Learning how to deal with people who make you feel insecure is a valuable skill. Not only will it save your self-esteem but also it’ll help you have better social life.
There are people who have this harmful gift of making you feel insecure about yourself.
No matter how good you are feeling about yourself, they manage to make you feel small and inadequate.
I said earlier that your self-image affects the way you interact with other people. Also, your interactions with others will affect your self-image as well.
Spending too much time with people who make you feel insecure will surely damage your self-esteem.
It’s very important to learn how to spot the people who make you feel insecure. It’s also extra important to know why those people make you feel this way and what to do.
In this article, I’m going to show you who are those people. Also, I’m going to show you how to act when you feel insecure because of someone else.
Contrary to common belief, handling those people is not about them at all. It’s all about knowing why you are feeling insecure around them in the first place and then doing something about that, as we’re going to see. (Read: What to Do When You Lose Your Self-Confidence)
Why Certain People Make You Feel Insecure
There are many different cases. Sometimes it’s about the person you’re dealing with. Other times it’s about your perception. And sometimes it’s both.
Below, we’re going to discuss 3 cases where you feel insecure because of someone else’s company or presence. (Read: I Get Defensive When People Judge Me)
What matters is not the situation or the other person. What matters is what you’re going to do about it. Because what you’ll do will is what will affect your self-image positively or negatively.
They Are Mentally Unstable
There are people who are already insecure and mentally unstable. And they project their insecurities onto others.
They have issues, probably with their self-image. And they just manage to make those are around them feel small and worthless.
Narcissists. Psychopaths. Attention seekers. Players. Emotionally abusive people/partners/parents/friends.
But that is not what makes them mentally unstable.
What really makes them mentally unstable is that they’re trying to compensate for their weakness by appearing strong. Even if it meant making other people feel small. Even if it meant manipulating and using and hurting other people. (Read: How to Be Assertive: Assertiveness and Self-Image)
Usually, they are charming and they seem so strong on the outside. And this is yet another reason you don’t consider them as ‘toxic people’. Well, they have to be charming to make other people think they are strong. After all, that’s where they derive their self-worth from.
Their inflated ego, which is inflated because they actually feel small, makes them feel at the center of the universe.
They can make awful comments about you. They can put you down. They can manipulate you and control you. They can blackmail you emotionally.
They can make you feel like you’re nothing. They can make you feel like you’re nothing without them.
They manage to make you feel bad about yourself. Sometimes without saying a word; you just feel something is wrong with you when you interact with them.
What to do? Walk away! Don’t stick around thinking that you’re doing something wrong. Don’t stick around trying to change them. Don’t try to gain their approval and don’t even give them your approval.
As soon as you realize that someone is making you feel bad about yourself… Oh, wait! Let me put it in other words. As soon as you realize that someone is being an asshole, cut them off.
They will hate you for it, but it doesn’t matter. Your mental health and self-image are more important.
Not to forget, those people can be close family members or close friends. They can be people who you’ve known for a long time and now you call them friends. Well, they don’t have to be friends anymore if they’re hurting you in that way.
Being family, or being friends for a long time, or being friends since kindergarten, or being coworkers, or roommates, or classmates, or anything, doesn’t justify getting treated poorly and made feel insecure and small.
Those people are mentally unstable. Mentally unstable people will make you a mentally unstable person. If you stick around, you’re just like them. As simple as that.
Be assertive and set strong boundaries. Don’t accept any relationship, even a superficial one, with someone who makes feel like you’re nobody.
Find the mentally stable and secure people around you. Those who bring the best in you. Those who respect you and never make you feel bad about yourself. Even if they’re criticizing you or giving you an advice, it doesn’t feel as an insult. They do exist. Find them and stick around them.
(Note: whenever the advice feels like the other person is putting you down and criticizing you, it’s not an advice. When the other person is giving an advice from the place of superiority, it’s not an advice. It’s a sign to walk away.)
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They Have What You Want
When someone has something that you want, you’ going to feel jealous. Even if just a little bit.
It could be a certain skill, a certain achievement, a certain personality trait, or whatever. You want it bad and you meet someone who has it. You’re going to feel insecure to some extent. That’s normal.
