Video by Joyce Meyer Ministries

I remember the time I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person staring back at me. Somewhere along the way, my spark and vibrancy had dimmed.

I avoided speaking up in meetings and making new friends. I turned down opportunities that I felt underqualified for. My insecurities were getting in the way of me living the abundant life God intended.

It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realized something needed to change. I confessed my struggles to a friend who introduced me to the practical strategies below that challenged my negative self-talk and built true confidence.

With her prayers and support, I began the difficult journey of dismantling deeply rooted insecurities.

Learning to see myself as God sees me – as his beloved child full of potential – was life-changing. The freedom I found from no longer measuring my worth by unattainable standards cured my anxiety and depression.

My relationships improved and for the first time, I boldly pursued my dreams unhindered by self-doubt.

The journey wasn’t easy, but facing what made me feel insecure head-on to reclaim my sense of worth was the best decision I ever made.

If you recognize your struggles in my story, take heart – there is hope. By implementing these tips you can build confidence from within, and you too can break free from insecurity’s grip.

What Causes Insecurity and Low Self-Esteem?

Causes For Insecurity And Low Self Esteem

Low self-esteem and feelings of insecurity arise for many reasons. Some of the most common causes are:

1. Childhood Experiences

If you grew up being constantly criticized, rejected, or abandoned, it can create deep wounds in your soul.

Verbal abuse or emotional neglect by parents often leads to insecurity and low self-esteem.

2. Trauma and Abuse

Traumatic events like sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying, or surviving disasters can severely impact your self-image.

Victims often blame themselves and struggle with shame.

3. Social Exclusion

Being rejected by peers or left out of social groups leaves scars. We internalize perceptions of being unwanted, uncool, or unlovable.

4. Unrealistic Expectations

Holding yourself to unrealistic standards sets you up for failure. Perfectionism feeds feelings of never being good enough.

5. Social Media Usage

Seeing “perfect” images of others elicits envy. Comparing your life with others on social media can lead to discontentment.

6. Biological Factors

Brain chemistry and hormone levels can contribute to inherent tendencies towards anxiety or low moods.

7. Societal Messages

The media bombards us with messages that our worth is based on appearance, possessions, or performance.

If you relate to some of these causes, don’t despair. Awareness of what is causing your insecurity is the first step towards healing.

Let’s explore some common signs and symptoms next.

9 Signs You May Be Struggling with Insecurity

Signs You Are Struggling With Insecurity

People with insecurity and low self-esteem often:

  • Put themselves down frequently.
  • Shy away from taking risks or trying new things.
  • Find it hard to accept compliments.
  • Assume others are always judging them.
  • Feel like a “fraud” and fear being “found out”.
  • Downplay their talents or strengths.
  • Struggle to say no or set healthy boundaries.
  • Change their behavior to please others.
  • Agonize over mistakes or perceived failures.

Do any of these thought or behavior patterns ring true for you?

The good news is that your life doesn’t have to be like this. You can overcome insecurity and low self-esteem and learn new ways of thinking to uplift you and transform your life.

7 Ways to Overcome Insecurity

How To Overcome Insecurity

If you want to break free from insecurity for good, implement these 7 strategies to help rebuild your self-worth:

1. Develop Inner Security through a Relationship with God

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid’”

Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV)

Our souls hunger for unconditional love. You were made to find your identity and purpose in an intimate relationship with God.

As you grow closer to God, your emptiness and inadequacies will be filled to overflowing. Instead of chasing validation from others, you can rest secure in His love for you.

Spend quality time in prayer, Bible study, meditating on Scripture, and surround yourself with a supportive Christian community. This will provide a healthy environment for your self-esteem to take root and blossom.

2. Challenge Negative Thought Patterns

Does putting yourself down line up with reality? Would you talk that way to someone you love?

Insecurity feeds on toxic self-talk. Statements like, “I’m such a loser” or “I can’t do anything right” reinforce false beliefs. Learn to identify and replace untrue negativity with truth.

God thinks you’re amazing just as you are. Combat harmful internal messages with His Word.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;”

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

3. Practice Self-Compassion

8The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… 10He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

Psalm 103:8,10 (NIV)

Beating yourself up only leads to despair. Treat yourself with the same grace and care you’d show a friend.

Accept that all humans fail and make mistakes sometimes. Talk to yourself with gentleness and understanding when you come up short.

4. Take Inventory of Your Gifts and Strengths

Insecurity often causes us to minimize or overlook our gifts. Make a list of things you appreciate about yourself, talents you have, and past successes.

