A surprisingly rampant issue that I’ve been facing lately is my self-image. I’m in my early 20s, what many would agree is an age of prime, but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I won’t be successful, that I’m behind others my age and with my education level, that I’m unattractive, socially awkward, don’t deserve love, etc.
These thoughts and feelings aren’t just difficult to shake: they’re automatic. And they keep me awake at night.
If you can relate to these seemingly endless feelings of insecurity, you’re not alone. Most people have felt like this for varying amounts of time. There are countless articles on the Internet detailing methods of overcoming insecurity, but many seem out-of-touch or textbook and impersonal.
I’ve found it easier to navigate my insecurities on my own through trial and error, and have come up with several methods of lifting myself up that seem to work.
Everyone is different, and it’s important to keep in mind that what works for one blogger or myself might not be as effective in your life with your specific mindset. But, like I said, trial and error is key. Perhaps you already know of a few successful escapes from your own intrusive thoughts and are looking for some others, or maybe you’ve just been feeling a bit down lately and need a little direction.
Either way, these 5 methods can help you to find a comfortable headspace and work to replenish your self-worth, with yourself and in your relationship.
1. Meditate yourself to sleep.
This step helps any sleep problems that come with your insecurities, but it also helps to reset your mind and calm you down from an anxious state.
It takes some practice, but there are several apps that you can download on your phone to assist you in keeping yourself centered. It’s not all weird ASMR mantras and breathing exercises, if that’s what you’re thinking. HappyNotPerfect, in particular, is interactive and fun, allowing you to write down and “burn” your problems away, remind yourself of the positives, and even do little art projects, games and challenges.
Over time, it will help you remember to be mindful throughout your day and monitor your negative thoughts. Distraction? Maybe. But you’ll find yourself feeling more comfortable in your own head over time.
2. Talk your significant other about your insecurities.
It’s important to voice your feelings rather than bottle them up, especially they are affecting your relationship. Keeping your feelings to yourself allows them to build up to a boiling point, and you might let it out at your S/O in a misdirected manner. If he or she is blissfully unaware of your degrading thoughts of yourself, they might do subtle things that keep you feeling unwanted or imperfect without even realizing it.
For example, your significant other might think it’s harmless to joke about your quirks when really it makes you feel embarrassed. If he or she knows that you’re struggling with insecurity, they will likely try harder to monitor themselves and lift you up, giving you the external push that you may need.
If the relationship is the source of your insecurities, GET OUT OF IT. Do whatever you need to do in order to remove a toxic significant other from your life. If he or she makes you feel anything but special and loved while you’re together, remember that you deserve someone who makes you feel important (if this is the case, your friends have likely noticed it first).
3. Write a list of your best qualities.
This works as a brainstorming exercise and (later) as a reminder of your worth on those days when you feel less than perfect. I keep mine in my phone notes, but you could also use a slip of paper and carry it around in your pocket. Write down everything from “I have a cute nose” to “I am ambitious in my career path” and everything in-between that reminds you what you enjoy most about yourself, including your proudest accomplishments.
If you keep it handy, you can add to it any time you think of something new, or you can add any compliments that you receive that you want to remember. You could also add little blurbs about things that happened during the day that made you feel warm inside (e.g. that someone sent you flowers or that a child gave you a hug). Then, just refer to the list whenever you’re feeling down or insecure. It’s sure to give you at least a tiny esteem boost, and sometimes that’s all you need!
4. Dive into your favorite hobbies (or try something new).
This is a great way to remind yourself that there’s more to life than what others think of you (or whichever aspect of life has got your insecurity flaring, like work). It will also allow you an outlet with your time that doesn’t involve doing something mundane and overthinking.
If you dedicate your time to something that you enjoy, you’ll eventually become impressively good at it or create something that you’re proud of. This might give you that feeling of fulfillment that you’ve been seeking and it’ll allow you to stay busy and avoid feelings of uselessness.
5. Take care of your body and your mind.
This one is up for interpretation. Obviously, you should shower and keep yourself clean, well fed and well rested, but try to go the extra mile. Put on your makeup and groom your hair. Go to the gym and work out regularly if that’s what gives you your best confidence boost. Practice self-discipline to eat healthier. Go to therapy.
Each person operates in their own unique way, but practicing self-care — whatever that means for you — is essential in order to see yourself in your best light. Keep your friends, family and significant other close or meet new people and be adamant about keeping in contact so that you have a healthy support system through the best and the darkest days. They love you no matter what, and probably agree that you should love yourself, too!
Like I said, everyone is different and has a unique method or formula for overcoming insecurity when it hits the hardest (and it does hit everyone at some point). The key is to make the effort and try things until you find what works for you. This list contains a few suggestions to get you started. With a little time and patience (and effort, of course), you’ll find what makes you feel like your optimal self. Just stick with what works!