There’s only one insecurity keeping you from happiness, but we’ve got seven ways to shake it off. Shed the stress of self-doubt and reclaim your best life.
The insecurities you have about yourself and your talents can have a huge impact on both your mental and physical health, but fighting these thoughts is sometimes easier said than done. How do you know what they are? And once you think you’ve identified them, how do you develop the mindfulness to battle your insecurities—without feeling more insecure?
Looking at our imperfections can be a difficult endeavor, but if you approach it from the perspective of learning rather than criticizing, you can seize the opportunity to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be.
So let’s pause for a minute and talk about what you’re probably thinking: how are all those failures a good thing? Well, you see, that’s the beauty of identifying weaknesses and flaws. You can’t ever change the areas of your life making you unhappy if you don’t know how to recognize them.
Realize imperfection is beautiful.
It’s okay to admit failure. It’s okay to be imperfect. We all are, because we’re human. Once you are able to process the fact that your imperfections are what make you so unbelievably, uniquely you, you can get down to the root of finding your own happiness—and that is learning to love who you are from the inside out.
You need to learn how to shed the self-doubt that’s holding you back and keeping you from finding happiness. Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemies. We judge ourselves the harshest and hold up our own accomplishments in life to those around us.
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You’re already comparing yourself to the person writing this article; or your co-worker Leslie who just got promoted; or Shelley, your neighbor who just got engaged. STOP. Stop right now.
This comparison game will only cause you to believe you are not enough. This is an illusion and the furthest thing from reality. You are sabotaging your relationship with yourself by comparing apples to oranges. What makes one person happy may not (and probably won’t) make the other happy.
That’s because we are different individuals. Even science recognizes the importance of learning to love yourself. It may seem like a daunting task at the start—especially when your insecurities make it hard to see anything of value—but I promise, it’s there. Just start by giving yourself some grace, and remember mistakes are going to happen.
If you’re still unsure, you can use these helpful tips to get you started on the right track to self-love—because we can’t truly be happy with others until we are happy with ourselves.
1. Get out and get physical.
You heard me. Exercise. Putting physical activity in your daily routine doesn’t mean you’ll end up a body builder, don’t worry. The benefits of getting your heart rate up and moving has a proven track record in providing both physical and mental health benefits. If you find the idea of getting to the gym makes you more stressed out, simplify. Try a 30-minute yoga session in the morning or after you get home from work to unwind, or just go for a short walk on your lunch break.
The key is to be active—the “what” isn’t important.
2. Fill your body with good fuel.
Believe it or not, a lot of the stress and self-image we develop comes from the stuff we put into our bodies. Think of it as putting low-octane fuel in a sports car. Sooner or later, the sports car is going to stop running efficiently and at top performance. The same will happen to you if you continue to over-caffeinate and feed your body junk food.
A simple change in diet will leave you feeling like a million dollars. I’m serious, and it will move you leaps and bounds toward overcoming self-image insecurities. Feeling good starts from the inside.
3. De-stress through meditation.
A personal favorite, meditation and breathing exercises may seem silly when you first sit down to do them, but I promise you they can be life-changing. If you’re struggling with your perceived insecurities and inadequacies, you’ve probably got an inner monologue going through your head constantly—even after your head hits the pillow.
Meditation recordings for sleep will force you to concentrate on your body instead of the day’s activities and slowly bring you to a relaxed state. You’ll be able to drift off into a deep, restful sleep, and even two consecutive nights of good rest can make all the difference.
4. Keep a positive attitude.
Don’t roll your eyes, please. This is a true key in maintaining a happy outlook on your life—even when things are not going very well. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude can change your day from being half-empty to half-full. An easy way to get into the habit of positivity is to close out your day with a journal of thanks.
It doesn’t have to be eloquent prose or award-winning writing. Some days you may only find a few things to be grateful for. Write them down. By focusing on the positive, you shrink the negative, which is necessary in order to recognize and enjoy happiness.
5. Disconnect from work-related activities.
Stress is a big catalyst for self-doubt. When we overload ourselves and take on more than we should, we generally underperform and suffer from such high stress levels that we don’t even have time to appreciate what did go well. We also struggle to find time to do the things that bring us joy-—joy that feeds our souls and helps maintain a happy life/work balance.
By taking at least one day a week to disconnect from obligatory activities, you can fill up your self-love tank with personal passions. Log out of your email and put down your phone. Instead, pick up a book, paint, go to a movie or learn something new. Whatever it is, just make sure it is something you love.
6. Seek out a professional someone.
Yes. It’s okay to see a therapist or counselor. In fact, I highly recommend it. Dealing with and maintaining your mental health is so important. We work our physical muscles in a gym out of necessity for a healthy lifestyle. There is absolutely no reason not to do the same for our most important muscle: our brains.
Talking to a third party with a completely unbiased view of you and your life can help you get outside yourself. They can help you see solutions to problems you missed before, and most likely, they’ll help you see that what you perceive as ‘big’ problems really aren’t that big at all. There are resources out there to help you get started, so don’t be intimidated, and don’t be afraid to talk about mental health.
7. And when in doubt, laugh.
Try not to take yourself and everything that happens in your life so seriously. Perfection is unattainable (we talked about this earlier). Laughter and humor can quickly diffuse a stressful situation, and if you can laugh at yourself, you’ll be less likely to judge yourself so harshly for failures. Your sense of humor might also make those around your laugh too, which can have an exponential effect on everyone’s attitude.
Stop trying to be a perfect human being. Those underlying insecurities that the idea of perfection creates will hold you back from unleashing your full potential in life. So shed that skin society said you need to wear—stop doubting yourself and be you. You are enough, and you always have been.