While reading books and journals written on these two subjects my head begins to spin with, “which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Depending on the author, they are related, connected or totally irrelevant to each other. So let’s start with some simple definitions as it relates to people’s feelings.

Merriam-Webster
in·se·cure – adjective
: not confident about yourself or your ability to do things well : nervous and uncomfortable
: not certain to continue or be successful for a long time

In Dr. Taylor Hartman’s book Playing Life to Win he states, “Insecurity is humility’s greatest enemy… insecure people don’t trust that they can be happy and successful if others are too… beneath it all, we don’t trust that we are good enough. We fear rejection, inadequacy, and simply not measuring up.” He sums it up with, “Ironically, our insecurity drives us from the one thing we should trust the most – who we are.”

Dr. Lisa Firestone, co-author of Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice describes an important aspect of our insecurity based on, “The critical inner voice formed out of painful early life experiences in which we witnessed or experienced hurtful attitudes toward us or those close to us. As we grow up, we unconsciously adopt and integrate this pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves and others.” Perhaps you will recognize some of these as thoughts you hear from your negative self-talk:
  • You’re stupid
  • You’re unattractive
  • You’re not like other people
  • You’re a failure
  • You never get anything right
  • No one will ever love you
  • You’re fat
  • You’re such a loser
  • You’ll never make friends
  • You’ll never be able to quit _____
  • You’ll never accomplish anything
  • What’s the point in even trying
In Dr. Shad Helmstetter’s book, Who Are You Really And What Do You Want?, he delves into your self and your self-talk, describing the brain like a super-computer storing messages that get programmed into it – and then acting on the input that’s been received.

“WARNING… EVERYTHING YOU TYPE INTO THIS CHILD’S MENTAL COMPUTER WILL BE STORED FOR LIFE – AND ACTED ON AS THOUGH IT’S TRUE!”

The overall premise of his book is based on the following: Change your self-talk and you will change your programs. Change your programs and you will change your life. And finally, “the truth about programming… the human brain is designed to accept whatever we put into it – whether it is true or not!”

Merriam Webster
self-es·teem - noun
: a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities
: a confidence and satisfaction in oneself
: self-respect

“Self-esteem comes simply because you breathe; while self-confidence comes because you proactively do.” – Dr. Taylor Hartman

“People with low self-esteem feel unhappy or unsatisfied with themselves.” – Better Health Channel > Healthy Living > Healthy Mind

Characteristics of low self-esteem include:
  • Extremely critical of oneself
  • Downplays or ignores their positive qualities
  • Judges themselves to be inferior to their peers
  • Uses negative words to describe themselves
  • Blames themselves when things go wrong
  • Doesn’t believe a person who compliments them
Similar to the causes of insecurity, low self-esteem can also be caused from an unhappy childhood with extremely critical parents, poor academic performance, ongoing stressful life events, poor treatment from a partner, chronic pain…

How to Overcome Insecurity and Low Self-Esteem:
  1. Positive self talk – you are good enough simply being you.
  2. Challenge negative self-talk – stop and look for objective evidence, most negative self talk is unfounded.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others – God made you unique, there is no one else like you, with your talents and gifts for a purpose.
  4. Acknowledge compliments – don’t dismiss or belittle your achievements.
  5. Past is past – we all know we can’t change the past, but today, in this moment you can choose your future, choose to concentrate on the here-and-now.
  6. Have fun and exercise – schedule enjoyable activities each week, exercise is a good boost to the brain.
  7. Post and say out loud positive inspirational affirmations everyday.
In my prayers to overcome my insecurities or feelings of low self-esteem, I now ask God to help me see myself through His eyes. As a mother and grandmother, whenever I look at my children and grandchildren, I am filled with awe and wonder at just how beautiful, unique, and talented they are. I don’t see faults. I see promise.

If you are struggling with insecurity or low self esteem, contact us.