Do you ever feel like people don’t like you? It’s easy to believe the lie that we have to reach a certain standard of success before people will like us.
The standard varies depending on our age, culture, friend group, and occupation, but many things are standard: Lose weight. Be popular. Gain success. Fit in.
We think we need to do these things to get people to like us, but in reality, most people will like or dislike us based on our character: Are we kind? Are we authentic? Do we reach out to others? Are we dependable, honest, and unselfish?
That helps, but it’s not a guarantee. Think of it. Jesus was perfect and not everyone liked Him. No matter how perfect we are, there are a few things we’ll need to do if we don’t want to be insecure. Here are 8 of them.
How to Overcome Insecurity
1. Believe this truth: Most people don’t care if you’re successful, skinny, or popular. They’ll love you no matter what. In fact sometimes people will be more likely to dislike us if we’re successful, skinny, or popular because then jealousy comes into play.
2. Think the best of people. Believe that people are mature enough to love you no matter what unless they specifically tell you otherwise. Don’t assume that they don’t like or respect you.
3. Recognize sin. If they do tell you they’ll only love you if “x,” then recognize that they’re sinning and make a decision not to cater to their sin by trying to live up to their standards. While you’re doing that, don’t forget to love them and give them grace. All of us have weaknesses, and a critical, condemning spirit is just another weakness. Don’t take it personally because their condemnation is more about them than you.
4. Stop looking for signs that people love you. If we feel like we need to be successful for people to love us, we’ll keep turning to our “measures of success” to see if they love us yet. We may jump on the scale, look at Facebook likes, or keep asking them if they really love us. Those behaviors will just feed our obsession and we’ll never feel like they’re doing enough to show that they love us.
5. Go to God for help when you start to feel fearful. Our best strategy when we feel unloved is to go to God for help. As we learn to rely on Him to get our emotional needs met, we’ll grow closer to Him—so close that we won’t feel so desperate for love from others. That doesn’t mean we can’t work on relationships and tell people when they’ve hurt us, it just means that we come to the point where we don’t need them to act a certain way in order for us to feel loved and happy.
6. See yourself as God sees you. Sometimes it’s not others that are condemning us, it’s us. We feel like we have to be perfect and beat ourselves up when we aren’t. The best help for that is to see ourselves as God sees us: beloved, beautifully created, but also broken. We’re sinners and we’re going to sin so we shouldn’t be surprised when we see that happening.
7. Work on your character with God’s help. Let’s face it. We all have things about us that are a little on the unloveable side. We’re not always easy to be around and we don’t always love well. God wants us to work on those things, not so we can be secure, but so we can love Him and others well. Security is a side benefit of growth. As we become more like Jesus, we’ll be easier to love, which which will change the way others respond to us. We don’t want to rest our security on how they respond to us, but it’s still nice to have them respond well.
8. Focus on loving others, not getting them to love you. The last step is just to focus on loving others. Find someone’s kids to babysit for free. Visit a nursing home. Bring food over to your neighbors. Volunteer someplace. Serving others lifts us up and the ones we serve lift us up as they give back to us in love and appreciation.
If you struggle with insecurity–and most of us do–I hope these eight ideas for overcoming insecurity will help. If you have any other ideas, let me know as I can always use help with insecurity!