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Insecurities: Definition,
Causes and Effective Ways to
Deal with Them

All of us experience insecurities, but we should never allow these to gain control over our lives. Find out more about the meaning of insecurities, their causes and some effective ways to overcome them.
Insecurity means uncertainty about one's beliefs and a lack of confidence. Is there anything worse than being uncomfortable in your own skin? What if you feel worthless despite sitting in your dream car? What if you feel incompetent even after achieving your goals? All of these are insecurities examples. Achievements do not alleviate insecurities. They may merely offer a positive perspective that overthrows these insecurities.

Some of us may be good at managing or hiding our insecurities, while others may not. Some also conceal their insecurities by means of narcissism, arrogance or superiority.

It's completely normal to feel insecure sometimes. However, feeling insecure all the time is what indicates a bigger issue. It's important to address this and start working on yourself immediately if you feel overwhelmed by your insecurities. Let's dig deeper into the concept!

A person standing on the stage with monster hands around symbolizing insecurities

What does "insecurities" mean?

We encounter this term in our everyday lives quite frequently. However, the vagueness of this term can be confusing when it comes to identifying our own insecurities. Insecurity refers to a tendency to experience a lack of confidence or certainty regarding an aspect of life. It can also be called an experience of inadequacy. Insecurities usually accompany anxiety, which may induce helplessness. Therefore, insecurities may lead to depression as well. The negative effects of insecurities go well beyond an individual's self and may negatively impact others, as well.
Woman thinks about her insecurities in a white shirt standing in front of the mirror

Examples of Insecurities

You can find numerous insecurities examples in your life or the lives of people around you. People can experience insecurities about many things. The following are some insecurities examples:

  • Feelings of inadequacy related to body image
  • Feelings of inadequacy related to intelligence
  • Feelings of inadequacy related to relationships
  • Feelings of inadequacy related to weight
  • Feelings of inadequacy related to money
  • Feelings of inadequacy related to hobbies
  • Feelings of inadequacy related to academic achievements
  • Feelings of inadequacy related to a romantic partner

Can you think of more insecurities examples?

Most common causes of insecurities

Insecurities can't be attributed to a single cause as it is an amalgamation of multiple factors. The most common root causes of insecurity are as follows:

Woman with insecurities sitting with a group of people

Insecurity rooted in rejection or failure

Who wouldn't feel inadequate after getting dumped by their partner despite investing everything into the relationship? We may also start to doubt our capabilities if we fail to qualify for a job we applied for. Similarly, numerous other insecurities examples are rooted in rejection and failure. According to research, 40% of our happiness quotient (HQ) is determined by recent events in our lives. Unhappiness induced by recent negative experiences in life can negatively influence our self-esteem and confidence. Therefore, rejection and failure can lead to insecurities and depression.

Insecurity rooted in social anxiety

How do others feel about me? Do they like me? Do they even want to spend time with me? These are some insecurities examples that are rooted in social anxiety. Social anxiety is the fear of being judged by others. This fear can make a person feel inadequate and overly self-conscious. Being self-conscious is not inherently bad, but the consistent negative perception of one's capabilities is what can make it debilitating. Allowing your inner critic to take control can foster insecurities.

Insecurity rooted in perfectionism

Having high expectations for yourself may indicate optimism and hope. However, setting unrealistically high standards for yourself is another root cause of insecurities. It's great that you scored 99% on your English test, but it is still ok if you could not pass that Math exam. You can't be perfect at everything, nor do you need to be. Be mindful of the fact that there are always factors that are out of our control. Otherwise, it may result in excessive self-blame, which may lead to self-criticism, feelings of anxiety, insecurities and depression.

How do insecurities affect your life?

Insecure man looking in the window
There are numerous negative effects of insecurities that carry over to all aspects of your life. You may struggle to form healthy relationships. You may fail to receive a promotion at work due to an inability to speak up about your accomplishments and contributions. Excessive self-doubt may also lead you to isolation. You may also face negative effects of insecurities when it comes to your health in the form of hypertension, mood changes, somatic symptoms and other mental/physical health conditions.