Reflect on positive feedback from others. Keep reminders of your strengths handy to review when self-doubt creeps in.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

5. Set Goals and Challenge Yourself

Don’t shy away from risk. Instead, take small steps outside your comfort zone. Set goals that require you to try new things.

Start that creative project you’ve been dreaming about. Apply for the job that seems out of reach. Success will build your confidence.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

6. Limit Social Media Use

Constantly comparing yourself with digitally altered perfection only feeds insecurity.

Follow inspiring accounts instead. Take scrolling breaks to reflect on and give thanks for the blessings in your life.

“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

Psalm 131:1 (NIV)

7. Find Security in God, Not People

Looking to others for validation gives them power over you. Receive love gratefully, but remember that human approval is fickle.

Only God’s opinion matters in the end. Release unhealthy expectations of other people to perfectly meet your needs.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ”

Galatians 1:10 (NIV)

It takes time and conscious effort to overcome deeply entrenched insecurity.

However, implementing even a few of these strategies can start you down the path toward freedom and confidence.

Now let’s look at some additional tips for recalibrating your inner critic next.

How to Recognize and Silence Your Inner Critic

Recognize and Silence Your Inner Critic

That nagging interior voice of self-doubt originates from neural pathways etched through lifelong habits of negative thinking.

The good news is that it is possible to retrain your brain. Here’s how:

  • Take thoughts captive: The moment negative self-talk arises, recognize it as such. Say, “There’s my inner critic talking again, undermining me.” This builds awareness (2 Corinthians 10:5).
  • Investigate objectively: Analyze if the thought is true or aligned with God’s Word. Does it reflect reality or just your worst fears? Ask yourself, “Even if that were true, does it change God’s love for me?”
  • Replace with truth: Counter these lies with Scripture. For example, you can say, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a child of the King. (Psalm 139:14). God thinks I’m amazing just the way I am.”
  • Release it: Imagine placing the thought on a leaf floating down a stream. Detach it from your sense of self-worth.
  • Speak words of life: Verbal affirmations fight false mental narratives. Declare, “I have so much to contribute. God is with me.”

With daily practice, these steps will rewire your brain and tear down insecurity to set you free.

Renewing your mind is crucial if you want to see lasting change in your life.

Learn to Receive Compliments and Validation

Accept Compliments

Insecurity causes us to fend off positive feedback from others.

However, accepting words of affirmation with grace can build your self-esteem. Try these tips:

  • Just say thanks. When given a compliment, don’t protest. A simple “thank you” does the trick.
  • Believe it. Assume the person is being sincere and take it at face value. Don’t diminish or deny it.
  • Let it sink in. Allow the encouragement to fill you and do not brush it off. “Soak it in like sunlight” as author Brene Brown advises.
  • Reflect it to God. Mentally redirect the praise to Him. “Thank you, I’m grateful for the gifts God’s given me.” This will keep pride at bay.
  • Return compliments. Look for things you genuinely appreciate in others too. Outward focus builds positive connections.

Put these tips into daily practice and you’ll gradually get comfortable receiving validation without putting yourself down.

Learn to Set Boundaries

Set Boundaries

Insecurity often stems from the inability to say no and set healthy boundaries. You may fear conflict, rejection, or disapproval.

Start small by declining unimportant requests and working up to bigger ones.

Remember that saying no to something that drains you makes space to say yes to caring for yourself.

Keep it simple without over-explaining. “I can’t take this on right now, but thank you for thinking of me.” You don’t need to apologize for having limits.

As it gets easier, you’ll gain confidence in owning your needs, wants, time, and talents.

People-pleasing robs your energy and breeds resentment. Prioritize wellbeing over winning people’s validation.

How to Handle Criticism in a Healthy Way

Handle Criticism In A Healthy Way

Since insecure people ache for approval, criticism often devastates them.

However, if you base your worth on God, you can receive feedback without crumbling.

  • Consider the source. Is the person trustworthy, reasonable, and well-intentioned? Take critique from wise mentors seriously.
  • Look for kernels of truth. Even unfair criticism often contains a pearl of helpful insight if you search for it.
  • Release the rest. Detach yourself from the attack. “That says more about their issues than mine.” Don’t internalize unjust criticism.
  • Stay humble. Embrace correction as an opportunity to grow. Don’t get defensive. Criticism has value if you stay open-minded.
  • Refocus on strengths. After processing constructive feedback, intentionally recall your abilities and past successes.

With practice, you can learn to glean helpful truth from criticism without destroying your self-image. Your worth remains intact in God’s eyes.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Comparing yourself with others is the death knell of contentment. People only post their “highlight reels” on social media, not their real lives.

