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Identifying and tackling feelings of insecurity

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Feeling insecure

Most people feel insecure at some point in their lives and some experience insecurity over extended periods of time, even life-long.

Feelings of insecurity bring chaos in one’s life and with them a shift in perspective which leads to a decrease in quality of life and ability to experience happiness. In fact, feeling insecure affects all aspects of oneself: decision making, relationships, self-view, creativity, etc.

Feelings of insecurity keep one stuck in a number of never ending patterns (many of which are quite destructive) and most times, we don’t even know it; after all who likes admitting to feeling insecure?

What makes insecurity hard to identify in oneself is a lack of clear understanding of what exactly falls under the “insecurity” umbrella; top that off with the ease of labeling others as insecure (think high school) and you’re sure to remain confused. So what makes up feelings of insecurity?

Insecurity disguises itself in many forms making it hard to identify, especially in ourselves. Many times the more complex the disguises the more we understand the functionality of insecurity as a defense system meant to protect us.

Feelings of insecurity manifest themselves differently from one person to the next and can stem from a variety of sources such as childhood abuse, neglect, violence, failure, fears, etc.

Here are a few faces of insecurity


For some, insecurity manifests as an inability to receive constructive feedback. Negative or neutral feedback is perceived as a personal attack and so the “victim” is left with the only option of defending themselves (hence, becoming defensive).


Also a form of insecurity despite the fact that many people, even to this day, view jealousy as an expression of love. In reality, feelings of jealousy are meant to control the other person and typically stem from a lack of trust in oneself which invariably leads to a lack of trust in others.

People pleasing

Wanting to be liked by others at all costs and regardless of one’s personal boundaries is also a manifestation of feelings of insecurity and typically stems from fears of rejection. This is particularly visible in cases where one will make efforts to be liked even by people they don’t like. A side effect of people pleasing is the unwillingness to stand up for oneself or speak out, thus giving the other person the power to violate one’s boundaries.

Emotional manipulation

Using one’s emotions to get others to change their mind about something or change their believes and behaviors. This particular type of insecurity (like many others) can be unconscious (without realizing) or purposeful.

Incessant talking (typically about oneself)

This is a form of insecurity that pertains to people who do not feel heard. Talking is perceived as “the surest way” to maintain focus on themselves and to be noticed. A different type of talking that relates to insecurity is gossip. A person who feels insecure uses gossip and putting other people down as a way to make themselves look better in front of others and feel better about themselves.

Superior attitude.

This manifestation of insecurity is multi-pronged and includes other elements such as materialism, arrongance, and selfishness. In this context, people use expensive things, material possessions, achievements, and even relationships to help project an image of success (which contradicts to painful reality) or more to feel like they are better than the rest.

Unknown identity.

One of the deepest form of insecurity comes as a result of not knowing who we are and the reason why it is one of the deepest forms is because after all, identity is the foundation onto which everything else gets built. Because identity is such an abstract concept, identifying insecurities in this area all on your own can prove difficult, mostly because insecurities get confused and lumped up with personality traits.

For instance, doubt is a form of insecurity, yet many secure people feel doubt as well. Constantly doubting one’s decisions and looking in the past with regret without learning from those lessons though is a form of pervasive doubt or insecurity.


Most of these forms of insecurity can be tough to recognize in oneself, although not impossible. Admitting to feeling insecure in itself is a huge first step that many choose to skip only to realize that without it, there is little room –if any- for confrontation, acceptance, and growth. By no means is this process easy or pleasant, after all having to admit certain unpleasant truths when they used to be meant only for others can be quite the adjustment. Still, if you recognized yourself in any of these scenarios and if you can notice the ways in which you’ve been creating your own obstacles to success, taking a look and tackling your insecurities could very well be the answer to making a change.

Identifying and tackling feelings of insecurity

Diana C. Pitaru, M.S., L.P.C.

“Diana” Diana Pitaru is a Romanian psychotherapist in private practice in Denver, Colorado. She writes about universal psychological issues that affect quality of life and impede the creative process. Passionate about psychology, philosophy, art, and culture and how these areas connect to improve mental health, Diana offers support and insight to creative adults and teens who struggle with identity/existential issues and in relationships, have a history of trauma, or suffer with depression or anxiety. You can find her Denver practice at

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APA Reference
, . (2015). Identifying and tackling feelings of insecurity. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Oct 2015
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