Here’s the secret: you may never stop being insecure. You might develop a kick-ass sense of self-worth and come to truly love yourself, yes. But, there will probably always be one or two things about yourself that you’re less than happy about. I, for example, have always envied extroverted people. I’ve spent many years wishing away my shy, quiet personality and hoping for a livelier, vivacious personality.
Believe it or not, this was a real insecurity for me for a long time (first world problems, I know!) and I’ve only recently made peace with the fact that being extremely outgoing is just not (and will never be) a character trait of mine. Instead of pretending not to have insecurities or apologizing for being insecure, I decided to accept and embrace my flaws and to work at living a life I was proud of, flaws and all.
1. Stop Apologizing For Being Insecure
Being insecure is not a character flaw. We live in a consumer-based culture that tries to convince us that we’re not enough and that we don’t have enough, in an effort to convince us to buy what we feel we lack. It’s no wonder none of us feel whole or worthy or valued. We’re not supposed to. People act like being insecure is a weakness, but it’s not. It’s a result of the type of environment we exist in and the sooner you stop beating yourself up about it, the better.
2. Accept Your Insecurities (But First You Have To Admit You Have Them)
This is where the hard work comes in. It’s okay to have insecurities—in fact, you’ll likely have them for the rest of your life. The problem is when you let them take over your life. Everyone has things about themselves that they’re not a big fan of. The healthiest thing to do in response to this, however, is to acknowledge these flaws, accept them and move on. Focus on enhancing the parts of your body and the elements of your personality that you do like, while giving less weight and importance to the sides of you that aren’t so glamorous.
Furthermore, if you’re finding yourself fixated on one or more of your perceived flaws or imperfections and you can’t seem to let it go, you may benefit from some dialectical-behavior therapy (DBT) or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) . Even if you don’t have a diagnosable issue like body dysmorphic disorder (which can often lead to depression and in extreme cases, suicide) there are likely some deeper issues that you’re struggling with that are manifesting themselves in this particular insecurity.
3. “Marie Kondo” Your Social Circle
We all need outside validation and that’s why an enormous part of your sense of self-worth comes from the people you surround yourself with. Contrary to popular belief, self-esteem and self-worth are not born completely out of how you feel about yourselves internally, but also from the confirmation and validation you receive from your friends, family and society. That’s why, it’s super important to be critical about who you allow into your life and who you allow to affect your energy.
I’m not a big fan of using the word toxic when it comes to describing friendships. There are a lot of other valid reasons to let a friendship go aside from so-called “toxicity”. Even if you’ve simply outgrown a friend or drifted apart—if your friend isn’t adding anything positive to your life, it’s time to let him or her go.
On the other hand, if a friendship or relationship does spark joy, make sure to treasure it by putting in the time and effort necessary to keep enjoying its fruit. It’s so important that you make time for the things in life that will enrich your life and bring a smile to your face. Spending time with positive people who encourage your endeavours and accept you fully, will help you consider whether your flaws really aren’t so bad after all.
5. Seek Validation from Friends And Family That You've Already Vetted Out
It would be unrealistic to advise an insecure young black girl to stop seeking validation from society and simply rely on friends and family for support. Relationship and connection are just two of our most innate desires as human beings and deep down, we all want to be acknowledged, accepted and to belong. However, these needs cannot all be fulfilled by people we know, but they (unfortunately) also depend on the greater society in which we live. It’s okay to want a little validation from society and to want to see yourself reflected in television shows, movies and beauty pageants. But, it’s also necessary to acknowledge that society is extremely flawed and biased against you (and all women).
We live in a capitalist society that thrives off of convincing us that we’re not enough or don’t have enough. This then leaves us vulnerable to emptiness and sways us into buying more and more things. Knowing this, it’s vital that you make an effort to filter out negative comments or destructive criticism. Study up on the systems of misogyny, colorism and racism that work against you, so that when you encounter these biases in the real world, you’ll be properly equipped to deal with them.
The truth is, it’s all about balance. It’s okay to feel good about the number of likes you get on a post on social media, or to wear makeup and dress to impress. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to have a strong sense of self and a great group of pals around you who will remind you how awesome you are on a regular basis.
Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.