Conquering anxiety and insecurity: A practical guide to inner peace

Join me in this article to discover together what happens when you suffer from anxiety and insecurity, why does it follow you, even if you tried one solution after another and how to conquer it, for feeling peace and safety in your own life.

Through the millions of thoughts that wave the mind, many of them can turn out to be anxious or related to low self-esteem. If this is a pattern you are facing, I hear and feel you. This article is for those who have tried, stumbled, and are now seeking a realistic road map forward. This is not another promise of a quick fix or a magical solution. Instead, this is a realistic exploration to help you regain control and find steadiness in the chaos.

anxiety and insecurity

The journey to conquer anxiety is a tough one.

As a young psychologist, I used to struggle with anxiety every day, from worrying about failing at my career, to spending hours doing extra tasks at work, because saying no could mean I will upset others, to worry about every single mistake I’ve done during the day. But I decided I deserve better.

It takes a conscious effort and a lot of accountability for your own mental health to conquer anxiety and insecurity. Start by embracing today this commitment towards yourself!

Recognize if you have anxiety and low self-esteem

Many women I work with struggled with anxiety and insecurity for a long time, getting small victories and coping at times, just so it could come back stronger.

They describe it as an invisible companion, responsible for their difficulties breathing, tensed muscles, stomach crams or butterflies, pressure in the chest, palpitations, sweating and dry mouth and constant sleep problems, leaving them exhausted.

Some women deal with a strong “character” that always asks the annoying question: “But what if?”, making them worry daily.

Some are relentless over-thinkers that can create more and more negative and worse case scenarios, no matter how many times they were proven not to happen.

Some have great fear being exposed to people, expressing their voice and opinions, saying no, because they live in a constant vigilance state for rejection, judgment, criticism.

Insecurity comes as the voice ready to compare you with others, to remind you that you are not good enough, or not doing enough. It can show up related to what you say, your capabilities, knowledge, your success, your worthiness, finances, status, education.

Insecurity is maintained by a pattern of self-criticism: how your skills, salary, shape, status, education, progress, relationships are not good enough.

Why do you still have anxiety and insecurity?

Understand the root cause of anxiety and insecurity

For example, let’s say you’ve been struggling for a while. You are facing some serious symptoms and discomfort. You’ve tried everything and you still have it. Why does it not go away??

You’ve probably tried already affirmations, books, self care tips, breathing exercises, planning lists, praying, journaling, yoga, even medication, and they didn’t work. Why?

The idea is, you haven’t treated the root cause of anxiety yet.

And that is:

  • Past traumas
    • As a child, most probably, you faced some form of emotional trauma. You were criticized, rejected or told you’re not good enough. If you were verbally, emotionally, physically abused in any degree, either by family, peers, neighbours, teachers, you experienced emotional suffering. If you had an illness, were bullied, you were different from your mates, (like wearing glasses or being too short, skinny or overweight, a specific race or religion), most probable you were treated without the level of support, love, care and appreciation you needed.
    • Therefore, because if was very difficult for you at that time, later in life, only the idea of reliving these painful moments, it’s triggering your anxiety; it’s making you want to avoid any situation that would make you feel vulnerable, exposed. Anxiety signals the possibility to feel bad again, like you felt then, and that is not something you want to face. If you don’t heal those trauma wounds, anxiety will keep following you as a form of protection to not get hurt again.
    • Exercise: Can you recall a moment in school that hurt you enough to trigger anxiety/insecurity today? Share it with a trusted person, (if you have one) and ask for their supportive opinion.
  • Your belief system
    • Growing up, you managed childhood as well as you could, but you depended on others and how they treated you. When your body, needs and responsibilities changed, the pressure of the group and social acceptance became stronger. With passing years, (absolutely normal for all of us), you got rejected, left behind, heartbroken or betrayed by others. You tried to succeed at more difficult things, school, job, relationships, but sometimes you got setbacks (also perfectly normal).
    • But you were vulnerable at this age and in a time when you created beliefs about yourself, others and the world. And if in these young years, because of the traumas and setbacks, you ended up adopting the beliefs that you are less than others, that you are not good enough, or incapable, inferior, unsafe, weak, a failure, unworthy, you now carry them into your adulthood, keeping you stuck into a loop of anxiety and insecurity.
  • Lifestyle
    • If you offer enough love and care to your mind and body, you help your emotional well-being trough a healthy lifestyle. Are you lacking a healthy diet, enough hydration, rest, exercise, sleep, time outdoors, positive thoughts, laughter, relaxation, joy, pleasure, creativity, self-expression, connection?
    • Not cultivating a healthy lifestyle creates a chemical imbalance in your body, which is a well researched cause for anxiety. Healthy lifestyle is not a luxury, is an essential part of anxiety treatment.
    • If you recognize yourself so far, you are not alone! We all faced trauma and we all created self-sabotaging beliefs on the way. And you are not doomed to keep them forever. Knowing the root causes of anxiety now, you can take responsibility to regain control over your mental health.

