The Difference Between Being Insecure and Having Insecurities

I absolutely love the episodic adventures of Issa, Molly and company on HBO’s Insecure.

There are many reasons why this show resonates with me, but one of the biggest reasons is because as the title says, it highlights, explains and shows how young professionals manage insecurity in adulthood.Insecure

In each season of the show, we witness Issa and her friends figure out the complicated post-graduate world for young African-American singles in Los Angeles. My friends and I all react strongly to the (sometimes questionable) decision-making of each character of the show, as we watch them navigate dating, relationships, friendships and professional ups and downs .

But in being entertained by this show, I can’t help but wonder, what’s the difference between being insecure and having insecurities? breaks down the definition of insecure as subject to fears, doubts, etc.; not self-confident or assured.

Like most of the characters on the TV show (and most of us in the real world), having insecurities is pretty natural. When we were children and first experiencing our siblings and peers, we are put into a position to compare ourselves to one another. Judgement soon follows and, more often than not, insecurities are formed.

Yet, to take on the identity of being insecure is a whole different story. This ‘identity’ means that your insecurity steps into the room before you do. What you feel most insecure about leads your walk-around world and it feels like you’re living in stuckness.

Taking on the identity of being insecure can look like:

  • Feeling reactive or combative when your insecurity shows up

  • Having a pattern of shaming, blaming and projecting onto others

  • Frequently judging and comparing yourself to others

  • Feeling uncomfortable, unsatisfied and unworthy in your own skin

Unlike taking on this “insecure identity”, there is the experience of having insecurities. In having insecurities, you recognize that they are just a normal part of life. Self-reflection and self-awareness are the themes that regularly show up in your life when recognizing that you have insecurities.

photo of woman wearing black long sleeves


Instead of letting insecurities lead your walk-around world, you lead with self-compassion. You are mindful of what comes up for you when you are feeling insecure and you remind yourself of your strengths, skills, and talents. Having insecurities is just a part of you, it’s not your whole identity.

If you notice that you are taking on the “insecure identity” more than accepting that you are a person that has insecurities, take some time to explore why your insecurities are taking up so much of your emotional space.

Ask yourself:

  • Who’s showing up right now, me or my insecurity?

  • What are my beliefs about myself? Are these beliefs positively serving me, or is that my insecurity talking?

  • What makes me feel proud, excited or satisfied about myself? How can this part of me take the lead?

[Mini spoiler alert!] When learning to live a self-loving life, like Issa at the end of last season, you learn to love being with yourself and all that comes with you. That includes accepting what you love about yourself and what you feel are your insecurities.

What do you believe are the differences between being insecure and having insecurities?



  1. Ali, The Mindful Gardener says

    I love the wisdom that is revealed in each of your posts. You have a brilliant way of expressing these ideas that is straightforward and clear.
    One difference I think is that a destructively insecure person cannot appreciate different views, perspectives or ways of doing things, and is very judgmental. They set their way up as the right way, and if you don’t agree or follow, then you are wrong.
    Whereas a person with insecurities would recognise when someone’s success or different way of doing something is challenging to them. They would be able to appreciate that everyone is different and has their own strengths and weaknesses, and you can celebrate that, without needing to undermine the other person. You might feel a bit put out, but you don’t then make the other person the bad one.

    • Michelle says

      I really appreciate your feedback and kindness Ali! I agree, another way to tell that a person is taking on the “insecure” identity is when they are not open to taking in new or different opinions. Being able to hear other’s opinions, ideas and views is definitely a behavior of what someone who is not taking on the “insecure” identity.

  2. Jory Stewart says

    This week’s blog hit on so many different levels. How many times have someone else used our own insecurities against us which in turn makes us feel more like an insecure person versus a person who has insecurities (as we all do). Great blog Michelle. I’m sure on week’s like this, this was a huge benefit to someone. 🙂

    • Michelle says

      I so appreciate your thoughts Jory! And absolutely. I will even share that a lot of us have been guilty of both! It’s so helpful to increase our mindfulness around insecurities and figure out what we can do about it. Thank you so much for reading! 🙂

  3. Randi Seay says

    Great post, this has helped me see that there is actually a difference between the two and what I experience is normal in a sense. Thank you

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