Despite the plethora of messages of empowerment that can be found, women’s insecurities continue to be an issue. This is because we live in a world where societal norms, expectations, and standards, social and mainstream media often shape our perceptions of beauty and self-worth. The most common type of insecurities that women grapple with are body image related and career related.

Insecurity breeds self-doubt, uncertainty, low self-esteem, self-deprecating acts and in some extreme cases self-loathing. Typical consequences of women’s insecurities are far reaching including indecisiveness, avoidance behavior, and negative health impacts. To understand women’s insecurities and to promote self-acceptance, it is important to first understand their root causes and we will explore some of the causes below.

Beauty standards a contributor to women’s insecurities

Society has, for centuries, placed so much value on women’s beauty and physical attractiveness. Beauty pageants, advertisements, and films continue to push a stereotypical narrative of what it means to be a beautiful woman.

Although women’s rights activists continue to speak against the objectification of women particularly in the media, women continue to be exposed to unattainable beauty standards of size zero waists; flawless skin; full lips; and symmetrical, pearly white teeth, among other physical perfections.

As a result, most women tend to measure themselves against the airbrushed and curated standard of beauty that has been popularized, often leading to feelings of inadequacy and in some cases risky behaviors.

Thousands of American women undergo body modification surgeries to look and feel more attractive. These modification procedures range from getting fuller lips, thinner noses, breast augmentation and rib removal.

As is the case with all procedures, beauty modification procedures also carry potential risks. Some women lose their lives on the operating table undergoing non-medical, cosmetic surgeries. While every individual has the right to bodily autonomy, it is quite alarming to see the risks that people are willing to take to look a certain way.

In Psalm 139:14 (NIV) the Bible says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” This is a powerful verse with which women can use to fight the urge to conform to societal standards of beauty. In trying to comprehend this verse, it is important to remember that every word in the Bible comes from God Himself.

Psalm 139:14 teaches us that every human being, including every woman, regardless of their size, height, and other physical appearances are fearfully and wonderfully made. The verse goes on to say, “I know that full well.” This implies that the author had a deep conviction and was not just saying empty words.

Every time you find yourself feeling insecure about your looks or when you feel tempted to compare yourself to another woman on a glossy magazine cover, remind yourself of this verse.

Pressure to look young forever

Societal attitudes have perpetuated the idea that women’s worth and desirability decreases as they grow older. Youthfulness is epitomized as the standard of beauty and attractiveness. It is not often that you see romantic movies or beauty products advertisements starring older women.

As they grow older, many women become conscious about their age. This is why we often hear the saying that a woman doesn’t reveal her age. Due to deeply ingrained societal attitudes, women are made to feel ashamed about their age. Women are shamed for going through life’s natural process of aging and for not attaining certain milestones by a certain age for example, being married and having children.

These attitudes have detrimental effects on women’s confidence, self-esteem, and mental well-being, ultimately affecting women’s quality of life. Instead of appreciating life as a gift, a lot of time is wasted trying to unearth the secret to eternal youth.

The beauty industry capitalizes on these insecurities through selling beauty products which are meant to slow down the aging process. It is estimated that the cosmetic industry in the United States generated a revenue between 30 and 40 billion in 2023 alone.

These harmful perceptions about women’s age must be challenged. Women must be encouraged to enjoy their lives, embrace it, and celebrate the blessing of long lives. While aging has its own set of physical and emotional issues, life should be cherished because it is precious.

Psalm 90:12 (NIV) says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” This verse teaches us that life is finite and that, as believers, we need to focus our time and energy on his kingdom and pursuing His wisdom.

Instead of viewing aging as something to be ashamed of, we must embrace it as a natural part of the cycle of life. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (NIV) captures this succinctly: “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” While wars, natural disasters, and diseases are ravaging the world, every day that we breathe is precious and should be spent giving God his glory.

Women’s insecurities and gender stereotypes

Many professions were historically closed off to women as a result of gender stereotypes. Politics, government, science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, certain medicine specialties, business, and finance were challenging for women to break in to. Top leadership positions were surely off-limits.

Although there has been a significant shift in policies and laws which now make it possible for women to hold any job in these fields, unconscious bias, societal attitudes, and expectations continue to make it difficult for women to enter and thrive in these male dominated fields.

It is not surprising that some women who are in these fields have to battle a number of insecurities.

They are aware that certain people expect them to fail just because they are women. In some instances, their counterparts make it challenging for these women to succeed. Their confidence takes a knock in these hostile professional settings. At times, they have to bend over backwards to prove that they are equally competent. It is important for every woman in male dominated fields to remember that their presence in that industry a testament of their abilities.

Women’s worth and value are not and should not be determined by societal expectations. By entering male dominated industries and fields, women pave the way for other women to follow their footsteps. Their success is inspirational. Their believe in themselves and their potential to excel in their chosen field is critical. By meditating on empowering Bible verses, women can find strength and courage to overcome their insecurities to thrive in their jobs.

Philippians 4:13 (NIV) says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” This verse encourages women to rely on God’s strength to face challenges and obstacles. They can gird themselves with the fact that it is not through their own strength that they will succeed but that of God. The same God who raised people from the dead is the same God from whom women can draw strength and support.

Feeling insecure about something?

If you are a woman who is fighting insecurities, you must remember that you are not alone in your journey. Many women understand the struggles you are facing. Consider an appointment with a counselor to help you navigate your misgivings. Reach out to our offices today. We will connect you to a counselor that can guide you on the journey to overcome your insecurities and help you build confidence and self-esteem.

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