As we continue to build our community here at The Start of Happiness we get to hear comments and insights from more and more people from all over the world on how they are living their best lives. One reader who has been providing amazingly insightful comments is Vincent Nguyen. Vincent also runs his own blog called Self Stairway where he has been providing some useful insights on personal development. Definitely a contender for the next Top 100 Personal Development Blogs!
Today, we have Vincent here to share his 3 Tips for Dealing With Insecurity. It’s an interesting read! Even the most beautiful of people have to deal with insecurity… take it away Vincent!
It was three in the morning and we were in a parking lot talking together. It was her last night in California before she would move several states away. She was doing the same thing I was doing, leaving the comfort of where she grew up to start a new adventure in a foreign state.
She was different from me because I had looked at moving as a new adventure where I could test my adaptability. She was scared and afraid of adapting to a new environment where she knew no one and she was worried no one would like her.
We were exchanging stories when she told me about a guy at school who had asked for her number very awkwardly. “I avoided that area for weeks because I felt bad and didn’t want to run into him. That was the first time a guy ever approached me like that.”
I raised an eyebrow and said, “What? You can’t be serious!”
“What?” she asked, not even able to look me in the eye with confidence.
“It’s just… I’m surprised because you are very beautiful so I figured guys approached you all the time.” I meant it too. I didn’t know this girl too well and this was our first time hanging out together, but she was honestly the most beautiful girl I knew.
What surprised me even more is when we got to talking about something a bit more serious. She told me, “I have social anxiety. When I’m talking to people I constantly worry about what they think of me so I end up not saying anything.”
I’ve heard the same concerns from many people before. Even the most beautiful girl I know worries about what people think about her.
At that moment, I was taken aback. I used to be like that too and I used to be in my head all the time trying to validate myself to others.
Then I decided to tell her a secret, my secret. The trick that got me out of my head and allowed me to care less about what others thought.
“You know, almost everyone has this fear. Everyone is worrying about how others see them. The truth is, no one thinks about anyone else too often because they’re too busy worrying about what others’ think about them. We all care and think about ourselves so often that we rarely have time to think about anyone else.”
Is that not true? Sure, people on occasion will make comments and naturally judge you based off of how you present yourself, but no one lingers on the thought all day. Throughout the day, they’re too busy worrying about how they will be presenting themselves.
When you’re meeting someone new you don’t automatically default into looking for the negatives. People always want to make a new friend so they’re secretly rooting for you to be awesome. They’re not thinking of how awful you can be nor are they conspiring against you.
Think about how often you think about other people. Do you really think about anyone else that often? No, you’re in your own head most of the time, right?
This is what I told this girl, this beautiful girl who despite her stunning looks is worried that others will not like her. I know looks isn’t everything, but people usually look at physically attractive individuals as the ones who don’t have to worry about what others think.
Everyone is in his or her own head, even the most beautiful. The people who are ahead of the game are those who realize that it doesn’t matter… or those that know people don’t think too much about them.
Here are three tips to help you in dealing with insecurity.
1. Remind yourself that everyone is the protagonist of his or her own story.
You’re a side character in their story and that’s a very liberating fact. Everyone that passes by you is a side character in yours, if that helps you get perspective on how you fit into other people.
Sure, you make a difference and play a role, but the majority of the brainpower they use goes into thinking about themselves. They struggle with the same insecurity you do, so trust me when I say they’re not thinking about you as much as you think.
2. Ask yourself if you’ll be worrying about this a week/month/year from right now.
The scary thing about worry is that it disables us from making things happen in the present moment. That person you wanted to talk to but didn’t? Imagine what your life could be like if you said hi. That worry of what they think of you is temporary. Ask yourself will you be worrying about this a week, month, or year from now.
If the answer is no, then why waste time worrying about it now? If you extinguish the insecurity right now then it frees you to do what you want. If you take action, you open the door to possibilities. If you listen to a feeling of anxiety that only lasts in the moment, you close the doors.
3. Humanize your feelings.
It’s easy to feel alone in your emotions because you don’t realize that just about everyone shares these feelings with you. It helps to picture thousands, if not millions, of other people on this planet feeling the exact same emotion as you at this very moment. It’s not weird, it’s not crazy, and it’s human. Sometimes knowing that other people are feeling the same pain as you allows you to accept that pain and perhaps even let go.
Author Bio: When Vincent Nguyen isn’t loitering around parking lots at 3am with beautiful women, he runs a personal development blog named Self Stairway. On his blog, he writes about practical life advice that he’s learned through his own life experiences. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
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A lovely post Vincent. I think I never really understood this until I managed people. A staff member would agonise over mistakes they made where as for me with a lot of people to manage it was only a minor hiccup in the day and quickly forgotten. Since then when I start to worry I remind myself I am only a bit player in someone elses story.
Isn’t it amazing how we can go through the exact same experiences and yet respond to them in 100% different ways? I find that my current mood is what sets the tone for how I respond. Learning how to be more consistent in how I react to these things regardless of my current feelings is tough, but at least the foundation is there.
Great post Vincent – I particularly like no 3 – I think we can all feel isolated when we’re feeling below par – and because we’re not feeling our best we tend to avoid opening up and spending time with others – which just makes the problem worse. Reminding yourself that emotions – who whole range of them, are normal and a natural part of the human existence can be a great way of finding some perspective.
Perspective is what gets us out of a rut sometimes but it’s so easy to forget. We think we’re the outliers of society when we feel emotions that are valid and normal. Remembering we’re not monsters is what brings us back to sanity sometimes. 🙂
Thanks for the opportunity to write for you, Brendan! 🙂
Thanks, Vincent.. it’s awesome to have you here!