Sometimes, people talk about it like it’s a controllable, contagious disease. But insecurity is perfectly normal!
Everyone deals with it in one form or another at various points.
It comes and goes and affects us all differently.
So today, we’re doing a deep dive into the things people are insecure about.
What is the biggest insecurity for most of us?
Do men and women focus on different perceived faults?
Are there ways to overcome insecurities?
What's in this post:
What Are Insecurities?
Insecurities are anxious emotions related to things we feel inadequate about or wish were different about ourselves.
You might experience a lack of confidence, self-worth, and uncertainty about yourself, your relationships, and the world.
Insecurity can wreak havoc on our mental and even physical health. Yet, in some ways, insecurity is a healthy thing to experience.
Recognizing our insecurities helps us grow in self-awareness and be more empathetic toward others.
What Are the Most Common Insecurities?
What are some insecurities that most people have? A lot depends on who you are and where you live. However, there are some self-doubts that nearly everyone grapples with.
The top three causes of insecurity include:
- Fear of failure and rejection
- Social anxiety and lack of confidence
- Insecurities rooted in perfectionism
List of Insecurities: 27 Insecurity Examples You’ll Recognize and How To Overcome Them
Let’s look at some examples of insecurities. We’ve made two lists: one for men and the other for women.
Common Female Insecurities
What are some common female insecurities? You’ve likely experienced one or more of these in your life if you’re a woman.
1. I’m Not Pretty Enough
Our culture and society value attractive women. It’s not fair — or right — but such is life. As a result, many women spend a lot of time stressing and fretting over their looks.
Getting over this insecurity isn’t easy, and it may take decades. But eventually, you’ll reach a point where you realize that everyone is attractive in their own way — including you. Plus, there’s no accounting for taste.
2. I’m Not Thin Enough
In the late 19th century, companies started making diet products en masse — and since then, women have been held to ridiculous weight standards.
Over the years, there’s been a concerted effort to frame dieting as a path to good health. And while weight and health are connected in some ways, conventional wisdom regarding the benefits of thinness is largely made up and stems from fat-phobia.
Many women can divest from traditional expectations regarding weight and beauty by learning the truth behind our cultural obsession with thinness.
3. I Don’t Have Enough Friends
Do you ever feel unpopular — like you don’t have enough friends? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. According to one study, nearly half of Americans don’t feel like they have a single true friend.
Social media exacerbates the problem. People post curated events from their life — and often misrepresent what’s really going on. Heck, that picture of “Sally” with all her “best friends” could be a picture from her cousin’s bachelorette weekend, and she only knows one person in the group!
We’re all getting worse and worse at making friends, and people have fewer and fewer.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to overcome this insecurity:
- Take a Social Media Break: People are usually amazed at how much better they feel about themselves and their lives when they go on a social media diet.
- Hit the Books: When we read up on the issue, we quickly realize that we’re not alone in feeling this way, which can be a helpful balm.
- Learn To Love Yourself: There’s no better cure than learning how to love yourself. When you get to a point where you enjoy spending time alone, life becomes a lot more pleasant.
4. I’m Not Feminine Enough
These days, people are a lot more open and accepting. Nevertheless, we’re still fed certain tropes about how people should be and behave.
Often, women feel a lot of pressure to be delightfully feminine and petite in all ways: higher voice, smaller waist, and a sweet, submissive personality. These pressures can be amplified depending on where you live.
But not every female is feminine. Not every woman naturally fits the mold of what it means to be “ladylike,” and many females are walking around feeling insecure about it.
What can you do if you’re one of these people?
The best course of action is to learn to love yourself. Though it may not feel like it at this moment, you will find your crew, and they’ll love you for you.
There’s little point trying to act feminine if it’s not who you are. Faking it will come off as phony.
Just be yourself and know that people who insist you fit a mold are the ones with a problem.
5. I Look Old
Wrinkles! Sagging skin! Gray hair! These are the bane of millions of aging women everywhere — because youthful looks are touted as superior and preferable.
You’ve heard the tale a thousand times: a man leaves his wife of 20 years for someone who’s 20 years old.
So when women reach a certain age — which seems to be getting lower and lower with each passing decade — they tend to grow insecure about how they look.
Some women choose to embrace their age and value the wisdom they’ve gained over the tight skin they’ve lost. Other women decide to go the cosmetic surgery route.
Which is better? Neither. The choice is yours. Do what makes you feel best about yourself, and don’t pay attention to anyone who tries to shame you either way.
6. I’m Not Smart Enough
Women’s relationship with intelligence has changed drastically over the past two centuries. While there were always exceptions to the rule, 200 years ago, most women were taught that being “dim” was preferable to being smart. Heck, that mentality arguably stuck around through the 1950s.
