ERP 127 : What To Do When You Feel Insecure In Relationship – Part Two [Transcript]
ERP 127: What To Do When You Feel Insecure In Relationship
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Welcome to The Empowered Relationship Podcast, helping you turn relationship challenges into opportunities and setting you up for relationship success. Your host, Dr. Jessica Higgins, is a licensed psychologist and relationship coach who shares valuable tips, tools and resources for you to dramatically improve your relationship.
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Hi, thank you for joining today’s podcast episode. Today’s episode is 127, What To Do When You Feel Insecure In Relationship. I appreciate you tuning in, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to invest in the area of relationship in your life.
The goal of this podcast is to help you feel better prepared, more well-equipped in doing relationship effectively, mindfully and skillfully. As we talk about the range of topics on this show, it’s in my mind running the spectrum. If you’ve listened to my show, you’ve heard me talk about this intention, and that is to expand moments and feelings of more joy, more love, more connection. Sometimes we reach our capacity and we don’t know how to sustain more love and more joy, so part of that is just growing ourselves to be able to receive more and participate in more.
Also where we get challenged, so that we don’t label it as bad, but we can start to look at it as an opportunity. Something’s being revealed, something’s being brought up to the surface, and it’s really a curriculum for our developing and our growth. So if we can see it in that light, then we can approach this situation very differently.
Then also, the goal is to develop a stable, consistent, lasting, healthy relationships, and that requires the day in and day out interactions that compose long-lasting relationships. So it’s the lows, the highs and everything in between.
Today’s episode, again, is 127 – What To Do When You Feel Insecure In Relationship, part II.
Last week I was beginning to answer a listener’s question in regards to what to do when she feels uncomfortable, particularly in two situations, with her boyfriend… One of which is when he is watching television shows where women are nude or there’s a sex scene, or if they’re out on the beach and there’s women who are dressed in very skimpy bikinis, or very little clothing.
In last week’s podcast episode I did read her question; I also gave a little bit of a foundation of what’s involved when we’re feeling insecure, and at its basic terms I talked about not feeling good enough, as well as feeling some type of threat that we’re not sure how to deal with… And it sounds like in her question she really values her relationship, feels as though her boyfriend is amazing and a really good guy, and it feels threatening if he is giving attention to what appears to be other women and their physicality, and even though he talks about not being a visual guy, she’s still coming to terms with how to negotiate these two scenarios, and she feels uncomfortable.
In addition to talking about insecurity, I also really validated culturally what we’re up against when we see a lot of this imagery, and I talked a little bit more about that in last week’s episode… But just to recap here shortly about insecurity, I talked about four contributing factors to insecurity or feelings of insecurity. One – inadequacy, and that’s where we question our value, we question our worth. Two, anxiety. This is where our fears get evoked, and we feel as though we feel that threat and we don’t entirely know how to deal with it, and that can bring on that discomfort, that feeling of anxiety, and I also talked about attachment insecurities.
Number three, criticism. This is the inner critic, how we talk to ourselves, that inner dialogue. Then four is comparison, and this is that comparing game that we will often play… It’s a way of socially evaluating ourselves, but if we’re not careful, we can go to one end of the extreme and really always be having that sensation that we are never good enough.
I also talked about what will not work when dealing with insecurity in relationship, and this is just important to identify because we can sometimes recognize the natural impulse to deal with these insecurities, but are often not effective… And that is to try to control the environment or try to control your partner. It’s also making your partner responsible through the blame, shame or critical route.
Seeking continual reassurance – and this is not just the occasional reassurance, this is seeking reassurance as the only method of relief and comfort. Getting carried away with negative thoughts, worries and fears – this is like getting super wrapped up, going down this thought train of what could (possibly) happen, and this is imagined fear zone, that can be pretty uncomfortable and also not real.
The last thing I talked about was letting anxious feelings rule. This is when we’ve gotten blown up into that fear-based scenario, that worry, and we run with the anxiety, we let that motivate our behavior and we do things that we will not be proud of or we will be embarrassed by, or even just perplexed, “What made me do that?” and that is sometimes when we’re in that threatened place, we can sometimes get spun out and do things like check somebody’s web history, or check their phone, or break real trust.
