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Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Insecurity

Emotion Insecurity

When you want to write the emotion insecurity, it's important to "show" the emotion your character is experiencing through their physical reactions and dialogue, rather than "tell" it. In this article we provide you with inspiration so you can avoid showing not telling and immerse your readers in your story.

Insecurity is a feeling of uncertainty, self-doubt, and lack of confidence in oneself, one's abilities, or one's worth. It can stem from various sources such as past failures, social comparison, or fear of rejection or criticism. Insecure individuals often struggle with feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, and anxiety, which can affect their behavior, relationships, and overall well-being. Understanding the nuances and causes of insecurity can help writers create more realistic and relatable characters who face this common emotional challenge.

Contents:
  1. Different Types of Insecurity
  2. Situations Associated with Insecurity
  3. Physical Reactions to Insecurity
  4. Thoughts Associated with Insecurity
  5. Atmosphere of Insecurity
  6. Verbs Associated with Insecurity
  7. Emotions Before Insecurity
  8. Emotions After Insecurity
  9. Telling Insecurity Examples to Avoid
  10. Practical Examples of Showing Insecurity
  11. Exercises for Showing Insecurity

Different Types of Insecurity

Here are some different types of insecurity:

  • Feeling unsure or uncertain about oneself or one's abilities
  • Having doubts or fears about one's worth or value
  • Feeling vulnerable or exposed to judgment or criticism
  • Being overly self-conscious or self-critical
  • Comparing oneself unfavorably to others
  • Feeling like an impostor or fraud in certain situations

Situations Associated with Insecurity

Here are some situations where a character might experience the emotion of insecurity:

  • Being in a new or unfamiliar environment
  • Facing criticism or rejection from others
  • Feeling inadequate or inferior compared to others
  • Experiencing a major life change or transition
  • Dealing with personal insecurities or self-doubt
  • Feeling uncertain about the future or the outcome of a situation
  • Being in a high-pressure situation or feeling overwhelmed
  • Experiencing a loss or failure
  • Feeling excluded or left out by others

Physical Reactions to Insecurity

Here are some physical reactions a character experiencing insecurity might have:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Fidgeting with hands or objects
  • Shrinking posture (hunching over, crossing arms)
  • Nervous laughter or stuttering
  • Apologizing excessively
  • Seeking reassurance from others
  • Overcompensating with arrogance or boastfulness
  • Being overly defensive or sensitive to criticism
  • Comparing oneself to others frequently

Thoughts Associated with Insecurity

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing insecurity might have:

  • I'm not good enough.
  • What if they find out I'm a fraud?
  • Everyone else is better than me.
  • I don't deserve this opportunity.
  • I'm afraid of failing.
  • They're just being nice to me, they don't really like me.
  • I wish I was more confident.
  • I don't know if I can handle this.
  • I always mess things up.

Atmosphere of Insecurity

Here are some ways that you might reflect the emotion of insecurity in the atmosphere of your scene:

  • Use dim lighting or shadows to create a sense of uncertainty or unease.
  • Describe the setting as cramped or cluttered to emphasize a lack of control or stability.
  • Include details that suggest neglect or disrepair, such as peeling wallpaper or broken furniture, to convey a sense of instability or vulnerability.
  • Use weather or natural elements, such as rain or wind, to create an ominous or foreboding atmosphere.
  • Include background noises or distractions that heighten the character's sense of insecurity, such as creaking floorboards or distant sirens.
  • Use contrasting elements, such as a character surrounded by opulence or luxury while feeling inadequate or out of place.
  • Describe the character's physical sensations, such as a racing heart or shaky hands, to convey their internal state of insecurity.

Verbs Associated with Insecurity

Here are some verbs commonly associated with the emotion of insecurity:

  • Tremble
  • Stammer
  • Fidget
  • Avoid
  • Hesitate
  • Doubt
  • Apologize
  • Compare
  • Obsess
  • Crave
  • Beg
  • Panic
  • Despair
  • Envy

Emotions Before Insecurity

Here are some emotions that may come before a character experiences insecurity:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Uncertainty
  • Apprehension
  • Self-consciousness

Emotions After Insecurity

Here are some emotions that may come after a character experiences insecurity:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Self-doubt
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Inferiority complex
  • Paranoia
  • Self-consciousness
  • Vulnerability

Telling Insecurity Examples to Avoid

Here are some examples of telling the emotion insecurity in a sentence. You should avoid things like this:

  • She was feeling insecure about her new haircut.
  • He couldn't shake off his insecurities about his job performance.
  • The character was insecure about her ability to make friends.
  • He felt insecure about his height in a room full of taller people.
  • She was insecure about her writing skills and constantly sought validation from others.
  • The protagonist had always been insecure about her body, and it affected her confidence.
  • He was insecure about his accent and tried to hide it when speaking in public.
  • The character's insecurities made her doubt every decision she made.
  • She was insecure about her intelligence and felt intimidated by people who seemed smarter.

Practical Examples of Showing Insecurity

Here are some examples of showing insecurity in a sentence:

  • She fidgeted with her hair, wondering if it looked okay.
  • He avoided eye contact, afraid of being judged.
  • She hesitated before speaking up, worried about sounding foolish.
  • He constantly sought reassurance from others, unsure of his own abilities.

Exercises for Showing Insecurity

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing insecurity:

  • Write a scene where the character is preparing for an event (job interview, first date, etc.) and constantly doubts their appearance, abilities, or worthiness.
  • Create a dialogue where the character reveals their fears and doubts to a trusted friend or mentor.
  • Write a scene where the character is in a group setting and feels like they don't belong or are not good enough compared to others.
  • Describe the character's physical reactions when they feel insecure (sweating, shaking, avoiding eye contact, etc.).
  • Write a scene where the character is forced to confront their insecurities (e.g. receiving constructive criticism or facing a past failure) and how they react to it.
  • Develop a backstory that explains why the character has such deep insecurities (e.g. childhood trauma, past rejections, etc.).
  • Write a scene where the character overcomes their insecurity and gains confidence (e.g. standing up for themselves, achieving a goal, etc.).
  • Describe the character's inner thoughts and self-talk when they feel insecure (e.g. negative self-talk, self-doubt, etc.).
  • Write a scene where the character's insecurity affects their relationships with others (e.g. pushing people away, being overly needy, etc.).

Want more help with showing emotion instead of telling? You find more help in our full emotions list.

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