Six months ago, I was an insecure wreck.
If you were to look at me from the outside, you would have thought I was pretty successful for my age. I had straight A’s, offers to some of the best universities in the UK, a career that was earning me more at 23 than people will ever reach in their life, six-pack abs, and a hot girlfriend.
What more could a person ask for? Surely I must have been happy right?
Well, surprisingly no – and the reason why is pretty simply really.
Happiness is not a result of how others perceive you. It is a result of how you perceive yourself.
On the outside, I was successful but internally, I was a mess. I was insecure, constantly seeking approval, and never thought I was good enough.
I only truly realised how messed up I was during my breakup. I remember saying one thing which really made me realise that something had to change. I said, “I’m scared.”
I WAS scared.
What if I had to make new friends and no-one liked me? What if I was never going to be in a relationship again? What if I was going to be alone for the rest of my life?
These thoughts, as well as many others, haunted me. I knew something had to change.
Over the next months I did some serious self-development to conquer these fears and insecurities which I felt was inhibiting me from being happy. It was the best thing I have ever done.
Today I want to share with you the three action steps which helped transform my life, and hopefully can help you out too!
1. Be completely honest and open with yourself
The worst thing you can do is hide yourself from you. Pushing all your self-limiting thoughts into a deep dark corner of your brain and locking them up is not going to get rid of them. They will still be there subconsciously affecting almost everything you do.
What I want you to do is to tell yourself aloud everything you are scared of. Then, have a deep conversation with yourself as to why.
For example, I used to always say no whenever my friends asked me to go out. When I started to question myself as to why, I realised that it was not due to the fact that I did not really like to drink at the time. It was more out of fear of not fitting it and not being accepted for who I was.
What if I went and no-one talked me and just thought I was weird? That was the true fear which I was trying to hide from myself.
Recognizing and accepting your insecurities is your first step to surpassing them. Now that you are truly aware of what is holding you back, you can start to working with them to overcome them.
2. Do the things you love by yourself
Have you noticed that people very rarely go out to a restaurant or watch a movie by themselves?
After going through Step 1, I realised that I tended not to go out and do things by myself even if they were things I really enjoyed. I was afraid of being judged. What if people thought of me as a loner who had no friends?
After I became aware of this, I worked with myself in overcoming this fear. I started going out by myself whether it was to go for walks, go to restaurants, or do other things in public.
I love playing piano and did not have one at home so I decided to find a public one in the centre of one of the busiest train stations in the UK and just play. Why should I not play piano just because people may look at me and/or judge me?
Going out and doing things by yourself helps you not only conquer the fear of being alone and the fear of being judged, but it also helps you be autonomous. It helps you to become independent and free.
The analogy I love to use is this. Your emotional state is a cup of water. For a lot of people, their cup is half empty, and the people who they emotionally depend on fill the cup.
In the past, these people consisted of my two bestfriends and my then-girlfriend. I depended on them a lot and spoke to them almost daily.
However, I realized that your cup should already be full from the get go. You should be emotionally complete regardless, and then your friends, family and loved ones overflow the cup. Having your cup already full alleviates the need to rely on other people to be emotionally happy.
Remember me saying I was scared? Well this was due to a fear of being alone and being chucked out of my little comfort bubble which had been built up over the years.
Being emotionally independent is so important for long-term happiness. Unfortunately, people are going to come and go out of your life for all sorts of reasons. Why would you let your emotional state be controlled by things you cannot control?
Going out and tackling the world by yourself will help you transition from the feeling of needing people in your life to simply wanting them in your life. This is such a subtle yet powerful change in mind-set which will help you free yourself from the feeling of attachment to others.
It’s amazing how you can truly have everything in the world and be sad, and yet someone with next to nothing can be happy. Happiness is very much dependent on how much you appreciate the things you do have rather than the quantity of what you actually have.
For example, I was feeling a bit down as a lot of things have not been going my way.
I was at work on a Friday night working my socks off for tight deadlines whilst all my friends were out relaxing or having fun. I also had to study for another 3 hours afterwards for exams I have in the coming weeks. I have not been seeing as much growth as I would have liked on my sites and I was annoyed with myself at how I had let my body go quite a bit because of work, which made me even more annoyed.
If I wanted to, I could have let this spiral downwards. I could have resented my weekend as I had to study more, and I could have used every negative event which could have occurred to fuel my sadness.
Instead of doing all of that, I took a moment to walk up to the rooftop of my office building, and I just appreciated.
I took a moment to think about all the wonderful and glorious things in my life.
Although I’m working late on Friday and have to study, I have been blessed with this opportunity which so few people would ever have. And although my website has not grown to where I have wanted it to be, I have been blessed with the drive to pursue my objectives. I am also incredibly lucky to be completely healthy – people are struggling to survive as we speak.
The 10 minutes I spent staring at the London skyline gave me a sense of internal satisfaction. I felt grateful and happy for everything I have in life which has allowed me to be the person I am today.
I also took a moment to just appreciate the skyline. It is absolutely stunning and fascinating how we as a human race went from kindling fire to living in skyscrapers!
Simply appreciating external or internal things goes a long way in making you feel happier and more content with the world.
Happiness stems from the ability to love. Overcoming our deepest fears and insecurities helps us love ourselves, and the ability to appreciate and be grateful for everything you have and experience in this world helps you love life!
Whether you are feeling like you need some help in your life, or whether you feel over the moon, I do suggest you give these 3 steps a go. It worked wonders for me and I hope it can do the same for you too.
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Author: Michael Kofi Tawiah
Michael Tawiah's life ambition is to help you become a better version of yourself. He is a Trusted Author on the #1 Self-Growth website, and has written over 90 articles overcoming fears, insecurities, and living life to the fullest at his blog www.invinciblementality.com. Ask him anything at email@example.com!