Okay, so today we’re gonna be talking about what will work when dealing with feelings of insecurity in relationship. To gain access to today’s show notes, you can find that on my website, which is DrJessicaHiggins.com, click on Podcast, and you can find episodes there, and the show notes there. Today’s episode, again, is 127 – What To Do When You Feel Insecure In Relationship, Part II.
Today we are talking about what will work, as we might be confronted from time to time with feeling insecure, and most particularly if we notice a repetitive pattern, that again, that is an opportunity for us to do a deeper level of work. My invitation to you – I’m gonna give you several possible avenues that will work when addressing insecurity. The first one is actually taking some time to get to know your beliefs, your fears and your worries, and I have several ways to do that.
One is to understand your attachment style. As I talked about in last week’s episode, secure attachment style is the feeling of trusting, feeling confident and believing in your partner and the relationship. People who are very securely attached don’t feel as easily threatened, whereas people who have an insecure attachment style tend to have feelings of distrust, lack of confidence, and lack of belief.
If we know our attachment style, this can be really helpful in understanding our experience in relationship… Because the goal here is not “Oh, if you have an insecure attachment style, that’s bad and you’re doomed”, it’s more along the lines of “Okay, let’s really look at what’s happening inside of you, your internal experience.” That’s real, that’s important, and that’s the first place you need to start, because can’t, as much as we would like to, will ourselves into another experience; that’s not possible. We have the cards that we have, and we have to works with the cards that we have been dealt and that we have in our hand.
Some of these roots might be steeped in the past, and if we’re not willing to look at it, it’s very difficult to transform and assist the growth of developing a secure attachment. And if we do have an insecure attachment, sometimes we will recreate the dynamic from our past. So if we can be more aware, then we can enter into a healthier relationship, and over time develop that secure attachment style.
I’ll just even use myself as an example here – I believe that I had an insecure attachment style. When I was just a few months old I lost my biological father. He died. And several years later, I lost a very significant father figure in my life, and these are fundamental years – I’m talking zero to four and a half(ish), and I on some level in my late adolescence and young adult years believed that I was recreating this experience of loss. I was choosing men that were not fully available, or that I feel like we couldn’t actually sustain healthy, lasting love. And by me not being consciously aware of this insecure attachment style, I kept having that experience of loss.
As I started embarking on my individual personal growth work, I began to notice that, again, my previous pattern was to choose men that weren’t available, or to choose men that I wasn’t fully committed to on some level, because I didn’t wanna open up my heart, I didn’t wanna take that risk, so I was playing it safe. And as I entered into relationships that I did feel really wanted and I did feel that they were available, there was a lot more at risk and I saw my patterns emerge… That is to feel anxious, to feel uncertain, to feel the need to check and get reassurance, and I had to do a lot of work around how to soothe those anxieties, as well as how to engage in dynamics in relationship that allowed for developing security, developing trust. It has been an enormous amount of work, and I can say that I feel so much more secure. I would love to take a test — I probably should take a test and report back to you guys if I actually do now have a secure attachment style. I believe I do, not to say I don’t have moments where I feel insecure, but my general trend is to feel confident, believing and secure in my marriage.
I share this all because I do believe it’s incredibly important to turn inward to some of these anxieties and fears, because if we’re not aware of them, they can be running our relationship attractions, our patterns, and we will not even understand what’s at play. So part of it is just getting that awareness and that insight as to what is going on with those levels of fear and anxiety, especially as it relates to attachment style.
If you’re interested, I will put a link to a podcast that I did about “Save Your Relationship By Understanding Your Attachment Style”, something to the effect of that. And I believe in the show notes there is a link to take a test around what your attachment style is.
