Zen Philosophy Reveals How to Overcome Your Insecurities in 5 Deceptively Simple Steps

In Mind & Body, Philosophy & Culture
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We all have insecurities. No one is perfect.

Some people hide them, while others show them in full display. Many of us can be overwhelmed and worried about things like our appearance, our social status or whether or not we’ll fail.

At times, we simply think we’re not good enough. Our social media culture doesn’t help either. A lot of us seek approval through likes and retweets by showing the amazing lives we’re living.

So the question is: how do we overcome these insecurities? How do we become OK with ourselves? How do we find peace?

I’ve found Zen philosophy and mindfulness ideas helpful in overcoming these insecurities.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy, as we must face what we usually don’t want to face. It means having a bit of courage.

So first, let’s talk about the obstacles in our way and then we will go over some wisdom from spiritual guru Osho and Lao Tzu to help us overcome them.

Obstacles that stop you from overcoming your insecurities

Need for constant validation and approval. We feel great when we receive validation from others. But this need grows as we constantly seek validation to keep up with our image. And before we know it, we have entered a vicious cycle.

Delving in past criticisms. If we have been bullied while growing up, we internalize and keep them in our head throughout our lives. These past criticisms hold us back from getting rid of our insecurities.

Distrust. Many of us are scared to trust others, which prevents us from allowing other people to accept and understand us.

Unable to accept self-imperfections. In the end, the result is that we reject large parts of ourselves. We don’t like that we have pimples, or something about our bodies.

Social media and mainstream media falsified propagations. We compare ourselves to the good looking people we see on Instagram or other social media. We compare ourselves with the hot people in movies, TV, magazines. These images are meant to sell us, but the way they sell us is by making us feel insecure about ourselves.

5 ways to use mindfulness and zen philosophy to help overcome insecurities

1) Accept everything about yourself.

Focus on every part of your body and soul. Be attentive to the parts that you feel are flawed and perceive them as your friend. Wouldn’t you accept a person as your friend, in spite of his/her imperfections? So, why not your body? Embrace it all and feel the beauty. Tell yourself – “I am beautiful”!

Here is a quote from Osho on learning to love yourself:

“Learning to love oneself is not difficult, it is natural. If you have been able to do something which is unnatural, if you have learned how to love others without loving yourself, then the other thing is very simple. You have done the almost impossible. It is only a question of understanding, a simple understanding, that “I am to love myself; otherwise I will miss the meaning of life. I will never grow up, I will simply grow old. I will not have any individuality. I will not be truly human, dignified, integrated.”

2) Move past your past and forgive it.

Many incidents and things in the past define a person’s insecurities. But by sitting quitely and meditating on these thoughts, we can learn to accept them and forgive them. Yes, we still have knowledge of the past, but the present moment is always knew and the universe is constant change. 

“The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clinging’s and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.” -Jack Kornfield

3) Avoid comparing yourself with others.

You’re who you are. You don’t have to look or behave like someone else. Stop drawing a comparison of yourself with others. Instead, learn from other people and believe in your self-worth.

Osho says it best:

“Nobody can say anything about you. Whatsoever people say is about themselves. But you become very shaky, because you are still clinging to a false center. That false center depends on others, so you are always looking to what people are saying about you. And you are always following other people, you are always trying to satisfy them. You are always trying to be respectable, you are always trying to decorate your ego. This is suicidal. Rather than being disturbed by what others say, you should start looking inside yourself…

Whenever you are self-conscious you are simply showing that you are not conscious of the self at all. You don’t know who you are. If you had known, then there would have been no problem— then you are not seeking opinions. Then you are not worried what others say about you— it is irrelevant!
Your very self-consciousness indicates that you have not come home yet.”

4) Become more trusting of others.

Gaining trust or trusting others is not an easy thing to do. You need a lot of time and effort. But it does not hurt to give it a try. Developing trust in the “now” helps us to build relationships.

“He who does not trust enough will not be trusted.” – Lao Tzu

5) Accept yourself 

Do not let others decide your destiny and life. Stop seeking approval and validation from others just to feel good and worthy. The most important thing to do is to start believing in yourself.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” – Lao Tzu

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