Understand your anxiety and insecurity better

Why do I feel good for a while, just so I become anxious again?

  • Recent negative events
    • Do you recall in the last months experiences like:
      • an accident (happened to you or someone you love), an illness, passing out in public, a job loss, conflict, robbery, abuse, family changes, losing a partner, someone’s death, financial instability?
    • You may have developed the idea: Things are not stable/safe, as a result my survival/well-being is fragile, as a result I am not in control, as a result, I feel afraid.
    • Make sure to remind yourself that no matter how difficult, you can still overcome your obstacles.
  • Emotional triggers
    • Is anything triggering your past traumas?
      • Is there in your life an event, a situation, a relationship, a location, a person that makes you feel like you felt before, not good enough, or incapable, inferior, unsafe, weak, a failure, unworthy?
    • Make sure to identify it and repeat to yourself that you are safe now.
  • Fear of loss
    • Are you afraid you are losing something?
      • Is there a time of change in your life, and you fear losing a person, relationship, connection, love, material thing, opportunity, financial stability, freedom, safety, comfort, pleasure?
    • Offer yourself reassurance that you can manage and survive this possible loss.
  • Procrastination
    • If you have a goal and a deadline, but you are avoiding taking action, your brain is signaling through anxiety the possible dangers of not accomplishing yours tasks.

Understand that you are paying with your emotional well-being for the hours you think you win by postponing. You are one step away from relief, if you invest even 10 minutes in a small task today.

Why is your anxiety not going away?

“I tried everything, books, journalig, praying, doing affirmations…and nothing takes away my anxiety

Because you have not discovered the right perspective over anxiety treatment. Hear this:

Anxiety is not something foreign to you, an external element that can randomly affect you…like, for example, an infection. Because for infections, you are given an exact medication, you take it for an exact number of days and you know the symptoms will disappear, because the bacteria is taken out of your body and you are cured.

Are you seeing anxiety as this infectious enemy that needs to be cured and removed?

Anxiety is not an infection.

You cannot treat anxiety as something that does not belong to you, as something that is not natural, and actually necessary for your survival. If you treat it as an enemy that must be destroyed however, you will not be able to cope with it.

Anxiety is an emotion.

It is normal to feel it. Anxiety shows up as an alarm system, so you can survive.

Ocasional anxiety is perfectly normal. It signals a possible danger. If it becomes too intense, without a time limit, it hurts your mental health. You don’t want to delete it from our system forever, because it has a role in your life. Instead, it’s better to befriend it and cope with it.

Example: If you walk on a path and see a cliff, what’s better? To not feel any anxiety and move forward without looking at what’s below?

Or should you become alert and stop before the cliff?

To become alert, right? That is how anxiety actually helps you survive.

But the idea is to not remain in that state of alertness. Better understand what the danger is, how to feel safe again, and find solutions, step by step.

Repeat constantly to yourself that you can overcome any obstacle (the danger of rejection, judgment, abandonment, financial instability, failure, mistakes, confrontation) with time and patience.

anxiety and insecurity

Why does anxiety it feel so strong?

  • 1. Are you feeling powerless in front of problems?
    • Question: If you give bad news to a room full of people, for example, if you, and everyone at your work hears they might lose their job, will you all feel the same intense anxiety?
    • No? What makes the difference?
    • Answer: your thoughts about the situation and how much power you perceive you have over the situation. If you feel powerless, incapable to manage or survive it, your anxiety will skyrocket.
    • Remember: in front of any obstacle, even if you are alone, fired, excluded, criticized, you always have a power to find solutions, communicate, ask for help, sort it out!
    • That power it’s still in you and it’s a matter of seeing it, believing in it, feeling it again, so you can regain control over your emotional well-being.
  • 2. Do you consider your problems more important than your well-being?
    • If your anxiety is too high, it signals that you are not connected with the present moment, with the fact that you are alive and that your top priority is remaining alive, healthy and mentally well.

No problem should be stronger than your mental health. Focus on making life better, not on counting your problems.

How can I treat my anxiety and insecurity?

