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Overcoming Your Insecurities

By Chloe Wise on May 11, 2020

Distressed woman at a computer

At some point during our lives, most of us will experience the feeling of insecurity. You might feel insecure about a friendship or relationship, the work you did on a project or the way you look. Regardless of what’s causing your insecurity, it can dramatically impact your self-esteem and confidence. Here’s my story, and how I overcame my insecurities.

My struggle with insecurity started as a teenager. I suffered with acne from the age of 14-18 and it knocked my confidence drastically. I was constantly aware of it, always worrying what others thought of it and me, did they think I was gross? Did they think I didn’t wash? Did they think I was ugly? The worrying was exhausting.

I started my first career-focused job at the age of 21 in Beauty PR. Starting a new chapter in London, which I was really excited about. Working in the beauty industry wasn’t ever a dream of mine. I’d never been the biggest make-up lover. I used makeup as a way to cover my breakouts and scarring and I had always associated it with this, rather than something fun or a form of art like it’s often seen now. Makeup to me was a means to an end. But working on exciting new launches, creating relationships with journalists and influencers and educating myself more on beauty, specifically skincare, really opened my eyes and gave me the confidence boost I had long needed.

The beauty industry has changed drastically in the last eight years. There’s now a much bigger focus on inclusivity and real women and re-touching is used less and less; for instance, Boots recently launched their first ever completely un-retouched magazine and Rimmel are no-longer re-touching skin in their campaigns. However, at the time I started in the industry it was very different. I had felt pressure to live up to the standard of flawless skin; admittedly, this pressure was partly self-inflicted due to my insecurities and self-image. After a few years, a long commute and a desire for more sleep, I slowly started to wear less makeup to cover my scars. This progressed to some days where I wouldn’t wear makeup at all. Eventually it got to the point where I completely stopped wearing makeup to work. It was somewhat of an epiphany to realise that not everyone focused on my scars when they looked at me like I did when I looked at myself in the mirror.

I put the energy I had previously wasted on feeling insecure into educating myself about skincare. This helped me in two ways; it gave me a distraction and it also helped me to understand my acne, its causes and how I could work on getting my skin into a place that made me feel more confident.
Looking back at this time, I can pin-point a number of things that helped me to overcome my insecurities that anyone could apply to their own with the aim of overcoming them. Whether it’s a personal insecurity or something in the workplace:

  • Acceptance: Your insecurity doesn’t define you (though it may often feel like it does), accepting your insecurity for what it is can automatically provide a sense of relief and a starting point for the next steps.
  • Dig deep: Working out where your insecurity stems from is vital to overcoming it, is your insecurity at work based on negative feedback from a previous project or losing a pitch?
  • Education: Whatever your insecurity may be, educating yourself on it is key to understanding and overcoming it; ask for feedback, research into the cause and potential actions to tackle it.
  • Know your worth: Your value isn’t determined by the way you look or your last project. Remind yourself of the things you love about yourself; you’re committed, you are valued for your expertise, you have great legs! Whatever it may be, these small reminders can really help to boost your self-worth and improve self-acceptance.
  • TALK!: This is the most important one, talk to others about how you feel. Whether you feel comfortable talking to someone close, or you want some impartial advice it’s important to get it off your chest. Talking to someone will allow you to relieve yourself of the pressure, and also can help to resolve your insecurities with support and advice.

‘How is this relevant to me?’ I hear you ask! Well, I use the steps above in the workplace constantly. Whenever I am having a rough day, or questioning my work, I utilise the above steps to alleviate the negative thoughts.

  • Why am I feeling this way? Did someone give me some constructive criticism that I have taken to heart? Am I not confident in a piece of work I submitted? I dig deep to work out what could be causing me to feel like this so that I can work out how to tackle it.
  • Asking for feedback is a huge part of overcoming insecurity in the workplace. Not only does it show that you are open to learning and growing, but it will help you to do so if you take the feedback and run with it.
  • Sometimes, other people can be having a bad day and impact you without meaning to do so. This is where knowing your worth comes into play; don’t let others negatively impact your self-belief. Believe in your capabilities! Writing them down to refer to if you are struggling with insecurity can be a really big help and an instant reminder that you’ve got this.
  • Make the most of your manager and colleagues, talk to them. They’re there to support and guide you, and someone to talk to is often all you need to flush your insecurities and worries away

It’s always a work in progress, and I certainly still have moments of insecurity. However, I know that when they rise, I can use the actions above to overcome these moments and power through.