Emotional insecurity is a sense of having a low self-worth. Most people have some level of emotional insecurity and may be more or less insecure depending on the external circumstances or mood. Insecurities can stem from previous experience and usually begin in early childhood, finding reinforcement as a person grows into adulthood. Though some level of insecurity is normal, people who are very emotionally insecure may have developed ways to deal with their insecurity that may make it difficult for them to relate with others in a healthy way.
According to some psychologists, a healthy sense of self-worth is developed during a person's infancy and very young childhood. Young children whose needs are attended to promptly develop the emotional attitude that they are deserving of safety, security, and the fulfillment of their wants, whereas children whose needs are not met question whether they deserve to have those needs met at all. While this theory does not explain all instances of emotional insecurity, many people's insecurities seem to stem from events of early childhood. Once this pattern of thinking has been started, reinforcement for the belief is sought, resulting in the accumulation of more evidence of unworthiness to have needs met, ignoring evidence to the contrary.
Some emotional insecurity is considered normal, as nobody grows up getting all his needs met as soon as they arise. These insecurities can lead to doubts about a person's abilities or anxiety about interpersonal relationships. For the most part, people are able to overcome their insecurities and live relatively normal lives, especially when they are able to understand and accommodate the insecurities of others in their lives.
Though everyone has some emotional insecurity, some people are so insecure that it interferes with their ability to engage with others in a healthy manner. Insecurity can lead to shyness and the desire to withdraw from society. It can also manifest as behaviors that compensate for and mask feelings of low self-worth, such as aggression, arrogance, and the need to dominate others. A person may manifest any or all of these behaviors to varying degrees, depending on the level of insecurity.
Emotional insecurity is normal, but in many cases, it is undesirable. People who wish to overcome their insecurities often work with a therapist to pinpoint their reasons for feeling like they do not deserve to have their needs fulfilled. By working on these issues, people can lessen their feelings of insecurity and begin to form more healthy relationships.