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How to Overcome Your Deep Insecurity of “I Feel Stupid”

How to Overcome Your Deep Insecurity of “I Feel Stupid”

Do you often say to yourself “I feel stupid”, “I am dumb” or “I am so slow”…even though a part of you knows that this can’t be true? 

Do you feel stupid and slow because you can’t do Math, handle numbers or once had poor exam scores (even though you have graduated years and years ago)?

Because you believe that you are “stupid”, “slow” or “dumb”, do you then tell yourself that you are “not capable”, “good enough” or “such a failure in life”? 

If you have answered “yes” to the above questions, you probably go into anxiety whenever your mind spins the negative story of “I feel stupid/slow/dumb”. 

Anxiety show up with chronic symptoms such as tightness in the throat, pressure in the stomach or even a hanging grey cloud that envelopes your head. 

With the story of “I am not good enough” playing loudly in your ears like a broken recorder, you find it difficult to focus on anything else . Your brains stop working, paralysis sets in and  you go into panic mode. And the more you panic, the more you are unable to perform the task at hand. 

Soon, the story that plays in your mind becomes more and more dramatic and you sink into misery, believing that you are pretty much a failure and will never amount to much in life. 

And if you are aware enough, you’d realise that the story of “I feel stupid” could have originated at a time when you were in school. Hence, even though you have graduated years ago, the “trauma” of not scoring well academically still haunts you till today.

Common Negative Consequences from the Insecurity of “I feel Stupid/Dumb/Slow”

Clearly, there are negative consequences to holding on to the “stupid/dumb/slow” belief. I compiled a list in my notes that I had gathered from working with clients…

  • Hold yourself back from pursuing opportunities,
  • Can’t speak up or in front of an audience for fear of looking stupid or slow,
  • Keep beating yourself up for being stupid, dumb or slow and unable to try anything new,
  • Short-change yourself because you believe that you are inferior or second best,
  • Give power away to others because you are the less intelligent one. 
  • Unable to reach your full potential for years. 
  • Result in numbness, apathy or even depression. 

The stakes to wellness are obviously high!

My Recent Discovery

Recently, I found myself handling more and more clients with situations on “I feel slow”, “I feel stupid” and “I feel dumb”.

From working today, we found out that the root belief came from “I am not good enough because I can’t do this subject”. In particular, Maths was cited as the one they had faced the greatest challenges with. 

What’s most interesting to me is that one after another, client situations started to surface after I had just released an old belief of “I am slow” myself. And one such client was Deborah (not her real name). 

How Deborah’s “I feel Stupid” Story Came From Her Inability to Be Faster in Math

Deborah has had low self-confidence ever since she can remember. However, she did not fully grasp how her insecurity has been affecting her until we started working together.  It has pretty much affected her in her work and social life. 

As she constantly plays herself down, Deborah has been unable to put herself out there. She found herself falling behind her peers. They were getting promoted a lot faster and earning higher pay, even though she has been working hard. 

Through our session together, she realised that whenever she was insecure, she would feel anxious. Interestingly, her anxiety has a story of “I feel stupid” to it. 

When Deborah traced back in time, her story originated at a time when she was in high school and trying to learn Math from her “genius brother”. He was always the brilliant one, she said. Because her genius brother had found her slow or slower, he called her “stupid”. 

Deborah even found it ironical that she had the belief “I feel stupid” because she eventually did find herself enjoying Math and doing computations. She is also fairly competent in what she does. Yet, the belief “I feel stupid” had stopped her from pursuing opportunities for more than a decade. That’s a darn long time of being held back by a limiting belief! As mentioned, it cost her financially!

My Story of “I am Slow”

Not too long ago, while attempting to learn a hedging strategy for managing investment portfolio risk,  I found myself uttering “I am slow”. I got into a fluster because I was relatively new to this strategy, which involved making computations with various sets of numbers and because there would be a financial impact if I make an error. 

My husband pointed out my overreaction as something unwarranted; which at first, I did not take his comments positively. (It can be infuriating to have your spouse point out something unflattering about you, don’t you think?) Anyway, sitting back and reflecting a while later , I realised that what he said he was true.

It’s subtle but it’s definitely there: the belief “I am slow”. It finally dawned on me that I have had it for a long time but had not done enough to address it. With the understanding that holding on to this belief was no longer serving my highest good, I worked on releasing it with a coach.

I also found it insightful to realise that I have been making up for being “slow” with working hard. My thinking was that with being “slow”, I could need double the time to “get it”. However, while diligence is a good trait to cultivate, I would put myself under unnecessary pressure. Doing hard work mindlessly does not always guarantee results. On the other hand, if I had chosen to relax more, I could have gotten the same job done with a lot more ease. I’d be a lot more effective and efficient! 