But these days, intelligence is en vogue. Not only do women feel pressure to be beautiful and thin, but they also need to be brilliant. It’s a lot to shoulder.
What’s the trick to overcoming intelligence insecurity? Remember that everyone, including you, is good at something. So focus on that.
Moreover, cozy up to the fact that some folks will always be smarter than you.
Humility goes a long way in mastering this life skill. Have you ever noticed that the most intelligent people can easily admit when they don’t know something? Follow their lead. Be confident about what you know and curious about what you don’t. You’ll be a better-rounded person for it.
7. I’m Not Sophisticated Enough
Right or wrong, class and wealth go hand-in-hand. In certain circles, it’s not enough to be financially successful; you also need to “fit in” with the clique.
Women who’ve achieved a certain level of success but have a humble background often stress about being accepted. Am I sophisticated enough? Am I wearing the right labels? Are people making fun of me behind my back?
Like so many other insecurities, the best way to overcome this hurdle is by being true to yourself and not letting other people’s opinions captain your ship.
8. I Don’t Have the Right Wardrobe
“You are what you wear.” It’s a common cliche — and to some degree, it’s right. We tend to have more confidence when we dress the part.
However, some folks take it too far and rank people by the brands they wear. As a result, many women have developed deep insecurities about their fashion and wardrobe — or lack thereof.
The easy way to get over this is by realizing that most people are faking the funk. There’s a reason why the luxury counterfeit market is so profitable!
Besides, style is subjective. Be you, and never mind the rest.
9. I Don’t Have Enough Money
Money is one of the western world’s biggest paradoxes. In some ways, we’re taught that it doesn’t matter; teachers and parents tell us we’re supposed to judge people on their kindness and character, not their wealth.
But the truth of the matter is different, isn’t it? Money matters, and according to our cultural mores, having it is better than not.
For people who may not be rolling in dough — which is the majority of folks — money insecurity can be a significant life stressor on practical and superficial levels.
If anyone had the solution to this problem, the world would be a very different place. In the meantime, work hard, try to budget wisely, don’t bother keeping up with the proverbial Joneses, and become the type of person who values kindness over materialism.
10. I’m Afraid To Be Lonely
Many women are terrified of feeling lonely, so they’ll hang onto toxic relationships — both romances and friendships.
The best way to get over this is by learning how great it can be to spend time with you and just you. Try out different hobbies and discover what you enjoy.
Read books you like instead of ones that critics shove down your throat. Spend a day in your PJs at home; slather your face with a homemade mask, and eat junk food!
Do these things a few times, and you’re guaranteed to discover the joy of being alone.
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11. I’m Afraid To Be Homeless
Do you ever worry about being homeless? Well, you’re not the only one. More than seven in 10 Americans fret about being stranded without anything one day.
This type of ruminating thought can be hell for your mental health. While it happens, the truth is that few people become homeless. So try to keep things in a realistic perspective. Also, don’t live beyond your means.
12. I’m Not Naturally Nurturing/I’m Not a Good Mother
It may be the 21st century, but women are still seen as the more nurturing sex. However, not all women have tender mothering instincts, and many develop insecurities about it.
If this describes you, try not to sweat the judgments. It’s becoming increasingly common for women to be child-free. You’ll find your tribe eventually.
For moms, a common insecurity is that their parenting skills are lacking. You want to be the perfect mother, but it’s more challenging than you thought.
Fortunately, there are no perfect mothers or fathers. Everyone makes parenting mistakes along the way, so forgive yourself, apologize when you need to, and just keep loving your kids.
13. I’m Going To Lose My Partner
It’s common to worry about getting dumped — especially if you’re more invested in the relationship than your partner. Love can hurt!
Unfortunately, this is one of those things that every human usually experiences at least once in their life. It feels terrible, but you’ll learn several valuable life lessons by going through it.
If your relationship is good right now, don’t let worry about a break-up cause issues between you. Should the relationship end, take those lessons you learned and apply them to the next romance – because there will be one.
14. I Don’t Have the Perfect Life
Being self-conscious about not having “the perfect life” is another corrosive side effect of living in the social media age.
We’re bombarded with images of other people’s best moments, so we tend to think that everyone else’s life is a lot more glamorous, exciting, and put-together than our own.
Remind yourself that there’s not a single person on this planet whose life is perfect. Even celebrities and the uber-wealthy have lives fraught with challenges and disappointments.
Try to focus on celebrating each moment rather than trying to craft the perfect life.
Common Male Insecurities
What are some common male insecurities? Let’s dive in to see what the guys feel anxious about.
1. I’m Not Smart Enough
Like women, men have hang-ups about their intelligence. Some associate it with their earning potential, while others are obsessed with IQs.
