How To Stop Being Insecure: 9 Practical Ways To Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin

If you want to know how to stop being insecure, I have good news and bad news.

The bad news: You can’t. Humans are insecure, and pretty much everyone deals with this issue at various points in their lives. 

The good news: You can seriously reduce how often you feel insecure with some relatively easy practices. 

It will take time and patience, and your path to feeling more comfortable in your own skin will have setbacks. But with time and effort, you’ll be able to keep those insecure feelings at bay and start genuinely loving who you are.


Why do we feel insecure?

No one enjoys the feeling of insecurity, so why is it so common? 

At its root, insecurity is the unsettling feeling that we’re doing something wrong. It can take many forms; you might feel insecure about your appearance, your career, or your relationships. 

A big part of insecurity is tied to the fact that we humans are isolated creatures. Each of us lives in our own heads, and try as we might, we cannot ever fully understand someone else’s perspective.

So as we move through life, much of what we learn about how to behave and act we base on other people—first our family or guardians, then the social contacts we make as we age. 

In many instances, learning through observing others is a good tactic.

For example, if you’re trying to pick up skateboarding as a hobby, it would serve you well to spend time at a local skate park or on YouTube, watching people with more experience than you.

But comparing ourselves to others can easily cause us to feel insecure. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough, or as good as others. 

The interior voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough, or that you’re doing something wrong, is what I’ll call the inner critic in this article. All people have an inner critic, and once again, it can be a good thing in some instances. 

At its best, your inner critic can protect you from harm. The critic understands that familiar experiences are the safest, because if you know a situation, you can predict the outcome. 

For example, if you’re taking a hike along a cliff’s edge, your inner critic might pipe up and say, You’re not an experienced hiker and you don’ have good gear. Please be careful! That’s pretty useful guidance in the moment.

Unfortunately, inner critics don’t only speak up when there is genuine danger.  Whenever you want to try something new, your inner critic will try to talk you out of it. Insecurity is one of its best tactics, and it will try to stop you from taking risks by saying things like, 

“Everyone will stare at you…” 

“You’ll look like a fool…” 

“You’ll never be as good as….” 

This is why insecurity is more likely to show its face when you’re in the midst of a new experience, like going to a new school or starting a new job

Unfortunately, even if our inner critic is only trying to keep us safe, those negative thoughts can be painful and limiting. 

Insecurity can cause you to feel anxious, depressed, or unmotivated, and it can prevent you from going after your goals in life. 

So, it pays to reduce your insecurity as much as possible. In the rest of this article, I’ll give you tips on how to do just that.


1. Get a professional on your side

Dealing with insecurity is a lot easier if you have someone to talk to about it. Unfortunately, not everyone in your life will be equipped to help you overcome your insecurities—parents, friends, and partners all have their own insecurities they are dealing with, and may struggle to understand yours. 

Therapists and counselors, on the other hand, are trained to help people overcome insecurities. So if you want to accelerate your ability to feel more secure, consider reaching out to a professional. Here are a few resources you can use: 

We also have several other valuable resources on similar topics that you may find useful: 


2. Start listening for your inner critic

Your inner critic has been a voice in your head since you were a child, and as a result, it can be very hard to separate it from the other thoughts you have every day. 

But learning how to identify when your inner critic is talking is the first essential step to overcoming your insecurity. 

Listen for negative thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. These might be about your appearance, your abilities, or your relationships. 

When you catch yourself having a negative thought, ask yourself: Who told me that?

This will help you identify the source of the thought and determine whether your inner critic is at play. 

For example, let’s say you’re getting dressed for work, and you have this thought: I always wear the ugliest sweaters. 

You recognize the negative thought, pause, and ask: “Who told me that?” 

As you reflect on the question, you realize that no one at work—or anywhere else—has ever made a negative comment about your sweaters. That’s a very good indication that your inner critic is responsible for this thought. 

You might also trace a negative thought back to someone else in your life. For example, when interrogating your sweater thought, you might recall that your mother was always critical of your clothing.

I’ll have more tips on how to deal with this below, but this still counts as a negative thought from your critic, because our inner critics love taking the negative input of others and internalizing it. 

The more you practice, the easier it will be to recognize the patterns of your insecurity. Once you do that, you can start finding ways to ease it.


3. Give your inner critic their own space and name

Giving your inner critic their own name and a safe space for them to make their voice heard can help you stop being so insecure. 

A light-hearted persona puts distance between the real you and your insecure inner voice, making it easy to counteract. 

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way among many other books, puts it this way: 

I still suffer the feeling that I am an imposter, not a real writer, whatever that means. I told [my students] about my inner critic, whom I call Nigel. Nigel is a British interior decorator and nothing that I write meets his lofty standards. I’ve been writing since I was eighteen and Nigel’s naysaying has accompanied me every step of the way.

In addition to naming your inner critic, I recommend giving them a space to get out all of their negative thoughts each day. 

For me, this means journaling every morning (something else I picked up from Julia Cameron). I write a few pages by hand every morning, and allow all of my negative thoughts and feelings to pour out of me onto the page. 

As a result, my inner critic (I call him Clarence) will feel as though he’s at least said some of his pieces for the day. Then I can close the book on his thoughts, and move on with my day without hearing from him so much.


