Do you constantly doubt whether your significant other really wants to be with you? Maybe you are always plagued by self-doubt, thinking that you aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, or athletic enough. If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, you are not alone. Many women (and men) struggle with insecurities in a relationship and find themselves frequently checking in with their significant other to reassure themselves. But if you do this, your need for validation might be sabotaging your relationship.
In my experience as a therapist, this never works out well for my clients. Treating your relationship as a source for emotional gold stars means you are going about managing your insecurities in all the wrong ways. When you push and push and push for that affirmation, you risk exhausting your significant other’s emotional reserves, that stockpile of positive sentiments that keep him feeling like the relationship is going well. He might even start to withdraw from the relationship. By pushing for confirmation that your relationship is going well, you might actually be pushing him away instead of drawing closer.
When you have a solid internal sense of security, your self-worth is not at the mercy of others and their decision to give or not give words of affirmation. Of course, this is easier said than done. Learning to deal with insecurity in a healthy way is going to be hard work, but a good place to start is reevaluating the way you approach insecurity in your relationship.
Here are two important steps to begin managing insecurity without your man’s help.
01. Figure out how your insecurity manifests.
The first step to developing a strong, internal sense of self-worth is to ask yourself how your insecurities show up in your relationship. When do you tend to seek affirmation? What types of situations, thoughts, or emotions tend to spark your insecurities? Maybe it's when you’ve had critical feedback at work or when you’re not content with your physical appearance. In these types of situations, your gut reaction might be to reach out to your significant other for reassurance. But, instead, try a different approach.
Instead of turning to you S.O., try to identify evidence from your own life and experience that proves you don’t have reason to feel secure. For example, if you had critical feedback from work, you might try bringing to mind all of the times you’ve received positive feedback.
For some people, their insecurities are very deeply rooted, whether it’s because of past negative relationship experiences or due to some kind of trauma. In these cases, or if you need some extra support as you work past your insecurities, you might want to consider psychotherapy. A therapist can help provide insight into your insecurities and your relationship patterns. They will also help you learn strategies to help you develop a stronger internal sense of security.
02. Choose a strategy for developing internal self-worth.
The second step is to intentionally work on developing a positive sense of self-worth. This won’t happen overnight, but it can be done! The good news is that there are a wealth of strategies you can use. You could start by making a list of your positive qualities, making affirming statements about yourself, keeping a gratitude journal, or doing something that help you feel confident in yourself (like signing up for a cooking or art class, going dancing with friends, or writing a kind note to someone). The secret is to pick one strategy at a time and focus on getting better and better at it. While it’s tempting to make a lot of changes at once, you may become discouraged because drastic changes can be hard to maintain. So start slow with just one.
When you develop a strong internal sense of self-worth, you can appreciate the positive and affirming feedback from your significant other as a nice bonus rather than the most important source of your affirmation.
Photo Credit: Brittni Willie