache than it usually receives! Thanks for this.

  3. These steps are very helpful and I greatly appreciate the time spent. I’ve been wondering about my teenage daughter, and now I was able to define her needs
    better. I truly had a ” a ha moment” Awesome!!

  4. Are you kidding? This is absurd. Insecurity is not humility, it’s not invisible (hint: attention seeking behavior that goes along with insecurity is INCREDIBLY obvious, and usually obnoxious), and advising someone insecure to become a shut-in is pretty much 100% counterproductive.

    • I agree – avoiding what make you insecure is giving into weakness. It’s self-limiting behavior that keeps you from flourishing. Ladies and gentlemen, I respect that Therese has the guts to open up about how she deals with insecurity, but please know that there are better ways then “hiding.”
      Like . . oh I don’t know. . . giving yourself an internal “talk” to boost your self esteem . It is called, after all SELF esteem. Not OTHERS esteem.
      Look your insecurities squarely in the face and then bravely plow right through them until they are no more. This can take a bit of practice, but I promise you: You will eventually conquer those feelings – – you WILL flourish — Know it!

      • I agree with your response. I was very insecure after a lifetime of being put down…..not any more ! I deserve to be content with myself for who and what I am. Hiding our feelings leads to outbursts of anger fuled usually by resentment which can be avoided by facing things head on …then moving on. We all are the person we make ourselves to be, strong or victim- I know which I would rather be. :)

  5. Thanks. Made me feel better.

  6. Thank you, this was a lovely article. I’m still trying to figure out where my insecurity stems from, but this will help when it hits. The biggest struggle for me is being in a relationship. When I am single, I have all the confidence in the world. When I am with another, not matter how loving this person may be, I struggle with feelings that I am not good enough. I don’t understand.

    • I too am noticing this about myself. Thanks for shedding a little light

  7. Being insecure is NOT something invisible. In fact, women, children, human bullies and even animals can detect it easily and lunch an attack on the vulnerable person. Our body language give us out, so does out tone of voice, etc, etc. When one is insecure, people can read it, smell it, sense it. I was looking for the solutions that would help me with NOT coming across as such, so I’m dissapointed with this post.

  8. I really needed this. I appreciate your experiences and ability to make them into something positive. I started out searching for an article that would have had a lot of medical mombo-jumbo in it and probably theories and scientific studies about people with insecurities but this was so much more helpful for me. The take you have on insecurity makes me like myself a little more. Thank you.

  9. Thanks Therese. Really good advise on a tough day. I will keep your article close.

  10. 0h.,, thanks f0r this article, i learn much,. .

  11. the last one really helps me feel better. Thanks!

  12. While this may make people riddled with insecurity *feel* better – it will not actually help them.

    I find that often insecurity is very much wrapped up in pride – albeit in the blanket of bruised ego. Humility is about understanding one’s limitations and being ok with that. Insecurity is about feeling crippled by the fear and loathing that you don’t measure up to other people. We may feel sorry for insecure people because they appear weak – but underlying that insecurity is often a mean streak when they lash out in passive-aggressive ways against people they feel they fall short around. Why feel insecure about average looks or intelligence unless you crave to be one of the most attractive/smart people in the room?

    Humility says you don’t care when you are not at the top and don’t obsess over it. The insecure people I know very well are the most self-absorbed, obsessed over their perceived shortcomings and annoying everyone around them.

    • Hi Annie,
      While I agree whole-heartedly that this article is soothing rather than helpful, I do think that you may be mixing up the feelings of insecurity with how people may express those feelings. I get the feeling that the article is directed at people who are doing their best to keep their insecurities hidden and maybe feel too shy to speak up in social situations. Whereas you’re referring to people who externalise their insecurity by constantly looking for reassurance and validation and, as you say, their real need is for attention.

  13. This was really very helpful, thank you. told me that i am not the only person who is that way. I understand what you mean by insecurity being equivalent to humility. insecure people in a way can understand their weaknesses.

