emotional wellbeing Mandy Kloppers

How to manage insecurity in relationships

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Insecurity in relationships is an experience we all go through at some point. When you are in love, it’s normal to feel insecurity in relationships sometimes. Making yourself vulnerable means you always run the risk of getting hurt. I should know, I have been hurt too many times to count. The good news is that there are things that you can do to manage insecurity in relationships and help yourself, while still navigating the tricky challenges of being in a relationship.

Work on self-acceptance

Always know what you are worth. What do you like doing? What are your strengths and what are your values in life? When you like yourself you will find that you feel less insecure in relationships.

No one can properly validate you apart from yourself – you can take self-validation everywhere because it’s inside!!

If your relationship leaves you feeling you aren’t good enough, use this as a sign that there is a lack in your relationship dynamic. It might be a lack of empathy from your boyfriend or girlfriend (and they may not realise) or it could be that your partner puts you down in subtle ways. The odd occurrence is to be expected but regular patterns of patronising or condescending behaviour need to be nipped in the bud if you want to manage your insecurity in relationships. You want to be dating your equal, not your parent. A judgemental partner will wear you down over time so be sure to maintain a strong sense of self and speak up if you feel your partner is knocking your confidence frequently.

Unsurprisingly, studies have found that people with low self-esteem experience more insecurity in relationships, which can prevent them from experiencing the benefits of a loving connection. People with low self-esteem not only want their partner to see them in a better light than they see themselves, but in moments of self-doubt, they have trouble even recognizing their partner’s affirmations.

Pace yourself

If the relationship is the right one for you, and hopefully it is, it will go from strength to strength. What’s the hurry? Take time to get to know your partner. It takes a minimum of six months to start understanding your partner’s character so it’s advisable to wait at least 6-8 months before moving in together. Taking it slow gives time for any hidden negative behaviours to surface before you get in too deep. Don’t ignore the warning signs. We often ignore the worrying signs because we so want to be in love but ignore them at your peril. I don’t advise it.

Knowing your attachment style is beneficial, because it can help you to realize ways you may be recreating a dynamic from your past. It can help us to choose better partners and form healthier relationships, which can actually, in turn, change our attachment style and reduce insecurity in relationships.

Stay grounded

Emotions can get the better of you in the beginning stage of a relationship. Hormones are raging and infatuation can be overpowering, making it harder to manage your insecurities in relationships. It’s a wonderful feeling but try not to get too caught up it in all without stopping and thinking first. Believe that you are a worthy partner and that anyone in a relationship with you is lucky to have you. Seeking reassurance can make you feel even more insecure. Show yourself that you can tolerate the uncertainty of not knowing exactly what your partner is thinking, how much they really love you, or where they are located at all times. Tolerate the discomfort. Find other ways to self-soothe and increase your self-confidence – friends/work/gym etc

Maintain balance

Make an effort with your friends and don’t give up your own interests. If you love pottery – keep going with that. A sign of codependency is when someone gives up all that they are interested in and they morph into what they think their partner wants them to be. Create balance between friends, interests, self-care and relationships

As Daniel Siegel has said, the goal for a relationship should be to make a fruit salad and not a smoothie. In other words, we shouldn’t forego essential parts of who we are in order to become merged into a couple.

Use affirmations and positive coping statements

Don’t obsess – especially if your validation comes from relationships. Make sure you have projects you are working on and derive self-esteem from other sources. Keep busy with your own interests and future goals and it will help you manage your insecurities in relationships. You are not your thoughts. You are the leader, the captain, and the one who oversees and “observes” your thought stream. Observing your thoughts leaves room to examine if they are as true and accurate as they may feel to you in a difficult moment.

Stay in control of your emotions

Successfully managing the ebbs and flows of a romantic partnership means being able to regulate your emotions. Things are going to hurt you, upset you, anger you, worry you, and you have to find a way to soothe yourself. When we are vulnerable and in love and get close with someone, that closeness invariably brings the full range of emotions.

Many times, anxiety can be accompanied by physical reactions, including rapid heart rate, chest tightness, or lightheadedness. Practice body scanning techniques to increase your self-awareness. Deep breathing, guided meditation, yoga, or doing an activity that focuses on one of your five senses are ways to self-soothe. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when looking for anxiety remedies that work for you.

Express yourself by communicating and problem-solving

If you don’t share with your partner your deeper experiences, anxieties, or emotions, then they have no way of understanding you and what you need. Learn to communicate and also to listen to what your partner shares about their world.

If you find your insecurities are causing issues in your relationship – consider therapy. While insight and open communication are essential, sometimes you need perspective from a trained outside source to fully grasp how your insecurity is linked to more complex dynamics. In turn, your therapist can work with you to cope with your insecurity.

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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