7 steps

What if I tell you that instead of trying to get rid of anxiety and insecurity, if you practice: offering compassion and care for yourself, you will naturally transition to a different state of feeling?
Embrace these perspectives and tools:

  • 1. Start recognizing your personal worth:
    • You are a good enough person
    • You are doing the best you can
    • You are valuable enough
    • You are capable enough
    • Create a set of ten affirmations about why you are worthy, good and capable enough as a person.
  • 2. Adopt the perspective of taking everything step by step.
    • You have good intentions, and you are progressing slowly but surely!
    • Be wise, accept that mental pressure is hurting you and choose to focus on one day at a time progress.
    • If being too self-critical is keeping you anxious, why not create a relationship of acceptance towards yourself? Why not create this healthy attitude where it’s allowed for you to make mistakes and learn from them? And grow, even at a slow pace? If you wouldn’t be growing constantly, you wouldn’t be having all your successes today.
    • Create a list of all small to big successes you accomplished from childhood until today.
  • 3. Adopt self-compassion in your life.
    • If your best friend would be struggling with anxiety and they would not be sleeping well, not enjoying life, having back and stomach pain and they were suffering… Would you have the heart to tell them it’s their fault, that they are making mistakes and they are a failure? And that all is because they’re not worthy or good enough as a person? Sounds terrible, right?
    • Then, my dear reader, how come would you consider appropriate to talk like that to yourself?
    • If you wouldn’t talk like that to your best friend, child, partner, why would you allow such thing to yourself, even for one second?
    • Humans thrive with support, kind words, patience, understanding and encouragement, and so do you!
    • Write a letter pretending you were your best friend. What would you say to offer support for the anxiety and insecurity? Be generous with the kind words. Read the letter after and embrace the support.
  • 4. Embrace a growth mindset
    • A growth mindset promotes changing your life if you don’t like it, becoming a better person, improving your relationships, being flexible and curious. Instead of punishing yourself, and being stuck, focus on repairing your mistakes, learning and growing from them.
    • Write down and read daily these healthy beliefs examples:
    • Feeling not worthy, not good enough?
      • Every single person in the world is born equally. The simple fact that you are alive, able to laugh, smile, help others, grow, learn, understand new ideas, to be curious, polite, to recover from a broken heart, to face loss, fix your mistakes, heal after illness, they all make you valuable and good enough as a human.
    • Feeling like a failure?
      • As long as you are on this planet, you are always able to understand what caused you to not succeed this time and to improve, give yourself another chance, repair your mistakes, start over and not stop until you feel content with yourself. Everyone deserves a second change, including you!
    • Fearing judgment or rejection?
      • You are not able to love, like and want every single person on Earth, therefore not everyone will be able to love, like or want you. The personal preference of others depends on their childhood, values, past experiences, needs. Therefore, if they reject or judge you, that mirrors their own mind and internal world, it doesn’t change who you are or your value. Being yourself is a right you were born with.
    • Fearing making mistakes?
      • Absolutely every single person in the world has made a mistake at some point and most probably will make more during their life. From the first wrong step you took when you learned how to walk, to the wrong things you did in your life, there is also a right step or right thing you did, otherwise you would not have survived. Focus on the good things you do and embrace mistake as essential to growth.
  • 5. Practice mindfulness and meditation
    • With intention, be more present in your day, life, body.
    • Try this: Focus your attention on your experience, here and now. Start by hearing with any sounds in your environment. Just listen. How does the air your breathe feel through your nostrils? How does the temperature feel on your skin? Any smells? How does it feel to touch the place you are sitting on? Any sensations in your body? Any pain? Any area where you feel your emotions more?
    • Allow the thoughts to come and go, they are just thoughts. Just observe.
    • Also, practice meditations for self-worth and self-compassion, self-love and self-acceptance, safety.
  • 6. Surround yourself with positivity
    • Your environment has a strong impact on your well-being.
    • If people around you are negative and critical, create some distance, physically or mentally, no guilt needed.
    • Choose positive people, places with sun and fresh air, eat colourful, nutritious food, drink an extra glass of water per day, move your body, be grateful for your health, replace the news with funny movies, create a list of your qualities and read it daily, give people genuine compliments and accept compliments in return, set a small goal, feel proud even for small accomplishments.
  • 7. Ask for professional help
    • The therapeutical interventions on anxiety, low self-esteem and trauma have improved tremendously, with validated strategies. Use proper anxiety treatment and trauma recovery for healing. Be focused on living a healthy, long, enjoyable life in all aspects and anxiety will soon diminish in front of gratitude and inner peace.

If you want to heal your past traumas, conquer anxiety and insecurity, please contact me for a free consultation.

Teodora Goloiu,
Clinical psychologist, cognitive behavioral therapist and trauma specialist with 12 years of experience

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