Find Your Courage - Gil Petersil

Find Your Courage

How to overcome insecurity

We are all familiar with insecurity and fears. Some of us have learned to live with that, but our anxiety did not go anywhere. We are concerned about so many things, like, for example:

  • other people may disapprove of what we do
  • excess weight makes us look unattractive
  • we don’t have enough knowledge, money or status to achieve our goals

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What we see every day on social networks does not raise our self-esteem either: successful people, toned bodies, fulfilled life… Well, you know what I am talking about. The question is how to overcome this insecurity. How to learn to live in harmony with yourself, the world around and not depend on someone else’s opinion? Let’s try to figure out.

First, it’s important to find out what makes you feel insecure. Here are the most common reasons:

  • Criticism coming from the “well-wishers”

If you were often criticized, especially as a kid, and were told that nothing good would come of you, you began to believe it and take it for granted.

  • Past negative experience

Perhaps you have tried something bold and daring once or twice in your life. You failed and stopped trying because you don’t want to relive those negative emotions.

  • Self-rejection

Surprisingly enough, even very beautiful people are often dissatisfied with their appearance. Talented people often think that they are mediocre and smart people believe that they are stupid. Self-rejection is one of the most common causes of insecurity.

Fortunately, a recognized problem is already half of the solution. So when you know exactly what you need to work on, it is much easier to solve the task. That’s why it makes sense to start overcoming insecurity by eliminating the limitations which I mentioned above:

1. Forgive your past

People who unfairly criticized you were trying to get rid of their own insecurity at your expense. Try to understand this and forgive them. In addition, spend more time with those who inspire and encourage you.

2. Think of the great people who have come a long way to success

The author of “Harry Potter”, J.K. Rowling, was rejected by 12 publishers, Walt Disney was fired from the newspaper for the lack of imagination, and Einstein was considered retarded by his school teacher. Just think of what the world could have lost if these people had considered themselves losers and had stopped pursuing their dreams. So don’t let the negative experience stop you. On the contrary, let it encourage you to try again.

3. Find reasons to be proud of yourself. For that purpose, make a list of your achievements.

Every person has something to be proud of. It can be the success in sports, parenthood, creativity – anything. Write them down, stick them on your refrigerator or the mirror in your bathroom. That way you will remind yourself every day that you have an amazing life, and you are an amazing person.

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Having dealt with your limitations, start doing things that will move you forward:

4. Change the things in yourself that you can and want to change

For example, you are annoyed by the sound of your own voice. Sign up for a speech technique course or find a specialist who will give you voice lessons. If you are dreaming about losing weight, then stop dreaming and start exercising and controlling what you eat. Remember the famous saying? “Most people have a dream that can be fulfilled by the end of the week. But they make it their dream of a lifetime”.

5. Never stop self-development

I believe in lifelong education. But in order to learn something, you need to have a clear motivation. For example, you cannot learn a foreign language thinking “Well, it might come in handy” or start running marathons, because now everyone is doing it. You should clearly understand why you need this or that skill. Here’s how to organize your learning process:

  • determine what skill you lack to achieve your goal. For example, you need to learn English to find a job with an international company.
  • find a way to obtain this skill, online or offline
  • choose the next skill you want to master
  • repeat this process for the rest of your life

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Imagine how your self-esteem and results will soar if you have 5 to 10 new useful skills every year!

6. Gather information in advance

In my speeches, I sometimes ask the audience: “Who googled some information about the speakers before coming to this event?”Usually, only one or two hands are raised. It’s funny because the participants could have prepared in advance, so that they could ask interesting questions, find something in common with the speakers, talk to them during a coffee break and exchange contacts. In that case, the event could have been more valuable to the audience.

Insecurity often arises from the unknown. For example, you are about to go to an unfamiliar place. Find out in advance what kind of people will be there, what the dress code is, etc. The more information you collect, the more confident you will feel.

7. Ask yourself: “What is the worst thing that can happen?”

This question helps to understand that most of our fears are just fantasies. For instance, you want to get a promotion, but you are afraid to talk to your boss about it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You will not get a promotion, and you will continue to work in the same position. Admit that this is not the end of the world nor a reason to give up your plans.

8. Control your thoughts

Our brain tends to cling to negative emotions. The good news is that you can control it. If you notice that you get carried away by negative thoughts, try to do the following:

  • Distract yourself

Make the brain think of something else. For example, count how many books there are on the shelf, or turn on your favorite song and start singing along to it.

  • Come up with 3 positive thoughts for each negative

For example, standing in front of a mirror, you suddenly thought: “What bad skin I have!” Immediately remember that you have expressive eyes, beautiful hair, and a charming dimple on the cheek.

  • Throw away negative thoughts. Literally

Once you think about something bad, write it down on paper, crumple up the sheet and throw it into the trash.

9. Be spontaneous

There are people who are used to planning life. But to overcome the insecurity you sometimes need to be adventurous. If, for instance, you found a cheap ticket to a city, which you wanted to visit, just buy it. You will sort out the details later.

Such actions will help you stop taking life too seriously. Learn to enjoy, fool around and live in the moment. Of course, ideally, you need like-minded people to join you. So, as usual, I advise you to carefully choose your company.

10. Treat problems as gifts

Richard Bach, writer and philosopher, said: “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you on its hands.” Any negative experience is not a reason to lose confidence. It’s a gift that helps you understand why you needed such an experience. Remember that victory over oneself begins with the positive mindset. To form it, use these tips:

  • Forgive your past: the people who criticized you and the bad experiences you had
  • Think of the great people who have come a long way to success
  • Find reasons to be proud of yourself. For that purpose, make a list of your achievements.
  • Change the things in yourself that you can and want to change
  • Never stop self-development
  • Gather information in advance
  • Ask yourself: “What is the worst thing that can happen?”
  • Treat problems as gifts
  • Control your thoughts
  • Be spontaneous

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