Under the same category of explore your beliefs, fears and worries, I’d invite identifying your operating beliefs, and this may take a little bit of time to uncover. Beliefs about relationship – what have your models been? What have you been exposed to about relationship? Loyalty, fidelity. What are your beliefs about men? Even if women really believe in their partner, their male partner, husband or boyfriend, there might be this general belief about men that they cheat, they lie, or men are pigs, or at some point they lose interest, or “Boys will just be boys”, or even about women… Can she be trusted? She’s prettier, she’s got a better body… Is she a threat? Will she try to make a move? Will she flirt? Will she respect me? Will she honor me? Why do I have to feel that competition?
As we look at these beliefs, just recognizing “Are they supportive, or are they negative? Are they limiting?” and there can be a combination here. As I talk about this, as your specific question for the listener who posed this question, I was inviting perhaps taking a deeper look at women, media, how women present themselves, objectification, hypersexualized, and really getting informed so that you can develop your own framework and your own belief system, so that you have something to stand on, rather than this feeling as though externally it’s a force that’s larger than yourself that you can’t control – I think which is true – but where can you find your control? Usually that’s an inner sense of empowerment, an inner stance, an inner ground, so that you have something solid for you to anchor into around your beliefs and your values on these topics. Because as you expose yourself and become interested, you might be asking yourself difficult questions, you might gather information that helps you come to terms with some of these conflicts. You may even wanna get support with this, talking to somebody that’s a mentor, getting support with a coach, or someone that you really trust, that you appreciate their input and you can bounce some of these ideas off of… Because these are not new topics, for millennia; these topics, of some version, have existed, and how this has been dealt with, how this has been handled.
Again, under this same topic, examine your fears. I talked about this a little bit last week… And that it could just be a good practice to put your process down on paper, so that you can look at it more clearly, objectively; you can see it outside of yourself.
I think I was posing the exercise of putting your fear down on paper and then asking “Then what?” and then asking again “Then what?” and just emptying until you get to a place, and you might actually confront your worst fear, and then asking “Then what?” Sometimes this brings a sense of “Oh, I actually could deal with this…”
Recently, I have a client that — very different situation, and she has been experiencing a lot of health issues, chronic fatigue and just feeling exhausted, and she has been a high performer in her life… And she was talking about the issue of feeling so aware of other people’s perceptions of her, and opinions of her. She has a son, and she has a husband, and I was asking her — because she was basically saying “I have a hard time just laying in bed and resting, because I’m afraid of what my son will believe of me, or my husband.” So we did this exercise, and it was incredibly, ironically, empowering for her.
I don’t wanna go into her whole process, but it was essentially this same exercise that confronted her with on some level she’s been operating that her value comes from being a good mom, being a good wife, and that really perhaps her life, her value and her essence is something even more than just being a good wife and being a good mom, and it was really impactful for her. So it can connect us with a sense of our confidence in dealing with some of these fears, because sometimes unconsciously we don’t even wanna deal with them, so we’re actively avoiding them, so we expand all our energy actively avoiding that we never even face it intellectually or mentally or emotionally, and yet, if we did, we could actually find a deeper well of our strength and resource that we didn’t know existed, because we were spending all of our time avoiding.
This exercise may not only be able to help you explore your fears and look at them more closely, it may also help you distinguish more easily what’s real and where you may be imagining things, filling in the blanks. If you see it all on paper, you can say “Hm, actually I may have made that up” or “I might have filled in the blank there” or “I might have been taking that one step further than what actually is”, and it’s a little bit easier to really manipulate and look at.
Last one under the category of explore your fears, beliefs and worries – get to know your inner voice, how you talk to yourself. Again, I talked about last week what perhaps is going on in the critical realm, your inner critic. Here it’s not only looking at that inner voice, but can you invite other voices to the party? I have a client and he was crippled with self-doubt, self-criticism, so much so that he would send a really thoughtful e-mail to a dear friend and he would perhaps not hear back right away, and he would go into catastrophizing, really imagining the worst-case scenario, and he would assume the worst, think horrible thoughts about how he possibly offended them, and that he said the wrong thing, and that maybe they wouldn’t wanna be friends anymore.
