How Naming My Insecurities Helped Me Become a Mentally Stronger Person

If there’s only one key takeaway that I can share with you from the book Maybe It’s You by Lauren Zander, it is to name your insecurities or any negative habits you associate yourself with. For me, the numerous attempts to wire my brain to think positively has been an eye-opening process. Seeing how well it worked by merely putting a humorous spin on it almost makes me feel that it’s okay to feel negative at times. And of course, it is! 

If it makes you feel better, a genuine frown makes you more approachable than an inauthentic, plastered smile on your face. To help you get started, here are some exercises I did.

1. Identify your definition of being “mentally strong” and “mentally weak.” 

My personal take is that mentally strong is: a small step forward is always better than being stagnant. I’ll still do what I love even when nobody’s watching, and a rejection (from employer, school, dates) doesn’t mean I’m not good enough — it just means we’re not a good match. While mentally weak means: I let people decide how I should feel. If I encounter a bad driver, thanks to him/her, my day is ruined. It means that I will not post videos of me speaking in fear of what others have to say about my accent.

2. Give your negative traits some silly names. 

Make them as funny to you as possible so you don’t feel bad for calling yourself out. We don’t want to be imposing negative, hateful feelings for ourselves. My current few are:

  • Tim Gunn-ing when I find myself judging people or stereotyping out of my own insecurity.

  • Sour Sally-ing when something doesn’t go my way or according to my plan.

  • Sulk Hulk — pretty intuitive. I turn green, grow in anger, and sulk all day.

3. Deliberately put yourself in these positions and act according to your ideals. 

The key here is to repeatedly remind yourself of the mentally strong person you’d like to be. I walked to my destination instead of grabbing an Uber. When I caught myself judging someone on the streets, I said: “Ha, you’re Tim Gunning.” I refused the need to control. I let my friends decide on our dinner plans. If they suggested my least favorite place — great. I learned to go with the flow. That gave me a chance to stop myself from Sour Sallying. My friend commented on my accent on a recent video. I took it negatively because I felt he was insulting me, and I sulked. I still continued filming more videos.

With practice, you’ll find yourself in less mentally weakening situations. And the best part? You won’t even know when the transformation happened that made you stronger.