How do you define emotional insecurity?

I had a question about the meaning of an insecurity definition. It's a bit confusing. Is it an emotional state where a person worrys about his weaknesses? If I am right, roots of insecurity, I think, stem from limiting beliefs and low self-worth as a defense from shame.

This question was submitted by 'Ernestas'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Ernestas and thank you for your question.

Well, the roots of emotional insecurity certainly can stem from over-analytical thinking and the habit of self-doubt. If we over-think enough, we can find stuff to doubt about.

But really, emotional insecurity stems from emotional conditioning that produces certain types of self-critical or simplistically negative generalizing thoughts, rather than the other way around. Patterns of emotional responsiveness (such as low self-esteem) can be conditioned into people through experiences such as being continually abused, bullied, or criticized.

For example, research has found that those who have been sexually abused are four times as likely to suffer low self-esteem as adults. The thoughts that accompany low self-esteem or other types of emotional insecurity are simply the residue or by-product of the emotional conditioning and not necessarily the cause of it.

So, trying to change thoughts may help for some people, but dealing with the emotional conditioning directly (as can happen when, for example, hypnosis is applied expertly) can mean that stereotypical low self-esteem or insecure thoughts naturally become more moderate once the emotional patterns change. I would say, then, that emotional insecurity produces limiting beliefs that, in turn, 'feed' the emotional insecurity.

The way to really break the cycle of insecurity or low self-esteem is to deal with the power of the emotion rather than just try to change thoughts. Although once a person is calm enough, helping them stand aside from limited, confined, and negatively biased thinking is incredibly useful, too.

I wouldn't say that low self-worth is necessarily a defense mechanism from shame, if that is what you mean, as people with low self-esteem tend to be pretty good at shame, guilt, and any other kind of 'emotional indigestion' you might think of.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - January 19th, 2015 in

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