As time went on, the person would get back and perhaps they would say “Thank you so much for your thoughtful, meaningful e-mail/letter. It meant the world to me. It was touching and so heartfelt and I was deeply moved”, and he would then be in a position of “Okay, wow…! In the meantime I was putting myself through such torment, and was essentially punishing myself…” So the inner critic was incredibly strong. One of the things that we talked about – and now he’s in a much better place, where he’s having kindness and appreciation towards himself, and really liking himself… And it’s been many years, so he’s worked really hard at his, but one of the things we started with was perhaps suspending judgment, just giving a little bit of space to gather more information, and that then could put his judgment in a place of just suspending and not jumping to conclusions.
That’s just one idea, but just recognizing what’s your inner voice. Because if you’re looking at a woman that is on television and she appears to have a perfect body, and it’s probably really easy to compare and then start being critical, and “My chest doesn’t look like that” or “My buxom doesn’t look like that”, or “My thighs don’t look like that”, or whatever it is… It’s easy to go into feeling that lack, and really that’s a way of hurting and harming ourselves… So to recognize that critical voice.
Okay, moving on to a next topic. These are all things that are more effective in dealing with insecurity in relationships… And this is to create a safe space. One of the things that complicates matters is that we will tend to fight ourselves. We will pretend that we’re fine and we’re good and we have no issue at all. “I’m strong, I’m good, I’ve got it all under control”, yet deep down there’s this vulnerable, hurting part of ourselves that’s feeling threatened and scared and alone and in pain.
I have several clients that fit into this category, one of which I just got done meeting with her. She’s young and she’s beautiful and she’s smart and she’s got a good heart, and she’s super fun, and she struggles with herself. She has a really hard time dropping into her vulnerable place, because she is strong, she is capable, but then there’s also this part that is having a difficult time, so she’s ping-ponging back and forth, and it’s really difficult for her to get the support and a safe kind of soothing because she doesn’t allow herself that vulnerability.
I have another client, he really struggles with even giving merit to the emotional world at all, and based on his past experiences of his upbringing, his experience with peers, he’s like “What’s the point? People don’t care”, and he basically bottles up all of his emotional experience, and the way it comes out is he’s frustrated with people, he feels angry, his fuse is really short, he gets really mad at somebody if they pull out in front of him… And I start to ask him what is going on in his life, and it all makes sense to me; I’m listening to all the things that he is feeling in his relationship, and feeling trapped, and there’s some things that haven’t been addressed, and he’s holding all this frustration, and it makes sense, but then I ask him to give that some value, and for him it’s just a total 180 from the way he normally operates, and it’s difficult for him to hold that place, again, of vulnerability.
He tends to run that inner dialog that he should have it figured out, that he should do a better job, and that it doesn’t have to be about anything that’s going on in his life or underlying concerns. So I’ve really invited him to do some of this work of honoring his emotional world.
One of the articles that I have encouraged him to look at and I think I have offered to you guys and in previous podcast episodes is an article titled Emotions As An Honored House Guest, and it’s a really great metaphor, and then also have some questions to prompt some of the turning inward around the emotional experience and just giving it value… So I encourage that as well.
In the theme of creating safe space, one of the things I want to encourage also is taking really good care of yourself. In the beginning stages when you’re negotiating some of these things and you’re feeling discomfort, it’s possible that you may want to go to the other room if he’s watching a show that feels particularly explicit, and just take care of yourself. Because if you’re feeling like you’re getting blasted by these waves and you’re barely keeping your head above water, but you’re staying in the ocean where the wave is breaking, that’s not giving you a chance to catch your breath. So can you go to your own area, maybe put in your earbuds, listen to some soothing music or music that you enjoy, get into your body, stretch, or perhaps go take a hot bath, or go for a walk… Something that feels pleasurable and enjoyable for you, where you can really feel your own space, your own goodness, your own energy.
From the article Four Ways To Stop Feeling Insecure In Your Relationships by Jennice Vilhauer, I quote here:
“Feeling secure in a relationship depends on trusting the other person but, more importantly, on learning to trust yourself. Trust yourself to know that no matter what the other person does, you will take care of you. Trust yourself to know that you won’t ignore your inner voice when it tells you that something isn’t right. Trust yourself not to hide your feelings, trust yourself to make sure your needs are met, and trust yourself that you won’t lose your sense of self-identity. Trust yourself to know that if the relationship isn’t working, you will be able to leave and still be a wholly functioning individual. When you trust yourself, feeling secure is almost a guarantee.”
