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By Kaitlyn Dunagan

There will be times in our lives where we feel small and the world feels like a weight we cannot bear. Seasons where feelings of inferiority flare up and cannot be silenced by a simple splash of encouragement from others. In these moments, we must remember the best way to combat our inner demons is not to shrink back but to plow forth into the fire of our insecurities.

However, you do have another choice. You always have a choice. These moments of self-doubt do not have to consume you. These moments pass everybody. The only difference is that those who know self-love know how to cope with them. Here are the simple ways to say “no” to your insecurities.

1. Be kind. It’s not always our natural inclination. It requires practice.

2. Keep your curiosity in a closet. Let it come out when it’s appropriate. Remember: not everything is your business, least of all judgments on how other people are or aren’t doing.

3. Listen to every negative comment you’re given. Rather than immediately reject it, see feedback as a goldmine for growth.

4. Have the final say on what’s true about you. Listen to the criticism, but don’t accept it mindlessly. Never forget how often people are speaking out of projection.

5. Go outside. The world is calmer there.

6. Let your love for others grow deeply. Don’t assume that it’s either “there or it’s not.”

7. Read books that challenge your world-views. Let yourself feel threatened and offended and annoyed. Then read some more.

8. Do not say “sorry” for your opinion. But make sure your opinion is one that you’re willing to stand by. Evaluate often.

9. Stress is a choice. Don’t choose it.

10. Forget that you even have a comfort zone. It’s just an idea.

11. Stand up for yourself. Or, in other words, respect yourself the way you would anybody else, but don’t assume everyone is going to give it to you just because you demand it. Have your own respect, and it will be enough.

12. Ask “why” when you’re genuinely interested. This is something you should do daily.

13. Talk to someone you love and trust about working on your weaknesses. The real ones. The hard ones. You know the ones I mean.

14. Say “no.” And say it often. To yourself, to not getting enough sleep, to overbearing employers, to demands you haven’t agreed to. “No” is your power. Wield it.

15. Pretend you’re already living your dream life. Train yourself as though you already have everything you want. You’ll realize this was the only problem regardless.

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