Well, right after I worked on releasing “I feel slow”, I found myself helping more clients who reported to having low self-confidence and who had unresolved negative emotions for not getting ideal scores back in their school days. 

How Comparing to Others Anchors in the “I Feel Stupid/Dumb/Slow” Belief

Comparison is the thief of peace and joy. Back then, I had become convinced that I was slow when I was compared to my “efficient cousin” who was a year older than me. In Deborah’s case, it was always being compared to “genius brother”. For Janice, it was her “smart sister” and the sinking feeling that she would always be “second best”. 

Invariably, when someone authoritative in our family measures our performance against others and rates us to be inferior, we do the same to ourselves. We conclude that we are indeed, slower, dumber and more stupid in Math….which eventually becomes we are slow, dumb and stupid…and not just in Maths but in all aspects of our lives too. 

“What a failure I am”, we say to ourselves. 

Here’s the thing: Someone may have once called us “stupid, slow or dumb”…but the number of things we mentally call ourselves “stupid, slow or dumb” could be more than 100 times! It happens when we can’t let go of the disappointment that we feel about ourselves. So on and on, we put ourselves down. As it is often said, we are our greatest enemies!

Is Your Low Confidence Coming from an Inability to Let Go of Getting Poor Exam Scores in School?

Chances are if you have low self-confidence and often label yourself as “stupid/slow/dumb”, you’d never get far in life. 

All in, we need to work on shattering old beliefs that are not true. That we are “dumb”, “stupid” or “slow” is false. Just because we couldn’t do Math when we were young or not as fast as someone else does not make us “dumb”, “stupid” or “slow”. Intelligence is not based on academic results alone. 

Also, how well we do in life is not solely dependent on school grades if at all. Think about the successful people in the world, many of whom dropped out from school. Neither have they ever topped their class.

Those who approached me had wanted to work on low confidence issues. Which led us to discover that their deep rooted anxiety about themselves were merely the symptoms but the cause came from the root belief of “I am stupid/dumb/slow” because “I was not good in a school subject such as Math”. They had formed the belief because they did not know any better back then. No one told them otherwise. Nor did they receive positive encouragement.

Reflecting on this is making me wonder if more of us have the same negative belief but are not consciously aware that it is affecting us somehow. Should you be reading this post with great interest, it’s likely that you or someone you know is having this issue. 

overcome insecurity

Hence, if you’d like to find out, here’s what can be done….

  1. Ask yourself If your mind is often saying “I am stupid/dumb/slow” or “I feel stupid/dumb/slow”.
  2. If it is, tune in on how this is making you feel and what is the emotional story like.
  3. Go quiet and allow your unconscious mind to show you the picture of a time in the past where you’ve had the same feeling and emotional story. It may have something to do with a school subject, or it may not. It may have been someone who compared you to someone smarter, for instance. Or you failing to top your class. 

And if there is something negative that has come up for you, take appropriate action to release the disruption (try EFT tapping) and install a new positive belief.

Transform “I feel Stupid” to Confidence! 

If you have attempted to release and overcome the insecurity of “I feel stupid/dumb/slow” on your own but have not gotten results or made much of a headway, it’s likely that your negative patterns are more deeply embedded than you’ve realised.

Going back to the past to address unresolved emotions and limiting beliefs involves a therapeutic process. The process works, as I have seen it happen again and again with the people I have worked with. You are addressing issues at root cause. When you integrate a new belief into your energy system, it brings about transformative results from the inside-out!

Obviously, a belief such as…

I am smart 
I am good enough.
I am capable enough

serves you a lot better! 

You’d want to install the new belief at the subconscious level, so that true confidence can set in! Don’t procrastinate any longer. This issue is potentially costing you emotionally, mentally and financially. Just imagine how free you’d be without your old story of “I feel stupid” and the dreams you can conquer!

Love and Abundance Always, 
Evelyn Lim

by EVELYN 
First, let me introduce myself. My vision is to turn dreams into reality through self-awareness, inspiring others to do the same. The various roles I play in the school of life include being a life coach, mother, wife, ex-Banker, Singaporean, and an internet entrepreneur. In terms of qualifications, I am also a Certified Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner, an Intuitive Consultant, and Vision Board Counselor. On this blog, I share about the various personal insights I have gained, my successes and challenges. I have since published books and programs such as Abundance Alchemy: Journey of Gold, Self-Love Secrets and Life Vision Mastery.
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