  14. This was a treasure to find after a very disheartening conference call at work.

  15. A mixed bag here. Ok, a little different and more specific tips than the usual ‘just love yourself, simples!’ stuff. But as has been said already, encouraging people to avoid challenging situations and only surround yourself with people who flatter you (which is NOT the same as supporting you), really?? This kind of article is fine for people who just want to feel better for half a second, but for more critical thinkers, nope! Self-reflection and in the meantime, just power through!

  16. Thank you. Your article saved my life. It’s strengthening, putting me in control of my own life, and yet being sensitive and caring of others. We do have to protect ourselves in this world. Some of us do it better then others. But giving myself permission is the first step, and your article gives me the direction in which to step. Thank you.

  17. I love this article. It made me understand myself more and understand how human it is to feel insecure. I’m going through something right now and this opened my mind; I feel better already. Thanks ♥

  18. Very lovely article, you point of view is… realistic. Being in public sometimes, I experience a rush of anxiety from being so insecure. Though only sometimes, it’s still annoying.. so annoying I decide to not give any f**ks because nobody can see I’m insecure unless I make it obvious and awkward. Thank you again for the insight (that’s something you can add). Don’t ever obtain a filter, makes life easier and is very refreshing.

  19. I agree with all but the third one, although some people naturally won’t get along or click, in my experience when you spend some serious time with people that you may feel inferior too and or feel insecure around you eventually begin to realize that they are not so different from you, then again im only 19 and maybe you know better but this has time again proven to be true in my experiences. Then again I’ve really only had these opportunities on spiritual retreats or service trip/shared living experiences, where your forced to live with and get to know people you might not have otherwise. I’ve been on two and I always come away more confident and secure in knowing that I’m not the only one who has fears and insecurities even those people who emit great confidence and seem overly secure.

  20. Theres more to this than I feel some of us are seeing. Yes, it is how to deal with the feeling of insecurity at that moment (paracetamol for a headache, rather than analysis of what is causing the headache), yet it touches on the deeper aspect of insecurity…if you can perfect these tips you can build mechanisms to prevent insecurity beong more than a passing sensation in the future. Those of us who say you need to learn to drive through insecurity and barge the naysayers out of the way don’t, in my opinion, fully understand insecurity as a chronic issue. And only as an occasional feeling… If they did they’d know that when you’re insecure you don’t have the gusto to do that and some of us may never be able to rise above it and charge forward. This article is good, basic self help to get you through a bad patch… Its not a magic wand to prevent you from feeling insecure ever again. Regarding humility – this is spot on, in my view. Feeling insecure from time to time and being aware of it stops us from becoming arrogant and overly bold…therefore it’s part of our longer term cure – the more frequently we feel low and bounce back, the easier it is to not allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut next time.

  21. So it is being encouraged that if you feel insecure to simply void people who MAKE you feel this way? Last I cheked that’s surrendering responsibility for YOUR feelings. Nobody can make you feel anything. That statement alone wreaks of insecurity. The solution is to face those people. Surround yourself with those who’ve overcome this nasty bad habit of feeling insecure. I have not overcome much insecurity by isolating myself from people stronger than I am, but by enveloping myself within the confines of their wisdom and actions.

    The more you run, the worse it becomes. That kind of behavior breeds lonliness which leads to depression often times. Sometimes this begets suicidal behavior.

    You have to tell yourself the truth. Insecurity is a compilation of lies you beat yourself up with.

    I’ve found this article to be ill-inforned and full of enablement for unhealthy behaviors.

  22. Thanks for the article. I’ve been insecure for a long time and I’ve realized that others feel the same way and that I have to also realize that everyone has flaws and that some people can’t notice them; only you can. I would always point out all my flaws and never focus on my gifts that I have. You need to ignore it; stop thinking about it because nobody is perfect and I mean NOBODY. But this article made me see that others may not look at me the way i do. I just have to keep pushing forward and love who I am. Thank you so much for writing this. It’s good and I really don’t give a crap what any haters think because honestly it helped me and that’s all that matters. So haters, SUCK IT.

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