As I’m finishing my degree in psychology, I realized that knowing psychology is beneficial for truly any person. It’s a good idea to make it a mandatory course in school, because so many societal issues would be solved—if people simply knew more about how our minds work. Understanding the mind is an essential part of strength, achievement, and serenity.
To some people, healthy thinking comes naturally, due to their experiences and the people that they have been surrounded by in the past. To others, it doesn’t, and it is something they must acquire throughout their lifetime.
However, since not everyone out there has studied psychology or understands the workings of one’s mentality and of our society, I want to share with you some of what I know, or perhaps remind you of some things that you already know as well.
As I observe the multitude of beautiful, capable, and intelligent people around me, I curiously notice one thing all of them have in common: the biggest weakness of our generation, insecurity and anxiety.
This is something that everyone experiences throughout their lives (some to larger extents than others), and being successful, amazing, beautiful, or smart does not make a person immune to the feeling. It is due to the inherently social nature of us humans, that anxiety has been such a prominent aspect, or flaw I would say, of our society.
Young people are more anxious than their older counterparts, who, at some point, were hopefully able to grow out of it. It may not seem like a big deal, but in reality, insecurity is the root of 95 percent of your problems (if not more). So it is crucial to get rid of it.
A mind clouded with insecurity is a mind that prevents you from living the life you deserve and are capable of. The first step to getting rid of insecurity is understanding why you have it. A problem cannot be fixed unless one knows its causes.
It could be for many reasons, but it all roots down to the fact that being inherently social is something that is rooted deeply into our genetics. Back in the prehistoric times of cavemen, if you were not accepted or included in your social group, you would simply die due to lack of shelter, protection, resources, and food.
So through natural selection, humans developed an anxiety for the possibility of social exclusion and need for a social circle. This evolutionary history is what causes things like shyness, fear of public speaking, or being afraid of embarrassing oneself.
It’s funny that even though these traits are no longer relevant for our survival, they are so deeply rooted within us that their effect continues. Psychologically, we are not meant to be alone, and social interaction has more influence on us than it does on any other animal out there.
The mind is an organ that needs to be taken care of just like any other. Except, unlike taking care of your heart, muscles, and skin, where in order to keep them healthy you need to give yourself the right foods and water, to take care of your mind you need to give yourself the right people and experiences.
Being surrounded by people who make you feel good about yourself, who believe in you and support you is essential. As you get older you will learn to rely on yourself and you won’t need emotional support from others in order to flourish (although it certainly helps).
In fact, learning to rely on yourself regardless of the people you do or don’t have in your life is crucial, and you shouldn’t depend on anybody. Yet as you are developing from childhood to late teens, being surrounded by positivity and support is necessary for developing confidence, self-love, and a positive outlook on life. To be a healthy person, requires being surrounded by healthy people.
To some people, confidence and calmness comes naturally because they were born into families of positive and emotionally available people, or were surrounded by such people throughout their lives. Others, however, are not so lucky, as unfortunately, not all people out there have good families or surroundings.
Some people can become insecure even if they have great families. They could have had bad experiences with other people, lost something that meant a lot to them, or gone through trauma. Some people develop insecurities from societal pressures, or simply from inherent competitiveness (which also roots back to the necessity for survival in the Neanderthal days).
Any unpleasant social experiences a person may have had can continue to be rooted in the subconscious view of oneself for years later. If this is your case, remember the situation, approach it logically, and explain to yourself why it is something you should not take personally. Afterwards, forget and let it go forever.
However much your experiences may have influenced you, your mentality is not set in stone and can change, develop, and heal. In fact, it can do so easily. All you need to do is surround yourself with the right people and let go of any who bring you down.
So wherever you are, whatever situation you are in, and whatever experiences you had, don’t worry. Everything, including any limitations of the mind, can be fixed. However, it will take your conscious effort to make it happen.
Here are seven tasks to accomplish in order to develop confidence and serenity.
Surround yourself with positive people who bring you up and support you. Remove all those who bring negativity, stress, and sadness into your life. It may sound harsh, because some of those people may even be your family. But it is necessary if you want to thrive. Let them go, but do so gently and nicely.
Don’t ever take anything personally. Think logically, instead of letting your insecurities run your thoughts. Everyone is afraid of something and everyone has insecurities.
When you are afraid of what people are thinking about you, and wondering whether they like you or not, know that they are thinking the same thing regarding you. You’re not looking at them, are you? Well they’re not looking at you, either. People are too busy worrying about themselves.
If you have been hurt, chances are it is due to the insecurities of the person who hurt you. If someone doesn’t want you in their life, they don’t belong in yours. Or perhaps the timing was just wrong, so move on to better things.
Don’t overestimate others, while underestimating yourself. I’ve met many people in my life whose lives I thought were perfect.Yet, as I got to know them better, I was surprised that it was often far from the case.
Some of the most happy-looking, confident, and successful people I’ve met have actually experienced significant loss, traumas, family issues, or problems. I’m not going to say who they are, but I can say they are doing great now. Everybody has, or has had, problems; some people are just better than others at getting up and continuing with life, as it should be.
Don’t be shy. Again, think logically and realize that there is no reason to be. As long as you are aiming for what you want to be in life, and you’re doing your best to get there, why would you be embarrassed about who you are?
There is no such thing as not being good enough for someone, just that some people are right for each other and others are not. You need to network, meet people, get experiences, learn, grow, enjoy life, and have fun. You cannot accomplish any of those things by being shy and holding back. So get out there and work it.
Don’t be jealous. Others may have gotten further than you, have something you want, or accomplished what you haven’t. Maybe you’re not there yet. But you’re on your way, so what else matters?
“We’ll meet you at the finish line.” - Rita Ora
For women, mostly, do not let lack of your perceived beauty bring you down. Personally, I believe you should strive to be the best version of yourself (which includes looking good), because it will make your feel good, and when you feel good, life is more fulfilling.
Yet, it is crucial to realize that outer beauty is NOT the most important thing, and it does not determine your worth. Attraction depends mostly on 1) how you feel about yourself, and 2) how well you connect with a person and how you make them feel.
Depending on your age, it might be hard to grasp now that beauty is not most important, but as you get older, you will see that character is what really counts. Just focus on being healthy, and whatever body nature gives you as a result is what you are meant to look like. Also remember that what some people consider beautiful, others do not, and vice-versa.
"Beauty is something so personal. One day people can think I’m pretty, and the next day they can think I’m not. Does that change anything about who I am as a person? No. So I don’t think about that, otherwise you go crazy.” - Gisele Bundchen
You must learn to like yourself. It’s cliché, but it’s crucial. You need the balance between being humble and realizing that you can and will make mistakes (and learn from them), while also knowing you are, nevertheless, good and worthy.
If you struggle with loving yourself, remind yourself every now and then of your good qualities and why you deserve to be respected. Without self-love, it is simply impossible to be positive, get anywhere, or even make others around you happy.
A lot of people make the mistake of solely trying to please others, but others cannot be happy around you if you, yourself, are sad. Since humans influence each other so much, logically, it is not possible.
So, focus first on making yourselves happy, ladies and gents. Developing a healthy mentality does not come instantly. It takes time, and practicing thinking positively, but eventually, it will become rooted within you and any pre-existing anxiety will fade.
Depending on your situation, it can even take some years. Life is a constant cycle of good and bad days. However, confidence equals happiness, and whatever your situation and experiences, both are certainly attainable.