The fear of not being smart or talented enough to contribute something of value is common insecurity shared by women worldwide. Many women feel anxious over whether or not their level of understanding ranks as high as that of their partner, boss, colleagues, or friends. If you work in a creative environment, you’re also likely to worry that your ideas always fall short of the mark and are not as good as everyone else’s.
What Is Intellectual Insecurity?
If you sense that your brain switches off, or gets into a muddle, as soon as someone starts talking about complex matters such as politics, science, physics, maths, history, or the offside rule, you’re not alone. While no one wants to be the only person in a room that doesn’t ‘get it, it’s simply not possible for anyone to know everything.
You may be convinced that all of your achievements and accomplishments to date result from people failing to see that you lack the intellect or creative ability and fear that one day they will notice. Constantly feeling like a phony can lead to many issues, including missing out on opportunities and not feeling that you deserve success or happiness.
How To Get Over Your Intellectual Insecurities
While growing up, girls are socialized to put others before themselves and underscore their own successes by focusing on perceived flaws. A woman who believes that she’s inadequate and incompetent will accept that the imposter syndrome tag is the one that has her name on it. But this is not true. You can overcome intellectual insecurities with practice.
Quit Being So Perfect
If you’re someone who consistently sets high goals to demonstrate your intellect and creative skills to other people, you are perpetuating a cycle of perfectionism. Your need to compensate for self-doubt, and to control everything, doesn’t allow you to enjoy the experience of any success that pans out in your favor. Success, for you, is a goal that is never reached because there is always room for the improvement of your mind or abilities.
Let go of the pressure to bluff your way through things that you lack understanding of, and get comfortable admitting that you “don’t know.” Being intelligent doesn’t mean that you have to be the font of all knowledge on absolutely everything.
- Cultivate inner confidence by creating your own unique list of ‘Smarts’ – things you’re good at and proud of and stuff that you’ve achieved. Assign a positive affirmation to each item on the list, and use them as an effective tool against negative self-talk.
- Make a list of things that make you an expert in your field. Think of ways in which you could further expand or enhance your knowledge and skill set.
Speak Up For Yourself
Lacking confidence in your voice is a common insecurity trait that women have. If you were given little room for your intellectual talents to bloom as a child, you’re more likely to feel that what you have to say isn’t all that important. Expressing your thoughts, ideas and feelings is crucial if you want to be an empowered woman who leaves her mark on the world.
If you’re shy about speaking up because you fear that people will think you’re dumb, it’s helpful to follow key conversation strategies and build your confidence through observation. Learning how to overcome insecurities means understanding a few easy tips.
- When talking face-to-face, give your full attention and demonstrate interest. As most people often misinterpret what they hear, always ask for clarification. Being clear about the information will boost confidence in your intellect.
- Keep your mood upbeat as it affects the confidence in your voice.
- Practice listening to yourself talks about an activity or a topic that you are passionate about. Press record on your mobile device, and away you go. It’s normal to feel awkward at first, but you’ll soon warm up and get into the flow.
- Listen to the recording and see how you can improve your content. Use Einstein’s famous quote as a helpful reference: “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
- Show off your fluid intelligence (your ability to problem solve and develop abstract ideas and solutions on the spot) when talking to people you want to impress.
Build Confidence Through Observation
Your intellect insecurity is the product of your personal history combined with your experiences. Just because you’ve felt ridiculed or humiliated in the past due to a lack of knowledge doesn’t mean that you’re not brainy, clever, creative, or enlightened.
You can shatter the myth that you’re not intelligent enough to keep up with your peers through intentional practice.
- Use body language to create the illusion of confidence. Own your space by standing tall or sitting straight, with relaxed shoulders and an open chest. Keep your arms loose by your sides.
- Engage in fronting. Aiming your toes and torso towards the person you are talking to makes you look focused and confident.
- Pick up practical tips by watching someone that you admire for their self-assurance and confidence. Observe how they move, act, talk and behave. Mirror their behavior when you’re in similar situations.
- As good-looking people are generally perceived as smarter than average, you can enhance your confidence by dressing well and tricking folks into assuming that you’re a brainiac. This shows you how to deal with insecurities about your body and your brain.
Work On Your Memory
If you want to impress people with your intellect, mastering the ability to recite learned information will hold you in good stead. Many people who are admired for their intelligence rely greatly on their ability to remember things.
Boost your memory by giving your brain a regular workout:
- Use all of your senses when learning new things. Relate the information you are reading, watching, or listening to color, sound, texture, smell, and taste.
- Keep a memory journal or notebook. The physical act of writing down something that you want to remember will imprint it into your brain. Reading it out loud, and associating a visual image to the info, will also boost memory recall.
Overcome Intellectual Insecurity In Many Areas of Life
Intellectual insecurity comes in many forms. If you don’t retain a healthy image of yourself and have confidence, others will see this. Some people who may not be as nice could use these insecurities to hurt you, especially in relationships.
So, it’s also important to learn how to deal with insecurities in relationships. This could be any relationship too. So, remember, practice lifting your own beliefs about yourself and improving your intellectual power. This is how you win, and this is how you have peace with who you are.