Do you ever think that men walk through life with so much more confidence than women? It’s not your imagination. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (via American Psychological Association), researchers studied self-esteem in men and women across 48 countries and found that men at every age had higher self-esteem levels than women worldwide. What’s causing this? Here are 10 things that cause insecurity in a woman, and what you can do about it so you walk through the world feeling better about yourself.
1. We Were Brainwashed During Childhood.
Many young girls experience childhood brainwashing – we’re taught to be nice, polite, and people-pleasers. We’re told to be kind to others and nurturing. We’re not taught to stand up for ourselves in the same way boys are, which sets us up for insecurity later on in our lives.
2. We’re Blasted By Societal Pressure.
There’s no doubt that many women are insecure because of societal pressures. We have to be, look, and behave in certain ways to be seen as worthy. We have to find a man, get married, and have kids ASAP. The result? We might feel like we don’t fit in and this makes us insecure. It doesn’t help that we’re blasted with contradictory messages, like when it comes to beauty and appearances. For example, we have to age gracefully, but then we’re attacked by trolls for having wrinkles. So, we get plastic surgery, but then we’re criticized for it. We can’t win.
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4. We Compare Ourselves To Others.
With the pressure to be the prettiest/smartest/nicest woman in the world, it’s really no surprise that we’re always comparing ourselves to other women. Our friendships become competitions – whatever happened to sisterhood, right? The pressure to compete and win is taxing, causing us to feel low self-confidence. We know can never be better than everyone else, and why would we want to be? Honestly, though, it’s hard to remember that and try to focus on what makes us special.
5. We’re Striving To Be Perfect.
With all the pressure to be the best, we can become perfectionists who try to be perfect and never make a mistake. Woah, that’s a lot of pressure we place on ourselves. Here’s a truth: perfectionism will make you miserable. It can also boost your anxiety and stress levels. Nothing’s perfect, after all, and making mistakes is actually a way to learn and grow. But, it’s hard to keep that in mind sometimes.
6. We Don’t Have Any Self-Love.
When we’re little girls, we’re taught to be nice and polite, and we’re encouraged to support others. Sometimes, this can be taken to the extreme so we totally forget about the love we need. SMH. The result? We’ve got no love for ourselves! Searching for love just makes this worse. We need to fill our own reserves. Luckily, you can start loving yourself at any time. When you love yourself, you boost your self-respect and can walk through the world with more confidence.
7. We’ve Survived Toxic Relationships.
If we’ve gone through tough relationships in the dating game, we can come out of them feeling insecure. Toxic people break us down and zap our self-esteem, so when we walk away from the burning relationship, we’re wounded and it can take us a long time to heal and move on. It takes time to process what happened to us and not carry fear that it’s going to happen again. Therapy can help us get there.
8. We Go The Extra Mile For Love.
Have you ever watched 90 Day Fiance? Some of the people in this reality show who are searching for love pack up their lives and move to a different country to be with their partners, even though they hardly know each other. While that might seem unreal, we might be doing a similar thing emotionally. We think we have to jump through hoops to fix relationships, impress people, and be loved. Ugh. The truth is that we should be loved for who we are, not for what we do.
9. We Push Aside Our Unique Traits.
The pressure to fit in with everyone else is something ingrained in us from when we’re young. We want to be accepted, so we push aside what makes us special and unique. It’s sad that we can carry this feeling with us into adulthood. But all those unique traits are what make us awesome. When we become confident about them, they help us move through the world more positively and with less thought to what other people think of us.
10. We’re Treated Differently Because We’re Women.
There’s no doubt that as women we’re treated differently constantly. We’re paid less money for working just as hard as men, we’re expected to be homemakers and pop out babies, and we’re victims of sexism, such as when men praise our physical appearance instead of our skills and values. The list goes on and on. This treatment can weigh us down and make us feel less confident. It’s a constant struggle to be respected.
11. We Struggle Setting Personal Boundaries.
As little girls, we’re taught that we’re the caring and nurturing gender (another bunch of sexist BS), which can cause us to struggle to set boundaries in adulthood. We don’t like saying “no” because we don’t want to appear nasty/unladylike. It’s such BS, but it can be instilled in us and can keep us feeling insecure. To break out of that, we have to set boundaries to protect ourselves and improve our self-esteem. Saying “no” is healthy! Although women are taught that their needs don’t matter as much as others’ needs, we need to stop believing this.