Focus on appreciating others’ talents without coveting them. Be inspired by how they reflect God’s creativity without feeling diminished.

There’s no need to compare – we each have a unique role.

Detox by taking social media breaks to simply reflect on gratitude for your gifts and blessings.

Nurture inner security; don’t hand others power over your sense of worth.

Learn to Handle Rejection

Learn To Handle Rejection

Since insecure people are sensitive to rejection, they often sabotage relationships by mistrusting others’ motives. They project negativity and assume the worst.

But rejection is an unavoidable part of life. Think of it as an opportunity to discover who your true supporters are.

Discard unrealistic expectations that everyone will approve of you.

Strengthen your inner resilience through an intimate relationship with God. “Even if others leave me, He always accepts me just as I am.” (Hebrews 13:5).

Rejection doesn’t change your worth.

By learning to process rejection at the surface level you’ll develop “antifragility” as author Nassim Taleb calls it.

Find a Supportive Community

Find A Supportive Community

We all need safe relationships where we feel loved for who we are. Insecurity will often attract toxic folks who play on your need for validation.

But a healthy community provides fertile soil for your gifts to blossom as you encourage each other, share burdens, and model God’s grace. Make this a priority.

If your current circle drags you down, seek out positive groups with uplifting purposes – Bible studies, volunteer work, fitness groups, arts communities, etc.

Surround yourself with people who speak the truth, inspire growth, and believe in you. Their love will help you to silence the inner critic.

Additional Tips to Overcome Insecurity

  • Practice self-care: Insecurity often indicates you don’t believe you’re worth investing in. Make time for rest, healthy food, exercise, and hobbies you enjoy.
  • Celebrate progress: Recognize small wins on the journey. Insecurity makes you dismiss accomplishments. Write them down so you can look back on them later.
  • Develop self-awareness: Notice when you fall into negative thought patterns. Become conscious of insecurity’s triggers and this will help you to diffuse them.
  • See a counselor: If deep-seated issues underlie your insecurity, professional counseling will help you uncover its roots.
  • Practice gratitude: Insecurity causes us to fixate on flaws rather than blessings. Keep a gratitude journal. Thank God for small and great achievements in your life.
  • Visit your “happy place”: When plagued by self-doubt retreat to environments where you feel content – nature, music, and friends who refresh you.
  • Help others: Volunteer work will counter preoccupation with your issues. Focusing on alleviating suffering will give you a different perspective.
  • Pursue growth: Instead of seeking validation pursue goals of learning, developing talents, and spiritual growth.

Final Thoughts on Conquering Insecurity

Overcoming deeply ingrained insecurity is not easy or quick. Unlearning long-held mental habits requires regular practice and self-compassion when we stumble.

By implementing even a few of these strategies, you can gradually retrain your brain to recognize your true worth.

As you replace the lies with God’s empowering truth, you’ll increasingly see yourself as He does – His beloved, wonderful child.

The journey requires perseverance, but the joy, freedom, and fulfillment on the other side are more than worth it. You were created by God for a unique purpose, designed just as you are.

May you take hold of that truth today, step into your calling, and live boldly from an unshakable inner security.

FAQ: Overcoming Insecurity

Q. What are the most common insecurities people deal with?

A. Many people struggle with appearance and body image, social awkwardness, career inadequacy, relationships and dating, lack of confidence in their abilities, and feelings of unworthiness.

Q. What causes someone to be insecure?

A. Insecurity often arises from childhood wounds, trauma, negative self-talk, perfectionism, distortions from media, and lack of unconditional love. Biological factors can also play a role for some.

Q. How can you tell if someone is insecure?

A. Signs of insecurity include constantly seeking validation, being uncomfortable receiving compliments, putting yourself down, withdrawing from challenges or risks, excessive people-pleasing, and over-apologizing.

Q. How does insecurity affect relationships?

A. Insecurity sabotages relationships through mistrust, jealousy, control, clinginess, and emotional dependence. It prevents authentic intimacy out of fear of rejection.

Q. Is insecurity a mental illness?

A. Insecurity itself is not a mental illness. But when chronic and severe, it can lead to disorders like anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder. Professional counseling may be needed in some cases.

Q. How can you stop being so insecure?

A. It starts with countering negative self-talk, finding security in your relationship with God, limiting social media, setting goals that challenge you, believing others’ compliments, releasing expectations of constant approval, and surrounding yourself with supportive friends.

Q. How do you help someone who is insecure?

A. Give them sincere praise, remind them of their strengths, challenge any self-put-downs, avoid enabling their attention-seeking, set healthy boundaries, recommend counseling if needed, point them to God’s unconditional love, and pray for their healing.

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