Everyone has them. They stem from many different places. Some we have control over, and others linger a bit more than we would like them to.
I often struggle with my inner demons: self-loathing, low self-esteem and the like. (Most of these come from previous relationships.) And although it has been a slow process, I am a work in progress, and every day seems to get a little bit better.
When it comes to relationships, I tend to cower and not fully open up to those close to me. I was always afraid I would be judged or not liked by other people if I opened up too much. I’d often keep opinions to myself or not say exactly what was on my mind to avoid any sort of conflict that might arise if I did. This has changed some as I have aged, but I am still pretty timid.
Then I fell madly in love with a man who was different than any other man I had ever been in a relationship with. He accepted me—as I was, as I am and as I will be. He has allowed me to work on myself and realizes that I still have some work to do, but he allows me that space to be who I am without fear. He allows me to see my potential and reminds me every day that I am loved despite my fears and insecurities.
I still filter what I allow myself to say, but he accepts this too. And, in time, that filtering will become less and less. As I’ve worked to put my insecurities to rest, I have come up with several reminders to help guide me.
I have to remember:
Not everything is about me. I can’t always take things so personally.
My partner is his own person, and I never want to change that.
My past relationships are no reflection of my current relationship and vice versa. I need to simply let those relationships be lessons which can allow me to become the best person I can be for me, for my partner and for our relationship.
I need to be respectful of my partner’s innermost thoughts; they are his and his alone. It is his decision whether he chooses to share them with me. I need to remove the need to know I have become mentality accustomed to, because it is only a coping mechanism for the fear of the unknown.
Even if my partner has other women in his life, that does not mean he’s not loyal to me. It is important to me that my partner maintains his friendships and sets appropriate boundaries, as will I.
Sometimes our opinions will differ, and sometimes my partner may not like what I have to say. And that is okay. My thoughts and opinions matter and are important.
My partner’s silence does not always mean there is something wrong. Sometimes it is okay to just share space together.
I am loved, even when “I love you” is not actually spoken. Actions speak louder than words.
I am learning to manage my insecurities—and luckily, I have a loving partner who provides a secure and safe place for me to explore my demons. And they still creep in from time to time…but that’s okay too.
We are in this together. Don’t ever feel like you are alone.
Author: Amanda Gagnon
Image: Flickr/Shumona Sharna
Apprentice Editor: Lois Person/Editor: Yoli Ramazzina