Now, I put this here because it’s in the realm of taking care of yourself, and she gives lots of really great examples around how to take care of yourself.
In the theme of creating safety, I also have here the invitation of being vulnerable. Some of my greatest opportunities for really doing this work of taking care of myself, creating safety, has been to acknowledge the fear and the threatening feelings… Because truly, if I don’t acknowledge it, it’s really hard to give to those needs or attend to those needs. So I think one of my biggest challenges has been to acknowledge – it’s almost humbling – to recognize that I’m afraid. Because if I’m busy trying to manage my fear or control the situation or whatever strategy I’m engaged in, I’m not actually looking at the fact that I’m afraid and that I’m scared.
Some of the biggest work for me has been to turn inward, acknowledge my fear, take care of myself, and then perhaps even do the difficult work of being really honest with my partner, and allowing my partner to help, but coming from a place where I’m being vulnerable, I’m acknowledging it, and then he’s offering to help because he cares. It’s not about me blaming him, making him responsible and trying to protest to get him to do what I want. Instead, if I can turn inward, face that fear of abandonment, as I mentioned… It has been some of my most challenging work ever, and it’s been some of my most rewarding work.
In the past, I would feel threatened rather easily if I saw him talking to a beautiful woman, or if he was describing a professional relationship with another woman, and I would be feeling somewhat cautious, and I would be tentative. Now, fast-forward, with all the work that I’ve done – yeah, I pay attention, but I trust him, because we’ve had a lot of years to develop trust, but I also feel way more secure in myself and secure in the relationship. Now if I see a beautiful woman talking to my husband, I can appreciate, perhaps even if she were flirting with him – now, I might get a little cautious and feel perhaps jealous, but I will be appreciating that she sees value in him and his positive qualities, and I might be even like “Yeah, that’s my man”, like that’s a good thing. Like I said, that hasn’t always been the case.
A silly side note – when my husband and I got married, we did several events. It was a weekend experience, because our family had never met before and probably I don’t know when they’ll ever see each other again… They live in all parts of the country. So we wanted to have a real experience for people to share together, and one of the things that we did is we had a creative sharing; kind of like a talent show, but it had different things that people were doing. Reid, my husband, and his mother made a quilt and she shared that. One of Reid’s friends did a slideshow and it was really cute, and silly, and it was all about Reid… And then my best friend, she and her family did this whole dance, and it was really moving and beautiful… We had friends doing all kinds of stuff.
My brother MC’ed that part, and he was hysterical. He had jokes, and he sang a song, and everybody was raving about just what a great job he did. And to kick the night off, we have two friends, and she was like “I was surprised… I wanna do something. Will you let us do a little game?” and I was like “Okay…” She said “I need about 20 minutes, but I don’t wanna tell you what it is.” And this particular friend, she’s German and she’s American as well – she has dual citizenship, but she was born in Germany and moved to the states at around 18, 19.
My brother opens up the creative sharing event, and he has a little intro piece, and just warming everybody up, and then my two friends come up and they are asking Reid and I to come up forward onto the stage that’s been created. And there’s two chairs sitting back to back, and she asks us both to sit down, and we’re sitting back to back. She asks us to exchange our right shoe, so I grab Reid’s right shoe and he grabs my right shoe. So essentially, we each have our shoe in our left hand and we have our partner’s shoe in the right hand.
Then she proceeds. She said “I’m gonna read a list of statements. If you feel that you are more of this statement, then you raise your shoe. If you feel that your partner resonates more for them, you raise their shoe.” So she proceeds and she says “Who does more dishes?” and I think we both — I couldn’t see what he was doing, but people were cracking up, because perhaps we both think we’re more clean, or “Who’s the better kisser? Who’s the better dancer?” And then she says “Who’s more jealous?” and I thought about it and I reluctantly raise my shoe, and everybody’s giggling and laughing… It was a great game and bonding for our loved ones to really get an inside scoop around some of our ways of being. I guess the whole goal is to get 80% in congruence, and I think we passed the test.
