Insecurity is not a disease, but it can certainly feel as crippling and debilitating as one.

When you want to speak up but your mouth goes dry and you remain silent…
When you feel the urge to step forward but your feet feel lodged in cement…
When you feel low, dull, lacking and even worse…

You’re possibly being held down by your insecurities.

Insecurities aren’t just something that awkward and pimple-faced teenagers grapple with. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, you might feel insecure.

Your insecurities may be about your appearance, your perception of how “good” or “bad” you are, how skilled, talented, witty, charming, creative or anythings else or NOT you believe that you are.

Especially if you have low self esteem, you may be living with your insecurities on an almost constant basis. It could seem to you that your limitations and deficiencies are all that you are about.

It could be that you’ve always considered yourself to be a confident and sure of yourself kind of person, except when it comes to _________. While we all have strengths and weaknesses, maybe your perceived weaknesses take more of your attention than you’d like them to.

It comes down to this…

It’s nearly impossible and certainly a lot more work to succeed and create the kind of life that you desire when you feel insecure.

There’s a huge difference between acknowledging where you’d like to improve and what new skills or habits you’d like to learn and feeling a core deficiency about yourself as a person because you are where you are at the moment.

This is the debilitating aspect of insecurity.

A sense of doubt can pervade your whole being. It can be difficult and emotionally painful to get through life– and you probably know that you could be living so much more.

The “cure” for insecurity starts with you. As much as your loved ones want to help you feel better about yourself and as well- intentioned as their advice is, YOU are the only one who can truly turn your beliefs about yourself around.

Here are 3 strategies you can use to overcome insecurity and raise your self esteem:

1: Deliberately change your focus.

You’re probably well-practiced at being insecure.

If you’re like most people, you’ve been feeling somehow lacking for quite some time. You’ve possibly felt insecure for as long as you can remember.

This is why being deliberate is so important.

You’re going to need to stay aware of what you are focusing on and the thoughts you are having about yourself or others as much as possible.

In many cases, insecurity goes hand-in-hand with comparing one’s self to others. When you see a thinner, fitter, more muscled, wealthier, happier (or whatever) person, do you tend to declare yourself vastly inferior?

Get into the habit of catching yourself when you play this painful comparing game. Recognize what you’re doing and shift your focus.

It’s probably not going to feel authentic for you to attempt to move from a thought like: “We’re the same age and her body is much more fit and thin than mine is” to something like “I’m so fit and thin” if that’s not what you believe.

However, you might hear yourself thinking that thought and then deliberately change your focus to something else– the cup of coffee you’re drinking, the music you were listening to, your feet walking down the street or the conversation you were having with a friend.

This in-the-moment technique can help you interrupt a pattern of regularly deeming yourself to be less than others. It is an essential starting place.

This shift in focus can help you create room for and be more present to what’s going on within you– including the great stuff that’s already there and what’s in development too.

When struggling, look for proof.

I know, sometimes it’s just not that easy to do.

Distraction does not cure insecurity. If you’re attempting to tune out your self-hating thoughts by focusing on your coffee, it might not work all that well.

As I said, interrupting the pattern is a starting place.

You’re going to need to engage with yourself about the insecure belief that you have. When you’re struggling to shift your focus and loosen the grip that your self-deficient thoughts have, try this:

Look for proof of your deficiency.

Please use this exercise with care. Use it as a way to intentionally challenge your insecure beliefs about yourself and NOT to further confirm them.

For example, if you are sure that you are the least talented member of your department at work, look for proof. Ask yourself where the tangible, indisputable and 100% of the time accurate proof is that you are the “least talented member of your department.”

While you might quickly be able to come up with instances that show that you didn’t perform as effectively or with the same quality as some of your co-workers, I’m betting that it will be nearly impossible for you to find tangible, measurable proof for you being the “least talented member of your department” ALL of the time…or in ALL ways any of the time.

The power behind this exercise is for you to demonstrate to yourself that the beliefs upon which you are basing your insecurities are not as certain or fixed as you may have previously believed.

It can provide space and flexibility for a different attitude about yourself to begin to grow.

3: Be inner appreciative.

What we’re working up to here is you being more appreciative of who you are. As you begin to habitually interrupt your insecure thinking pattern and you challenge these limiting beliefs about yourself, you can open up to being more inner appreciative.

When you are inner appreciative, it doesn’t matter how fit, muscled, wealthy, talented or successful anyone else is. There’s no competition and no comparing.

As insecurity subsides, what you can start to see is that you are valuable for who you are. There’s nothing to prove and nobody to impress. You are a worthy human being with unlimited potential to do whatever and be whatever you desire.