Hello again, sis! Last time we spoke about red flags in a relationship, this time we’re gonna take the magnifying glass and take a look at ourselves for a second – this time we’re gonna talk about that ugly thing that we all know so very well: insecurities.

The word “insecurity” can be defined as: uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.

Insecurity simply means looking down on yourself, not knowing your worth, forgetting who you are and comparing yourself to the next queen.

We’re gonna look at how to tell if you have insecurities; we’re gonna look at the cause of insecurities and we’re gonna look at what to do to stop being insecure.

Signs that you might be insecure:

I’ve witnessed these signs in my own life before and I’ve seen it in other women. These are some of the common signs that you or someone is dealing with insecurity:

• Low or superficial self-esteem – you tend to think very lowly of yourself and your abilities
• Self-isolation – you prefer to be alone and avoid groups of people that require interaction
• Depression or anxiety – because you have this low self-esteem, it does affect your mental health and you can feel depressed even by looking at yourself or anxious over what others might think of you
• Constant need for affirmation – you constantly need to be reminded that you are doing well, that you look good or that you are needed, wanted, appreciated and loved
• Excessive weight check – insecurity over your body will cause to constantly check your weight
• Clinging behaviour and jealousy – you are overly clingy with your friends and your partner
• Controlling – you want to be in control of a situation at all times
• Competitive – you are always competing with other woman to try and prove that you are better, you also tend to be an over-achiever as your accomplishments makes you feel better about yourself
• Over sensitive – insecure people are overly sensitive, any comment or joke will be taken to heart if it has anything to do with you as a person
• Unable to handle another persons’ success – you cannot truly be happy for someone else succeeding above you, because you immediately compare yourself to their level of success
• People pleaser – you want others to accept you that you’re willing to please everyone around you, at the expense of your own happiness
• Attention seeking – on the flip side, insecurity is not just being shy, it is being excessively loud and wanting all eyes on you for the need to be admired and liked.

What causes insecurities:
There are many reasons why someone can be insecure. We’re gonna look at four main reasons:

1. Beauty standards:
An insecurity trigger is definitely comparing yourself to the models on Instagram and other social media platforms. We forget that these models make use of Photoshop, filters and make up. They are not as perfect as what they portray. To compare yourself to an Insta model or any other girl you deem as prettier than you will only cause disappointment, because you can never be that girl, and you are you for a reason.

2. Failure in the past:
When we fail at anything, it can take a hard knock on our self-esteem, this includes failing a grade, failing a test or failing a job application.

3 Heartbreak from previous relationships:
This can be a hard one to get over, especially if you’ve experienced any kind of abuse in the relationship or have been cheated on. When a person is constantly spoken down to or pushed around, it’s hard to gain confidence, especially if you’re being pushed around by someone who supposedly loved you. Being cheated on is possibly the number one reason for not only insecurities but trust issues too.

4 Family expectations:
Families, whether it be aunties and uncles, grandparents or our parents can often set high expectations on us and if we don’t meet those expectations we can feel discouraged, and not good enough. On the flip side, family also can tend to talk down on you and even make you feel invisible, this can hinder your self-esteem.

How to stop being insecure:

Here are some practical things you can put in place to help you beat insecurities:

1. Surround yourself with people who value you – take a close look at your friend circle (we’ll deal with toxic friends in the next blog). Often it can be our own friends that add to our insecurity, so make sure the ones in your circle truly do value you as a person, respect you and appreciate you in their lives.
2. Reward yourself – celebrate every little victory or goal you’ve accomplished, not to brag to others or to prove your value, but to remind yourself that you achieved a goal that you’ve set for yourself and you can do even better.
3. Confront your insecurities – it’s no use pretending they aren’t there and wishing them away. If you recognize insecurities in your life, challenge them. Acknowledge them. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are and what your triggers are, your flaws are yours, your scars are part of your story. Don’t run away from them, own them and be gentle with yourself.
4. Speak life over yourself – remind yourself that you matter, that you’re important, that you’re gonna make it and that you’re one of a kind, beautiful.
5. Practice self-care – take care of yourself, physically, emotionally and mentally. Soak your feet in a small tub and read a book, watch your favourite series, go out with friends.

I personally battled with insecurity for a very long time, because of being bullied in school and then after school because of past relationship heartbreak. My rejection and self-hatred was huge, my lack of confidence was evident in my timidity and I still sometimes have a shy moment – it’s a work in progress on a daily basis. However, I have learnt that there is only one Tamica, and there is only one YOU. You’re unique in your personality, your laugh, your sense of humour, your talents, dreams, values, morals and way of life. Learn to appreciate who you are, learn to be kind to yourself because no one else is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself first.

Tamica x

Tell us: have you ever had insecurities and how have you dealt with them?

Disclaimer: I am not a professional psychologist or therapist, these are based on my own observations.

For professional help and counselling call one of these numbers:

Childline: You may call the Helpline 24X7 on 116 (Free from all networks) OR you can visit the Online Counselling chatrooms (a D/deaf Friendly Service) Monday-Friday, 11am-1pm & 2-6pm to chat to a counsellor

Lifeline: 0861 322 322
Rape Crisis: 021 447 9762
SADAG (The South African Depression and Anxiety Group) 0800567567