4. Talk back to your inner critic

In that same passage above, Julia Cameron says she will frequently reply to her inner critic by saying, “Thanks for sharing, Nigel.” This simple sentence shows how you can acknowledge and dismiss your inner critic, rather than letting their thoughts get to you. 

You can go further than thanking your inner critic for sharing. For me, I often talk back to mine with counterarguments. 

If my inner critic tells me that a piece of creative writing I’m working on is garbage, I’ll counter his voice with a few positive thoughts of my own: 

Actually, I’m a very talented writer—so much so that it’s my career!


This is just a first draft, Clarence. Let’s hold our judgment until it’s finished.

It may seem silly to talk to someone who isn’t physically there, but trust me—gently countering your critic’s voice will help you take them less seriously. 

More recently, I’ve started to apply this “talk back” strategy whenever I feel insecure about my looks. I discovered that I was often looking at myself in the mirror and seeing only flaws—a clear sign that my critic was watching. 

So I made a new promise to myself. Every time I have a negative thought while looking at my reflection, I have to counter it with two compliments. I’ve gotten serious enough about it that I will often force myself to walk back to a mirror, stare into it, and compliment myself. And as a result, I’ve started to feel much more comfortable in my own skin.


5. Make a list of compliments and positive feedback

Maybe you’ve tried talking back to your inner critic, but you don’t know exactly what to say to counteract your negative thoughts. 

If that’s the case, try making an ongoing list of the compliments and kind pieces of feedback you’ve received from others, as well as things you love about yourself. 

You can do this discreetly. Jot down the kind words you hear in a notebook or on a private note on your phone. Then, when your inner critic is being particularly loud, pick up the list and read through it a few times. Every time you read it, add one or two compliments of your own to the list. 

This list of hard evidence of your worth can make your inner critic bite their tongue pretty quickly.


6. Reduce time with people who make insecurity worse

At the top of this article, I said that most of our insecurity comes from within. But not all of it. 

There are people out there who deal with their own insecurities by making others feel worse. 

Sometimes these people are obvious—a boss who frequently insults you or a bully at school, for example. 

Other times, they’re harder to spot—a best friend who gives backhanded compliments, or a parent who obscures their criticism with other forms of affection. 

Remember the practice of asking, “Who told you that?” when you have an insecure thought. If you find that certain people routinely show up as the ones who told you something negative about yourself, it’s a sign that you need to reduce your contact with them. 

Depending on who they are, this may be easier said than done. But we have a few articles that can help you identify and deal with toxic relationships: 


7. Try new things in a secure environment

As mentioned earlier in this article, your inner critic will try to talk you out of trying something new because they want to keep you safe. 

You can practice pushing back against that negativity by trying new things in safe environments. 

In fact, that’s what schooling is supposed to be about. In addition to teaching you basic life skills, your educational years are designed to give you ample opportunity to try new things in environments where you have mentors and safeguards to protect you. 

Unfortunately, our education systems are flawed, so it’s very easy to miss out on some of these opportunities if you have teachers, parents, or classmates who aren’t dedicated to helping you feel safe. 

You can take matters into your own hands by setting up a safe learning environment for yourself, where you can try new things without feeling as insecure. 

This might mean signing up for a course somewhere, teaming up with supportive friends to learn together, or finding a mentor. We have a few resources that can help: 


8. Take frequent media breaks

Have you ever noticed how insecurity seems to ebb and flow depending on how much time you spend on social media or watching TV? 

This is no mistake. Engaging with media can increase your insecurity on two different fronts. 

First, you will be more exposed to advertising, and many ads will directly target your insecurity because when you’re insecure, you’re more susceptible to their sales pitch. 

They will show you images of smiling, beautiful (often photoshopped) people, and imply that if you buy whatever product they’re selling, you too could be happy and beautiful.

They try to make this seem like a positive message, but ultimately, these ads are saying: “You’re not good enough right now, but you could be better if you spend money.” And that’s a message that is easy to internalize. 

Social media also fuels insecurity by making you compare yourself to other people. Most people curate their social media images, showing only the positive parts of their lives. This in turn can make you feel like your life, abilities, or experiences somehow aren’t good enough. 

Cutting down on your screen time can make a huge difference, but I recommend taking longer breaks. Start small—like making a rule not to look at your phone before 10 am—and extend these breaks until you can go a whole day (or longer) without media exposure.


9. Make a date with nature

I recently wrote an article about why it’s so important to get outside and experience nature. I listed a whole heap of benefits you can get from spending time in the great outdoors—but I didn’t mention how it can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin. 

Being outside naturally reduces anxiety, which in turn can help turn down the volume of your inner critic. It also gives you the space to breathe and reflect, which is key for improving your self-esteem. 

On top of that, nature offers lots of opportunities to enjoy some physical activity, whether that means taking a hike, playing sports, or gardening. Exercise can also combat insecurity by boosting our mood and further reducing anxiety. 



You may not be able to stop being insecure altogether, but trying out at least one or two of the practices on this list will certainly help. Above all else, be gentle and kind with yourself, and take the time you need to find your way to a more secure and comfortable life.