Reviewed by Jodi Jaspan, MS, LPC
Working as a therapist for the past five years, I’ve learned how insecurities negatively impact a person’s mental health. Insecurities feed mental health issues like depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. They are also often a contributing factor to eating disorders and substance use disorders.
What Causes Insecurities?
Insecurities are related to standards set by the people we interact with, such as our family, friends, and peers, and societal expectations that may be legitimate or perceived. Insecurities develop when we compare ourselves to others and feel less than. They occur when we experience a consequence for being different from others in a perceived negative way or when we feel we do not measure up to where we “should” be.
Insecurities are brought on when we recognize differences between ourselves and others, either on our own or through someone else pointing it out. For example, a child who is teased on the playground at school for being in a larger body than their peers may come to feel insecure about their weight and body.
Why Hiding Perceived Flaws Isn’t A Solution
It seems that we will all struggle with insecurities at some point in our lives, whether it’s about our physical attributes, such as being bald, being in a larger body, wearing glasses, or having acne, or about less visible things like our finances, education, job, or relationship status.
Since feeling insecure seems like an unavoidable part of the human experience, we need to understand how to deal with it. Many of us deal with our insecurities by trying to hide the things we are insecure about. We work hard to hide our insecurities from others, to avoid the judgement we expect will be directed towards us if our insecurities show. For example, a person who is insecure about their weight may wear baggy clothes to hide their shape of their body.
Hiding our insecurities are a futile effort as they are only temporary “solutions.” We usually cannot hide something we are insecure about one hundred percent of the time and even if we could, it would be exhausting. The long term solution to overcoming insecurities is self-acceptance. When we accept ourselves for who we are, we are able to shed our insecurities because we no longer care whether we are judged for them. When we practice self-acceptance, we often find that the majority of people do not judge us and that those who do don’t matter.
Working to Practice Self-Acceptance
Working with a therapist can help you learn how to practice self-acceptance. At The Light Program, therapists help their clients practice self-acceptance by teaching them about positive affirmations and helping them recognize the value of the things they are insecure about. If you’re interested in learning more or working with one of our therapists, contact us on our website or by phone at (610) 644-6464.