11 Ways to Stop Being Insecure & Build Self-Esteem

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My 8-year-old came home from school the other day and asked me about a big word her teacher had used in class. She said the teacher told them to take pride and develop a sense of self-esteem, as well as learn how to stop being insecure

Now, self-esteem isn’t a fruit, but I felt like this question was akin to being asked what a banana is. We all know what a banana is, but how do you tell someone who’s never seen or tasted one what it is? How was I going to explain the concept of self-esteem to an 8-year-old? 

The answer was surprisingly easy. 

I explained that self-esteem was like building a house. When we don’t feel strong in ourselves, our foundation is weak. Any house we build on this will form cracks and be too broken to live in.

Luckily, we can build our houses stronger by fixing things as they break or wear down. Likewise, we can develop our self-esteem and make our “house” look and feel so much better.   

My daughter now has a basic idea of what self-esteem is, and while I know she will learn so much more about it as she grows, the important thing was to keep her looking forward and not be afraid of the world.

Have you faced your insecurities? Perhaps it’s time? Here are 11 steps on how to deal with insecurities and build an iron-clad self-esteem. 

What Are Insecurities?

To be insecure is when you feel like you aren’t good enough. Insecurities add up, stripping you of your life’s joy and leaving you with nothing but fear. Insecurities are the things in our life that we don’t feel sure about.

When you have to face your insecurities, you start to feel judged and not able enough to meet someone else’s standards. 

Insecurities are when you believe you aren’t good enough, rich enough, or pretty enough to be noticed and appreciated. By facing your insecurities, you can learn to let go and grow

You may sense your insecurities when you start to reflect on the times you felt like the world was against you. It is certainly unpleasant to carry on as you’ve been doing when you feel like you are already a failure without having even tried. 

You may wonder what causes people to feel not good enough. Here are possible answers:

  • Struggling with feeling negative 
  • Having previously failed at a task
  • Lacking support to accept your life
  • Been made a fool and traumatized
  • Survived abuse 

What Is Self-Esteem? 

Since insecurities are when you feel you’re not good enough, it may be worth considering what good self-esteem is and why you should cultivate it. Self-esteem is an awareness of your own potential and goodness. It is a type of confidence that builds trust in yourself.

When you have good self-esteem, you trust yourself and know you are capable. You know you have limitations, but you also know you have the ability to work past those.

Someone with good self-esteem will confidently do their job and meet new people because they are aware of who they are, what they are capable of, and also their own shortcomings. 

Knowing where you aren’t as talented or able is essential because it helps you manage your actions and avoid getting yourself into situations where your confidence can be shattered. 

Having good self-esteem is about creating self-awareness, knowing what you can do, where you miss the mark, and what you can do to improve. You know yourself, and like a trusted friend, you can rely on yourself. This is the root origin of confidence. 

Potential Impact on Your Life from Being Insecure and Lacking Self-Esteem

So if you don’t have a well-developed self-esteem and feel insecure, there will be a cost to your life experience and quality of living. It’s a bit like trying to walk without your big toe.

Self-esteem, like your big toe, is there to help balance you and support you when you step forward in life. 

When you lack self-esteem or have serious insecurities, you will be affected in several ways:

  • Lack of Confidence

Without a developed self-esteem, you will suffer a lack of confidence. Without enough confidence in yourself, you will never step forward or be brave. Instead of trying something new, you will cling to the old (even if the old never worked for you). 

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Write whatever comes into your head. Don’t worry about perfect sentences, grammar, or prose. Just write.

When you don’t have enough confidence, you will not be confident enough to apply for positions, ask someone out, or speak up about issues you feel passionate about. 

  • Negativity 

A lack of self-esteem means you will have a negative view of the world. You don’t trust yourself, so you have a deep-seated fear of the world outside. You don’t feel like you can cope in the world, so it becomes a scary place and you end up feeling negative.

  • Self-Effacing Life View 

Because of all the negativity and insecurity you will develop due to your lack of self-trust, you will start to run yourself down more and more.

Your heart believes you are not good enough, so you will start telling others that you aren’t up to the challenges of life, that you are simply not good enough, and that you don’t deserve chances because you don’t use them. 

  • Easily Swayed By Others 

Since you lack confidence because of your insecurities, you won’t be able to stand up for what you believe in. As a result, you will easily be swayed by others who seem stronger or more knowledgeable (even if they aren’t). 

In life, we need to stand firm against outside opinions that we don’t share. Letting those opinions turn you to do what you don’t believe in is a case of defeating yourself. You may even become a people-pleaser. Placing others ahead of your own needs, you begin to rely on the opinions of others to help you feel good. 

  • Feeling Lost 

When you trust yourself, you will know where your path in life lies. You will be able to respect the opinions of others without feeling compelled to follow those opinions. 

Without self-esteem, you can’t trust yourself and your own judgment. The result is that you will feel lost and alone. You don’t even have your own support, so you will feel disoriented and adrift. This puts you in a vulnerable position for outside manipulation. 

  • Feeling Incompetent 

If you don’t trust yourself, you feel like you can’t do anything, and you tell people just how pathetic you are—you will begin to believe you are incompetent. Feeling like you are good for nothing, can’t do anything successfully, and you don’t even like yourself is how having a low self-esteem will begin to drag you down with insecurities. 

  • Not Knowing Yourself

You suck, or so you believe. When someone is really bad at life and everything involving living, you will probably avoid them. It’s then no surprise that you avoid any interaction with yourself. You don’t want to know just how “bad” you are, so you try not to meet yourself or spend time by yourself. You would rather not know yourself. 

