Column: Nice is the new cool —Overcoming insecurity begins with yourself

Editor’s Column: Nice is the new cool

Maggie Snavely is the Self and Style editor at Ethic News


Graphic design created using Autodesk software. (Angelita Hutabarat/ Ethic Media)


Insecurity, the thing that stops you from wearing what you want, or going to a party you want to attend. Insecurities can haunt you and constantly hover over your head. When your day is ruined by looking in the mirror and frowning at what you perceive as flaws, maybe it’s time to change your way of thinking. Most traits we see and realize about ourselves are features that only we notice. It is our choice on how we perceive ourselves. 

What does it mean to be insecure? Cambridge Dictionary defines being insecure as “lacking confidence” or “doubting one’s own abilities.” So the time you were presenting in front of the class and your palms became sweaty and the sense of restlessness was overwhelming, you were feeling insecure. Insecurities can hold you back in life. It is important to find ways to feel better about your insecurities and keep them from negatively affecting your life. Whether you feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a crowd or hate the color of your hair, there is certainly a way to feel better about these insecurities.

“A willingness to face what we usually don’t want to face” is the first step to getting over our insecurities, according to lifestyle blogger Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits. Having a bit of courage, even in small doses, is a great way to start.

The Obstacles

It is hard to start trying to move on when you still have wounds that never healed. We all have been criticized in our life. As much as we act like it didn’t leave us with any self doubts, those criticisms and comments linger. This usually creates a negative self-image. When you hear one criticism after another, you start to criticize yourself as well. This tends to leave us in need of approval or someone who accepts us and makes us feel worthy. The only problem with this is that it encourages the habit of no longer wanting, but needing approval. There is so much out there stopping us from being comfortable in our own skin. If we want to progress forward, we need to overcome these obstacles. 

Learning to Deal with Insecurities

We have to notice that the obstacles in our way actually show us the path to overcoming insecurities. The first step we need to take is to learn how to embrace these obstacles, and acknowledge our insecurities. This step is really just that simple; our insecurities give us a starting point on the path to better ourselves. Learn to pay attention and notice when insecurities start taking control of your life. You can then start trying the following steps. 

Forgive What has Happened to You in the Past.

If you were hurt in the past by either someone else or yourself, it’s time to start letting go. What happened in the past wasn’t right, but holding onto this hurt isn’t going to help you move forward.

Accept Everything About Yourself.

Stop what you’re doing and take a moment to acknowledge and notice everything about you. Notice all the small things, like how your hair moves or the creases in your palms. Now take a look at all the things about yourself that you don’t like. See if there is any way for you to share some love with them. Zen Habits stresses that seeing these imperfections as a friend can help you accept them. Zen Habits suggests to “think about how you would treat this imperfect friend, and be the same way towards yourself.” These parts of you are what make you who you are. As much as we hear this, really think about it. They are a part of you and deserve compassion and love, just like you would treat an insecure friend.

Getting Your Own Approval 

Many symptoms of insecurity result in constantly seeking the approval of others. If you realize that other people’s opinions don’t matter then you reclaim that power for yourself. What you feel insecure about is yourself, so why should anyone’s opinion matter besides your own? You have the power to decide what you think about yourself. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t want love from others. You can feel good getting compliments while also being content with yourself. The most important fact is that you love yourself, and the approval of others is not a necessity. Once you work towards self-approval, it’s easy to reflect on past hurts, and learn to let them go. Search for forgiveness within yourself and forgive yourself for the times that you have hurt yourself. 

Learn to Trust

The most important step is learning to trust yourself. Develop trust that demonstrates you will be okay. No matter what is currently happening, time will pass and you will feel okay. Times that you feel your most insecure will be over soon and you will move on. The same goes for people that make you feel bad about yourself or hurt you. Eventually, you will be moving forward in life not worrying about what others see in you. 

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