It was fun, but my point is it’s just a silly way of sharing with you that between the two of us I have definitely been the more jealous one.
As I acknowledge the fact that I had an insecure attachment style, and also was prone to being a little more jealous, and these things contributed to my feeling threatened or feeling fear in relationship with my husband. And part of what has been a game changer is my ability to work towards being vulnerable. Now, that doesn’t always come automatically; it’s sometimes a process. But I can tell you my husband, any time I attempted to be crafty and skillful and addressing him and talking about the situation, and how it was concerning to me for whatever reason, he really didn’t engage or respond in a way that I was really looking for. But as soon as I got vulnerable with him or shared with him the vulnerable truth, he would lean in, and I would feel his engagement, I would feel his support and I would feel his connection. So all of the attempts to try to get him to reassure me or create safety didn’t work until I was willing to be vulnerable and show him that.
And as I’ve mentioned along the way in this series, I really truly believe that trust is built over time, and that if I give my husband an opportunity to show up and let him see my vulnerability, that’s where I get to see him show up and I feel him show up, and that’s where the trust gets built. It’s not something I can manage or facilitate.
The next bigger point I wanna talk about here is learning to tolerate the uncertainty. It’s a huge risk to open up our heart and to love, and to really invest ourselves fully, and there are no guarantees, for no one, even if you are married or have a commitment that’s supposedly for life partnership, there are no guarantees.
If you listen to the episode about forgiveness with Dr. Fred Luskin, he did a beautiful job of really talking about this vulnerability and how fragile we really are in life, and how so many circumstances will require us to face hardship, and do we get bitter and resentful and close down, or do we face that vulnerability and continue to live?
As we talk about vulnerability in relationship, it is tremendous. Again, it can feel as though our partner has the power to utterly destroy us, and at the same time it creates the possibility, right? Loving, and being connected creates that possibility for connection, partnership and companionship, to love and to be loved.
Now, I really believe that confidence builds when we’re able to turn towards the vulnerability and face the uncertainty. And as we do that, I believe we build some sense of self-efficacy. Learning to have confidence in ourself, trusting ourselves that we can handle what is yet to come. Part of the worry and the anxiety is what we build up in our mind, and often times that is way more traumatic and scary than it actually is. That’s not to say we won’t face hardship and pain and disappointment and loss, but if we can believe in our ability to deal with those things, it really greatly reduces anxiety and worry and insecurity.
There’s a client that I used to work with and he was in college and I worked with him for many years, and part of his mantra, if you will, was “I will be okay.” Because he would worry and have a lot of negative thinking about different scenarios, be it career, relationship, whatever… And he was really hard on himself, had that inner critic strong, and part of what brought him that solace of being at peace was just beginning to believe in himself that he will get through it, he will be okay.
The uncertainty is — again, I just wanna re-validate – a real thing. I can tell you little moments with my husband I will feel some level of grief, and that is if I have a strong desire for something, or want, and he’s not available or he’s not interested… And I can feel disappointed and some sense of loss around what I had hoped for or yearned for. So it can be like little mini grievings in a relationship, but again, if I let go of the need to control or have it my way, it’s facing that vulnerability that I’m in relationship with someone else that might not agree with me, and I might get disappointed, and I might feel somewhat hurt, and that I will be okay.
Two more points to share with you on what will work when dealing with insecurity in relationship. Get some distance and perspective. Sometimes this has to do with just getting out in the nature, calling a dear friend, turning on some music and maybe doing a dance break… It’s really about filling up yourself, bringing joy – and I did speak to this a moment ago, around creating some real space for yourself, taking care of yourself. But sometimes the perspective of changing your environment, getting into nature is great, because we will get outside of ourselves, Sometimes we can be so wrapped up in our own mind, and we can really distort our perspective, we lose perspective.