But believe it or not, it’s not always best to be the smartest guy in the room. People who work the hardest and get along with the most people are usually the most successful.
2. I Don’t Make Enough Money
Men have long been cast in the role of “provider,” and many become insecure about their inability to make as much as they want. But the truth is that most people aren’t doing as well as they purport.
Learn to live within your means and enjoy the simple things in life. Before long, it becomes evident that it’s not about what you have but who you are and with whom you spend your time.
Surround yourself with people who share this view and aren’t constantly striving to increase their wealth.
3. I Don’t Have Enough Power
Many men have serious insecurities about not being powerful enough physically and professionally.
If you’re still young, understand that you must start somewhere at work — and for most people, that’s usually near the bottom.
Also, if your life is filled with people and hobbies you enjoy, there’s a good chance you won’t be fretting about “being the top dog.”
Feeling confident about yourself and comfortable in your own skin can help you overcome any feelings of unworthiness.
4. I Don’t Have Enough Status
Status is another big concern for many men. They feel like they don’t hang with the right crowd, drive the right car, or live in the right neighborhood. It’s all attached to the “myth of success.”
People who learn to like themselves for who they are instead of trying to be something they’re not usually overcome this insecurity.
Seek out people that like you for you; it makes life much more enjoyable and manageable.
5. I’m Too Scrawny
Body insecurities are common across all genders! Many women think they’re too big, and a lot of guys are insecure about being too small.
If you fall into this category, you have three options: 1) commit to bulking up by any means necessary; 2) eat healthy, exercise, lift weights, and be happy with however your body turns out; or 3) do nothing.
The middle way is usually the best option.
6. I Don’t Have Enough Experience With Women
Are you not the smoothest at flirting? You’re not alone. It’s a common insecurity among men.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Just be funny, authentic, and considerate. You can’t go wrong.
Try hard not to allow your insecurities about women to prevent you from asking them out. Push past your comfort zone and take a chance.
7. I Don’t Live Up to My Father’s Ideals
A lot of guys have “father issues.” Usually, it involves feeling like they haven’t lived up to their father’s expectations and don’t have his respect.
If your father is a kind and open man, a conversation can usually fix this insecurity. For those with more difficult dads, it can be a painful hurdle.
If you fall into the latter group, remember that your life is yours to live — not your father’s. Heck, he’s probably not perfect either.
8. I’m Not Athletic Enough
Guys are under a lot of pressure to be athletic. It can mushroom into a major area of self-doubt for those who are not.
Try to focus on things you’re good at instead of stressing about things that aren’t your forte. Instead of being one of the great basketball players in school, maybe you’re one of the best debaters, musicians, or programmers.
9. I’m Not Good-Looking Enough
Guys usually aren’t as concerned with “beauty” as women, but you’d be surprised at how many men are scouring the Internet for tips on how to be better looking. It’s a universal insecurity.
The cure is learning that looks aren’t the end-all, be-all in life. If you have a great personality, you’ll go far.
Of course, take care of yourself, practice good hygiene and grooming, and wear clothes that compliment you. You’ll feel better about your appearance when you do.
10. I Don’t Have the Latest Gadgets
Gadgets are a status symbol in this digital age, and some folks are embarrassed when they don’t have the latest and greatest models.
Try to remember that companies don’t change all that much between versions, and you’re probably not missing out on much. Be frugal now; don’t waste money on a new phone every year. In ten years, you’ll be thrilled you saved!
11. I’m Not Cool Enough
So few people are genuinely “cool.” The vast majority of us are awkward individuals. So, if you don’t think you’re popular enough, remember that you’re in the majority.
Put things in perspective – who defines “cool?” What’s cool to one person may not be to another.
Authenticity is always in style.
12. I’m Not Good at Fixing Things
Depending on where you live, fixing things — or “being handy” — may be a big deal.
Can’t change a tire? They have people for that. Never built a deck or fixed the dishwasher? So what?
Maybe it’s more about a lack of interest than ability. You don’t have to love Mr. Fixit projects to be a man.
If you’re not that great at tinkering or don’t like it, you may feel bad about it. But again, everyone has special skills. Focus on those.
13. I’m Not Sexually Skilled
It’s OK to be insecure about sex. Maybe you don’t think you’re good at it. Perhaps you’re upset about your natural endowments.
Don’t be ashamed to consult your doctor if it’s a physical problem. There are lots of medicines available. As for technique, do some reading or watch a few videos. After all, knowledge is power.
And for most women, size isn’t a big deal.
It’s perfectly fine to be insecure about things. Everyone goes through it at specific points throughout their lives.
The first step is acknowledging them. Once you do that, insecurities are much more manageable.