In theory and in practice, no one is perfect. We all have imperfections, weaknesses and “blind spots” in our repertoire of virtues, and that is no problem. What is a problem, however, is what happens when our perception of these defects generates insecurities that keep us afraid and unwilling to leave a very restricted comfort zone.

Unfortunately, this insecurity with different facets is something that we unconsciously internalize if we get used to participating in certain ways of interacting with others and with the environment around us.

These cracks in our self-esteem don’t just appear , but depend on the experiences we go through and that we generate. Not everything is lost: as insecurities are learned, we can also unlearn them until they become insignificant and small enough not to affect us too much. They will never go away completely, as our emotional memory can hardly be reset, but in the end mental health has to do with how functional we are, not whether we are perfect.

Habits that intensify our insecurities

The following are some of the most frequent habits that fuel our insecurities and make them perpetuate over time.

1. Maintaining relationships of dependency

This type of human relationship is often significantly harmful during the time it takes place, and is not limited to the realm of the couple and romantic love.

Normally, these links have a person who, among his strategies to keep the other in a state of dependence , uses different formulas to feed the insecurities of the latter. For example, ridiculing their achievements, making fun of their proposals, etc.

2. Exposure to highly stressful contexts

Frequently experiencing anxiety has a variety of negative repercussions on our physical and mental health. Among these unintended consequences is the fact that we regularly see how our efforts and our ability to concentrate on tasks are not sufficient for us to achieve the desired goals, so that we often fail and make foolish mistakes.

Of course, some of these insecurities are based on the objective fact that we show poorer performance on many tasks , but that is not a consequence of who we are, but of the circumstances we are going through. Therefore, by not subjecting ourselves to that amount of stress, it is easier for our perception of ourselves to adjust more to reality and not lead us to pessimism.

3. Comparing with idealized people

This is one of the habits most related to insecurity. Since we live in the information society, it is increasingly common to compare ourselves with people who basically do not exist, since they are either very “filtered” representations of real users of a social network that show only the good and do not show what they perceive as their own defects, or they are representations of fictitious people created from the work of marketing departments working from real material provided by celebrities (singers, models, etc.).

Therefore, it is very necessary to be aware of the existence of these filters in order to avoid that our self-esteem and self-concept do not depend on comparisons with these mirages .

4. Avoiding problems

There are those who, at the slightest sign that a stressful event may occur, do their best to avoid exposure to it, even if facing such a situation is clearly positive or necessary given the circumstances, even if it is to tempt fate and give us a chance to improve our situation. In these cases, those who have already become accustomed to this dynamic that generates insecurities, rationalize their fear of going outside the comfort zone in order to justify their passivity : “I don’t need to make that call, I already know that he’s going to reject me anyway”, for example.

Assuming this behaviour as normal only promotes the tendency to keep a low profile, unaware of any kind of ambition, and very exposed to fears based on the fear of not being good enough to achieve what we would like to achieve.

5. Basing self-esteem on criticism

Some people only find a way to assert themselves** by criticizing others or making fun of them**. This not only harms others; it also makes self-esteem dependent on these constant attacks. On the other hand, if the direction of such criticism is ever reversed, one is much more vulnerable, because that self-image based on moral superiority fades away.

Building Healthy Self-Esteem

As we have seen, self-esteem and our way of valuing ourselves depends mainly on how we interact with our environment . Being clear about this is fundamental in order not to assume that insecurities are born from oneself in an isolated way, as if they were part of its essence.