We all felt insecure at some point in our life. You have probably felt insecure more than once. Perhaps you felt insecure the first time you got behind the wheel of a car, when you took an exam without studying enough, or before making a big decision in life.
Insecurity is a feeling that warns us that we can make mistakes. When we have doubts about the path to follow, we can experience a certain degree of insecurity. This insecurity is often accompanied by a feeling of unease and tension that can reach considerable proportions.
If we are unable to cope with the feeling of insecurity, it will continue to grow within us, paralyzing us more and more. Many people carry on certain types of insecurities for years, allowing them to dictate their decisions, limit their potential, and flood them with frustration, guilt and anguish.
The 5 most common types of insecurities
Insecurity is a deeply personal experience, so there are as many types of insecurities as there are people. Insecurity can come from different sources and spread to multiple areas of our life or even permeate it completely. But there are some fairly common types of personal insecurity that become the basis from which all other doubts, conflicts and uncertainties arise.
1. Insecurity in interpersonal relationships
This type of insecurity arises from the fear that others will harm or disappoint us, so we don't let ourselves go completely in relationships, but we keep some emotional distance. That distance acts as a shield that keeps us "safe", but keeps others away as well.
People who are insecure in their relationships are unwilling to show their vulnerabilities and do not fully trust others. As a result, they tend to develop more superficial relationships in which they do not allow the other - be it a partner, a close friend, or even children or parents - to get close enough for intimate contact between two souls to occur.
Insecurity in interpersonal relationships arises from avoidant attachment. The person has difficulty expressing their emotions and is afraid of intimacy, so when they feel that the other is getting too close, they walk away. This insecurity and distrust ends up generating insecurity and distrust in the other too, preventing the creation of a solid basis for the relationship to bear fruit.
2. Social insecurity
The person who experiences this type of insecurity has no problems in relating to those who are part of their circle of trust, but usually avoids social contexts. He feels deeply uncomfortable in large groups or when interacting with a stranger.
Social insecurity is often due to a lack of confidence in our abilities to act properly or to have some level of success in social settings. At the bottom it feeds on the fear of criticism and social rejection. When we worry too much about what others think of us, we feel more anxious and insecure and don't know how to behave.
The person suffering from this type of insecurity avoids social contexts because these situations generate great tension and inhibit it. He is afraid of making a mistake, of making a fool of himself, of not knowing what to say or of conveying a wrong or negative self-image. As a result, he ends up limiting his social life and loses opportunities just to avoid public exposure.
3. Body insecurity
The physical appearance, whether we like it or not, is part of our business card. Our body and face add or subtract points to the first impression we make on others. Furthermore, in a society like ours, obsessed with physical appearance and certain aesthetic ideals, the personal aspect takes center stage.
So when people are uncomfortable with their body image, they can experience tremendous insecurity that extends to every sphere of life. Body insecurity comes from not feeling comfortable in your own skin, from rejection of parts of our body that we don't like.
After all, people who experience this type of insecurity do not have a balanced view of their physical characteristics, but they tend to focus on that part of the body they do not like and to amplify its importance. They believe that others judge them solely based on their image, so they end up being their worst judges.
4. Occupational insecurity
In some cases, insecurity focuses on the workplace. Since we spend most of our day working, this kind of insecurity can be devastating, affecting that part of our "me" that identifies with the profession.
If a person feels they lack the knowledge or skills to do their job successfully, they may feel deeply insecure. In the most extreme cases, he may even feel like an impostor; in other words, insecurity leads her to think that she is not qualified to do the job.
At its core, professional insecurity involves questioning our intelligence and abilities, as well as the hidden fear of criticism and disapproval from those people we perceive as more intelligent or capable. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Hong Kong revealed that job insecurity is not closely related to job performance, which means that we can have an adequate or even good level of performance and still feel deeply insecure. This is because insecurity, once established, is quite resistant to evidence to the contrary.
5. Personal insecurity
Of all types of insecurities, personal insecurity is probably the most insidious and difficult to eradicate because it is not linked to certain contexts such as social or professional insecurity, but spreads like wildfire to all spheres of life.
It is a profound insecurity, often developed in childhood or adolescence, which involves fear of what others think of us, of not living up to and of disappointing the expectations of others. It tends to feed on low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence.
At its base there is a profound disconnection with our "I". Personal insecurity is the reflection of unresolved internal conflicts, of an "I" that does not know what it wants and does not dare to decide in one direction or another. As a result, the person suffering from this type of insecurity can spend much of their life paralyzed, making decisions only when circumstances compel them.
How to deal with the different types of insecurities?
A study conducted at Brigham Young University found that authoritarian people, those who want to control everything, experience higher levels of insecurity. In fact, deep down, the different types of insecurities hide a deep fear of uncertainty, of what is beyond our control and its consequences. This is why insecurity is fought by making room for uncertainty.
• Immerse yourself in insecurity. It might seem like a contradiction in terms, but since you can't escape from yourself, you can't escape your insecurities either. Denying them will only make them grow out of all proportion. Instead, see how you feel when insecurity assails you. Don't pay attention to your thoughts, just the feelings and emotions you experience. Immerse yourself in that experience with curiosity, as if you were a child experiencing it for the first time. Don't try to fight it, don't judge or complain, live it as it presents itself.
• Suppress the urge to act. Whatever kind of insecurity you feel, the discomfort it creates is likely to be so great that it spurs you into action. Don't act by letting yourself be guided by that feeling of insecurity. Don't let insecurity take over. Stay calm and pay attention to your first impulse. What do you want to do? It can be postponing a decision, fleeing from a place, giving up something… Don't do it! Remain in insecurity for a while longer. Without acting.
• Relax in insecurity. It may seem impossible, but it isn't. The weapons of insecurity, with which it perpetuates itself and pushes you to act, are inner tension and anxiety. Therefore, you need to learn to counter those feelings with relaxation. You can learn to breathe through your diaphragm to feel comfortable with those feelings, until you realize they won't hurt you and that they have no more power over you than you give them.
• Fill yourself with gratitude. Insecurity cannot be fought with security. Security is a pipe dream. Life is insecurity, unpredictability and uncertainty. And that's okay! Therefore, now that you are in that sea of insecurity, trying to relax, look for a feeling of gratitude within you. Feel gratitude for that insecurity too, because it is a sign that you are alive, thinking and feeling.
This way you will find the balance you need to move forward. You will not get rid of insecurity. There's no need. But this will stop bothering or paralyzing you. As yogi Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev explains “when you feel insecure you try to avoid life, and this generates profound misery. But in this life we are only passing through. We have nothing to lose because we arrive with nothing and leave with nothing. We decide if we want to live it with all its insecurities or allow ourselves to be paralyzed ”.