Insecurities and depression: Are they connected?

As discussed earlier, insecurities may lead to negative mental health consequences. Comparisons, rejection or other setbacks may lead you to experience low self-worth, which may further push you to focus on your flaws. Low self-worth, helplessness and pessimism are the hallmarks of depression, explicating how insecurities may lead to depression.

Tips on how to overcome insecurities

Fortunately, we can always wriggle ourselves free from this trap. We can prevent the negative effects of insecurities through action and a little change in perspective. Let's look at some interesting ways of overcoming insecurities.

Concentrate on the good and practice gratitude

Do you currently have a roof over your head, food on your table and clothes in your closet? Do you have a job? Can you walk? Work on your personal growth, but don't forget about the things that you already have. This change of perspective will boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Don't beat yourself up

We all might fail from time to time. However, it's important to keep going no matter what. Always remember you have numerous opportunities waiting for you.

If you missed a deadline, don't punish yourself. Just try to understand why it happened and fix your behavior so as not to repeat it in the future. Think of your mistakes as learning opportunities and your precious experience.

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. And you will come back even stronger!

    Step out of your comfort zone

    You can't expect change if you don't take risks. Avoidance is what perpetuates insecurities. Avoidance may give temporary relief from experiencing anxiety, but it will eventually cause you to become stuck in one place. For example, if you think you are a bad public speaker and want to improve, start small. Try talking to one stranger at a time and gradually increasing the size of your audience. This is how you can beat your insecurities step by step.
    A woman in boxing gloves as a metaphor for beating insecurities

    Always keep going

    The most important thing after failure is to keep going. Never stop after a small mistake. Of course, you need to take responsibility for your setback. Concentrate on the root causes of your actions, listen to constructive criticism and ask people for feedback to become a better version of yourself in the future. As evident from the insecurities definition, insecurity is the feeling of inadequacy that prevents you from stepping forward. Don't let any setback come in your way of moving forward.

    Accept yourself

    Acceptance can work wonders. According to Carl Rogers, unconditional positive regard helps people to reach their full potential. Therefore, accept yourself without conditions. To do this, understand your weaknesses and accept them. Try to get along with them and not constantly judge yourself. Your identity makes you unique. It will not only manage your insecurities but also prevent the negative effects of insecurities from manifesting.

    Ask for feedback

    Others evaluate us more objectively. There is a chance that their feedback will not be affected by negative bias. However, you should be able to differentiate between jealousy and constructive criticism. Make sure to use either of them productively.

    Reward yourself for your achievements

    If you can be hard on yourself for your setbacks, then you must be able to appreciate yourself for your achievements as well. Rewarding your achievements may maximize their value in your head, leading you to take a healthy perspective.

    Surround yourself with loved ones

    Your loved ones are your greatest supporters. It is crucial to look at your social circles and support system and ask yourself, "Am I surrounded by people who want the best for me or bring out the best of me?" It's important to have people you can talk about your problems with. They can help you build your confidence and can also serve as a shield for protecting you against the negative effects of insecurities.


    Insecurities make people feel inadequate in their capabilities related to multiple aspects of life. Numerous insecurities examples can be found in our own lives and our surroundings. These negative effects of insecurities include depression, isolation, hopelessness, failure, anxiety and physical health issues. The most common root causes of insecurities are rejection/failure, social anxiety and perfectionism. Fortunately, there are always ways of overcoming insecurities on your own. However, you may need to consult a therapist or psychiatrist if things feel as though they are out of your control.


    1. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/the-insecurity-behind-narcissistic-personality-npd-explained-1107194
    2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/perfectionism
    3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-life-s-purpose/201804/are-you-happy
    4. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/social-anxiety-disorder-more-than-just-shyness/index.shtml
    5. https://www.verywellmind.com/negative-bias-4589618

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