  • Struggling to Know Others

The road of poor self-esteem is a lonely one, and since you don’t even have yourself to walk the road with, you will also avoid others. You feel ashamed and embarrassed about who you are and what you can (or can’t do), so you avoid spending time with people.

Your relationships never move past the superficial, and you end up feeling (and being) lonely. You may need a mental health break as a result. 

11 Ways to Stop Being Insecure and Building Self-Esteem

The insecurities of low self-esteem aren’t permanent. You aren’t born with these negative influences in your life. There is hope, and with a systematic approach, you can learn to build your self-esteem and be more secure in life and in who you are. 

1. List Your I-Likes

When you have poor self-esteem, you feel insecure about choices. Making a list of things you like is a great way to find what choices you successfully make in a non-threatening way. 

Simply write down as many “I like” statements as you can. Examples are:

  • I like having egg and cheese for breakfast.
  • I like meeting with my therapist who understands me.
  • I like my job. 
  • I like the place I live in.
  • I like my pet dog. 
  • I like having my hair colored at the salon. 
  • I like myself.

Tip: Remind yourself that you make good choices with an affirmation like “I make good choices.”

2. Take Time to Self-Care

With a low self-esteem, you probably don’t really take care of yourself as much as you should because you don’t really like yourself and feel you don’t deserve it. Take time out to really pamper yourself and make yourself feel special. 

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Go out, do stuff, and try new things. Embrace challenging and novel situations. Learn who you are in these moments and notice how able you are to handle new things.

Go to a day spa, attend a yoga retreat, or simply spoil yourself with a few new items for your wardrobe. Keep reminding yourself that you deserve these blessings, you are worthy, and you are a good investment. 

3. Journal and Confront Your Thoughts

If you’d only admit that you are selling yourself short, you’d be so much closer to healing. Therefore, use a journal and write in it as much as you can. Write whatever comes into your head. Don’t worry about perfect sentences, grammar, or prose. Just write.

After a week of doing this, read what you wrote. However, pretend the person who wrote this is your best friend. What would you say to them regarding what they wrote? Would you be harsh and criticize them? Nope. How would you comfort them, and how can you comfort yourself?

Identify patterns of thinking that show how little you have been valuing yourself. Now tell yourself why you need to stop thinking in negative ways, and decide how you will work on thinking positively about yourself.  

4. Before You Do, Ask Why

Like most people who are critical of themselves, you probably try to make everyone else happy because you then have a purpose (right?). Should you be doing this? No. 

It’s time to start thinking before you just agree and offer to help. While being helpful isn’t a bad thing, it is wrong when you don’t ask yourself why you should help or if you could help right now. 

Ask why you should help someone. Ask if it suits you to help them right now, or if you can help them later. Do you want to help them? It’s okay to say “no.” 

5. Get out of the House

If you struggle with low self-esteem, you are probably a house cat, though not by choice. You simply don’t trust yourself enough to feel safe in the world outside. Go out, do stuff, and try new things. Embrace challenging and novel situations. Learn who you are in these moments and notice how able you are to handle new things.  

6. Quit the Comparison Game

If you constantly compare yourself to others, you will automatically fall short. When your self-esteem hits bottom, it doesn’t do you any favors to compare yourself to what you think other people are like. 

Keep in mind that we always present our best side to the world, but we keep our dark side turned away. You just can’t see their dark side, so competing with the ideal version of them is pointless. 

You need to master your own thoughts instead of just focusing on others. 

7. Practice Self-Compassion 

When last did you hug yourself, or wish yourself well? Self-compassion is one of the best things we can do for ourselves when we feel low. Give yourself a break. Be the support you crave. Take the time to really care about yourself. You ARE worth it. 

8. Set Realistic Goals

By now, you are probably feeling quite inspired, and you’ll likely set yourself a goal of being 100% better, totally liked, and utterly relaxed by tomorrow morning. The only thing you’ll achieve is #epicfail. Instead, be realistic. 

Work in small steps, reach for the goals that you can achieve, such as being kind to yourself, forgiving yourself, going out on a date the weekend, or taking up a new hobby to challenge yourself.  

9. Create Boundaries and Enforce Them

The people around you have gotten used to you being a certain way. This doesn’t make them bad people. They’re just people who are used to manipulating your insecurities to serve their needs. 

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Take time out to really pamper yourself and make yourself feel special. 

It’s time to set boundaries. Decide what is in your best interest. Being liked by others because you are useful isn’t in your best interest. Being respected for being confident is.  

10. Identify Your Triggers and Move On

People, places, and events often trigger your insecurities. By identifying these, you can begin to plan how you will avoid them. There is no point in continuing with the things that only bring you down. Move on now!  

11. Get Genuine Support

Having support and real connection will help you stand firm and be more confident than before. With genuine support, you can achieve your goals more easily. Get the support you need from someone who is really caring and shows compassion.  

Final Thoughts on How to Stop Being Insecure

Deciding to be less insecure isn’t how you solve insecurity and low self-esteem. It takes hard work, dedication, reflection, and celebration. With consistent effort, investment in yourself, and the cultivation of self-belief, you will soon be celebrating your growth and potential. 

It’s time to see yourself for who you are, what you can do (instead of worrying about what you can’t), and what your potential is. You can be positive about yourself and trust in your own goodness. You are worth it. 

To find out more about what your priorities should be, read our article on quotes to help you identify what’s truly important. Self-love is worth the time it takes to find it.

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