(What’s not normal is envying that person and wishing that he loses what you don’t have.)
For instance, I love public speaking and I always try to become a better public speaker.
I’m now satisfied with my public speaking skills; I’ve improved a lot since I’d started. Not an outstanding public speaker yet, but I’m above average and doing my best to improve even more.
But it wasn’t always this way. At the beginning, I was very scared and not that confident.
And there was this guy who was super confident and also a great speaker. The words flow out of his mouth effortlessly. He steals the lights whenever he holds the mic. His confidence is flawless and his charisma will inevitably draw you in.
I was jealous! I was insecure!
Sure, I didn’t hate him or something. It was the opposite, I actually liked him and respected him a lot. I just felt insecure around him, especially during public speeches.
You see, I considered, and still consider, public speaking an important skill. Back then, I sucked at it. And seeing this guy was a consistent reminder to me of who I wanted to become.
This can happen to you and it’s pretty normal.
You want something (e.g. a personality trait or a certain achievement). Then, you meet someone who has that thing.
It’s pretty normal to feel insecure in such case. That’s why all of us feel insecure from time to time.
What to do? Know that it is normal, we all feel it from time to time. It’s a good type of insecurity if you know how to use it right. Don’t let it turn into hatred where you wish harm to that person.
And also, don’t let it destroy you. Use it as a driving force. Without those feelings of insecurity, there would be no motivation to become better.
I once read an advice given to those who don’t know what to do with their lives. It says that you just have to look at those you feel jealous of or insecure around. You’ll, then, figure out the things that you want. Work on getting them and let this insecurity push you.
In brief, feel this insecurity and let it motivate you to become better. Don’t let it destroy you and don’t let it turn into hatred.
Your perception governs the way you see the world
In other words, your perception will shape your reality.
Sometimes we twist things around to support a strong belief that we have. We focus only on things that verify our already existing beliefs.
We’ll have errors in our perception. We’re not seeing the reality. We’re seeing a version of what we believe is the reality according to our existing beliefs.
So, as soon as someone believes that he/she is worthless, they will start looking for ways to verify this belief. They will focus on certain things, remember certain things, and interrupt information in a certain way.
Those are called cognitive distortions.
This way, you can feel insecure around a lot of people. Not because of them or what they do; because you’re seeing reality in a distorted way. A distorted way that verifies your negative beliefs about yourself.
You’ll focus on every time someone ignores you. You’ll remember all the times people ignored you. You’ll interrupt every sign as a proof of why you are not worthy or flawed somehow.
What to do? It’s about those around you. It’s about your own perception. You’re already feeling small and you’re looking for ways to verify that.
You’ll find evidence to support your belief. And if you don’t, you’ll make up evidence using your distorted perception.
Work on eliminating those cognitive distortions and you’ll start seeing things for what they really are.
Here is an article that explains cognitive distortions:
Also, the more you work on your self-esteem, the less are you going to have those distortions.
For instance, someone with a healthy self-image won’t be affected by a negative opinion about his personality that much. He will take the constructive feedback if there was any or just shrug it off. He won’t be affected if someone ignored him. He won’t overthink it in his head.
Mark Manson, in his book Models, described how people who are too invested in other people’s opinions of them value the opinion of others of them more than they value their own opinion of themselves.
Thus, if this opinion is negative, their entire self-esteem will shatter because it’s based on it.
As you work on building a solid self-confidence, you’ll start having a different kind of perception. A perception that supports and sees the good in you.
That’s a good perception because it’s useful. It’s worth working very hard in order to have it.
If you feel insecure around people in general or around specific people, you need to be careful.
It’ll affect your self-image negatively. It’ll reinforce the negative self-image.
You need to know how to deal with such situation. Because if you don’t, you’re going to feel insecure around most people and ruin your social life.
Dealing with such situations is about knowing why you are feeling insecure in the first place. Then, based on why you are feeling this way, you do something to resolve the reasons for this insecurity.
We discussed 3 possible reasons in this article. In most cases, you’re going to have one of these reasons. With each reason, a solution was offered.
Work on that solution. Connection with others and social life can affect your self-image stronger than anything. Don’t let that effect be negative.