In the same article that I’ve just quoted, Four Ways To Stop Feeling Insecure In Your Relationship:
“Maintaining your sense of self-identity and taking care of your needs for personal well-being are the keys to keeping a healthy balance in a relationship. When you aren’t dependent on your relationship to fill all of your needs, you feel more secure about your life. Being an independent person who has things going on outside of the relationship also makes you a more interesting and attractive partner. Ways to maintain your independence include: Making time for your own friends, interests, and hobbies, maintaining financial independence, and having self-improvement goals that are separate from your relationship goals. In essence: Don’t forget to do you.”
This I think is really related to the self-care that I talked about a moment ago, but I also think our loved ones can help us, like our dear friend can help point out things that we might be overlooking, or can help bring perspective.
And I mentioned music, right? Sometimes music can change our emotional state. If you’re feeling insecure, or down, and you turn on a really happy dance jam, and you kind of start dancing and just moving your body, you could start to feel your body feel more confident, feel more alive, and really feel like “Okay, yeah… I can shift my experience a little bit here. I’m not always comfortable with the situation with my boyfriend, and I’m still feeling me and my own worthiness and security.”
That brings me to the last point, which is practice self-validation. What do you appreciate about yourself? Qualities, traits, efforts and intentions, right? “I’m kind, I work hard, I love fiercely, I’m thoughtful, I’m affectionate, I’m honest, I’m caring, I’m trustworthy, I’m smart…”, whatever it is that you can begin to see credit in and value in inside yourself.
In episodes past I’ve mentioned this appreciation exercise that can sometimes be a handy exercise to really shift a dynamic between you and your partner, and that is each person gives the other three appreciations and gives three appreciations to themselves.
Now, it’s interesting when I’ve invited couples to do this. I don’t do it very often, but when I do, I find that couples have an easier time appreciating one another than they do themselves. Very often we are not in the practice of giving ourself acknowledgement. You might even look at how do you add value and contribution, and being a person of increase in your partner’s life or in your relationship? Being specific about how you make a difference.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t like and didn’t do well, focus on what you do like and you do do well, because truthfully, this is your life. There’s only one you in the whole entire world, and to value your life and what you have to offer is incredibly important. No one else is gonna be able to do that job better than you.
And again, I think I’ve mentioned in episodes past, most people will take their cue from you. If you are lowering your standard and your value, people might see you and love you, but they’re gonna recognize, “Am I seeing something inaccurately? How come she doesn’t think of herself that highly?” and it can be a little confusing. Other people would be like “Yeah, well I can get over on this person”, and not that you wanna be in relationship with that type of person that was willing to get over on someone and take advantage, but if we see someone that is enjoying themselves and feeling confident, we’re usually interested. “What have they got going on? I like what they’re doing, I wanna see what’s happening over there.” It’s just of interest, and we will take that cue. It’s like an energy that we will respond to.
Last quote from this article, Four Ways To Stop Feeling Insecure In Your Relationships:
“Feeling good about who you are is a win-win for the relationship. You get to enjoy the sense of well-being that comes with genuinely liking yourself, and self-confidence is an attractive quality that makes your partner want to be closer to you.”
I will recap here the ways that I’m suggesting to deal with insecurity that do work.
1. Explore your beliefs, fears and worries. That involves understanding your attachment style, identifying your beliefs, examining your fears, getting to know your inner voice.
2. Create a safe space. Be vulnerable and trust will come over time, as you both show up in relationship.
3. Learn to tolerate the uncertainty.
4. Get some perspective and distance.
5. Practice self-validation.
And the last thing I wanna say about self-validation, I would encourage to try to do this as a habit. Develop a routine, whether or not it’s every night before you go to bed, or when you’re brushing your teeth, or when you’re driving in the car… Something that you do every day, and just take a moment to really look a the positives. Where else do we get that time to give ourself positive feedback? Rarely do we do this.
I hope these tips have been helpful in answering this listener’s question and addressing what to do when we feel insecure in relationship. I have some podcast links that I will put on the show notes. If you wanna find the show notes, you can find that on my website, which is DrJessicaHiggins.com, click on Podcast and you can find all the episodes there.
If you have a question or a relationship concern that you would like me to talk about in an upcoming podcast, please feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, I hope you take great care.
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