We have been called a narcissistic generation. Because of social media and technology, many say that we have an inflated sense of self. Honestly, most of us do not walk around feeling like we are the greatest thing since sliced bread…I am definitely not taking that walk! An underlying emotion that shapes our self-image and influences our behavior is insecurity….even the narcissist. I saw a survey somewhere that mentioned that 60 percent of women experience hurtful, self-critical thoughts weekly. I am one of the 60 percent for sure…
So, tell me, what experiences, events, or attitudes have shaped your inner critic?
Everyone has felt insecure at some point in their lives. Insecurity is a term that we often use when we are labeling a person negatively…someone who may be doubting themselves. I don’t think any one of us is totally free from having moments of insecurity.Whether you were verbally, physically, or emotionally misused by parents, friends, or relatives…maybe even abandoned, those experiences can leave you feeling insecure or believing that something is wrong with you. You may even become introverted or self-reliant and untrusting of others. Even exaggerated praise can be damaging to a child’s self esteem.
Life is uncertain. At times, we feel self-doubt, hopelessness, frustration, or fear…all stemming from insecurity. We cannot control every situation and that can bring us to these feelings when life seems uncertain. I think that having these feelings are normal, it is how we respond to our feelings that can bring problems.
So many things shape our critical inner voice, a lot of it is what you tell yourself. When we are feeling insecure, we may become an angry person, may hide from the world, we may run, procrastinate, escape to social media…try to control others or the world around us just to attempt to end the insecure feelings.
I am going to be a little more transparent than I normally am and share some of my inner critic voice torture…(I laughed when I typed that, was gonna delete it but I won’t…it was honest). Anyway, some of the things I tell myself….
- You’re unattractive
- You’re not like her
- You’re never going to lose that belly
- You will never make friends
- You will not be an accomplished blogger
- Why are you even trying?
- You don’t know what you are doing
- They don’t appreciate you
Ok…enough of that! Best believe there is more…but I am a work in progress so look out…
Insecurity can show up in all areas of our lives. Our inner critic may be more vocal in one area over another. You may feel very confident at work but not so confident in your love life or vice versa. Some areas may begin to improve while others fall apart. It happens…it is part of our journey…as are these self-sabotaging thoughts toward ourselves, but we can tame them.
We have times when we feel insecure in ourselves, at work, and in our relationships. All of these experiences of insecurity have a couple of things in common. Uncertainty and fear. And the common reactions that we have are not very helpful. We avoid, run away, procrastinate, lash out, complain, beat ourselves up, shut down, find distractions, close our hearts to others and limit ourselves. They have become habits for most of us so much so that we don’t even notice our response anymore. We just respond, the way we always have. We need more tools in our toolbox so that we can deal with these feelings in a more productive way.
I will be the first to admit that I have some (some?) insecurities. I definitely take time to work through them so I do see that I am getting better with them. Here are some ways that I am working with my feelings of insecurity…
- Talk to someone! It is so important to find or have a safe person in your life that you can share your thoughts. If you choose not to share with someone, write your thoughts down. Separate yourself from the internal attacks and realize that those words are not your real opinion of yourself. This is going to be a very emotional process because it does bring up underlying feelings from the past.
- Ask yourself why you are feeling this way. Do these insecurities remind you of the past….a person or experience? Finding out the “why” can help allow you to feel some self-compassion and rebuke these feelings…that is not how you wanna feel about yourself and it is probably not true.
- Think about how you want to change this behavior. Insecurity can keep us from asking for a promotion or getting the love our life to do forever with us. If we are indulging in self-hating thoughts, it is time for interrupt these behaviors and get to truly living and loving ourselves.
Nothing about changing this behavior is going to be easy for any of us. With change comes anxiety. We have had these voices with us our whole lives and they will make us uncomfortable as we challenge them. If we want to be healthy and happy, get closer to our partners, and grow relationships at work, we cannot listen to the ugly voice that will try to discourage us. Change will not happen overnight, but if we don’t quit, they will weaken. However you decide to change your relationship with the feeling of insecurity, practice self-compassion…
Self-compassion is so beneficial to us. It is more beneficial to us than self-esteem. Self-esteem has a lot to do with self-evaluation and performance and can increase our level of insecurity…self-compassion encourages an attitude of kindness and patience, slowing down and assigning value to our humanity.
Once we realize our importance, acknowledge the ways that we have been hurt, not just by others but ourselves, we can break free from the chains and become who we have been working so hard to become.