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It’s tough when our negative self-image shapes our most intimate relationships.
While we think it’s always our partner’s fault, sometimes it’s simply us. But it’s tough—and oftentimes impossible—to realize that the way we perceive ourselves can take a heavy toll on our love bonds.
I’ve been there, and to this day, I struggle with my self-image and try my best to not let it affect the relationship I have with my husband. Personally, I’ve become tired of all the thinking, tension, and anxiety that come to life whenever I get triggered.
At some point, I needed to get out of my own way. I needed to face my insecurities and stop them from ruining my healthy relationship.
If you constantly feel inadequate, require constant reassurance from your significant other, think you’re not good enough, or feel your needs aren’t being met, it might be time to face your own insecurities as well.
Here are 10 ways to help us cope with insecurity and hopefully reduce it:
1. Don’t be hard on yourself. Thinking we aren’t worthy of love can be painful, but we should never resent or judge ourselves. Rest assured that it’s a good first step to recognize the presence of our self-doubts. With time and patience, we’ll better understand where they come from and how to keep them at bay.
2. Share your insecurities with your partner. Although this is a tough one, please know that it’s life-changing. When our partner knows the source of our unexplainable anger, distance, defensiveness, jealousy, or any other unhealthy behavior that stems from not feeling secure enough, it can open the door to effective communication. My partner has significantly helped me with regaining confidence and has been unconditionally gentle with me. Open up and discuss with your partner how they can meet your needs, and remember to always be honest and clear about what you want so there won’t be any misunderstandings.
3. Don’t overthink. Overthinking almost always involves doubt. When we overthink, we come up with all sorts of unreliable and weird outcomes, such as, “He must be mad at me for doing this,” or “She will definitely break up with me this time,” or “He must think I look ugly today.” We constantly worry about the future and what will happen next, we obsess over little things, and it seems impossible to turn off the little nagging voice in our minds. To reduce our insecurities, we must stop making reckless assumptions and instead see our partner for who they are in this very moment.
4. Catch the pattern. Breaking habits is essential if we want to confront our insecurities. I’ve realized there’s always a pattern when it comes to feeling insecure: we might become defensive, engage in futile fights, feel jealous, or feel the need to stay in touch with our partner when they’re not around. What’s the pattern of your behaviors in your relationship? Get to the root and unravel what might have left you feeling unlovable or unworthy.
5. Explore in depth what happened in your past. Traumas that take place when we’re children stay forever with us and carry over into adulthood. But there are also traumas we experience when we’re adults that can impact how we view ourselves and those around us. Explore your past traumas and wounds and try to figure out the source of your insecurities.
6. Break the habit of asking for reassurance. When we feel insecure, we automatically seek validation—and it’s easy to get it from our partner because they’re the closest to us. But what I have discovered from my own experience is that reassurance never works long term. Getting the attention we want may only make us feel better now, but our insecurities tend to linger. That said, before asking for love from your partner, learn to nurture it from within first.
7. Don’t take things personally. Insecurity means we might easily get hurt by words or actions and think that our partner is not respecting us. Insecurity can distort our view and make us see things as faulty—especially when we’re in a relationship. Whenever you find yourself triggered, don’t jump to conclusions quickly and know that whatever is happening or being said is not about you.
8. Be honest with yourself. Journaling has helped me for years! Be honest with yourself and identify what pushes your buttons. Make a list and fill in the blank: “I feel insecure when my partner____.” “I don’t like it when my partner____.” “I feel jealous when____.” “I don’t feel confident when____.” “____triggers me.” Do your own list and answer sincerely.
9. Change the story. What story are you telling yourself? Who do you think you are? Stop the negative self-talk and instead switch to a more confident narrative. Practice saying, “You can do this!” “You’re doing great!” “You’re improving.” Gently talk to yourself and give yourself the support you need to heal your insecurities.
10. Don’t compare. Don’t compare yourself to other women/men. Don’t compare your relationship to everyone else’s because you will be disappointed. People have different stories and patterns, and the truth is you might have something they don’t. Comparison makes our insecurities worse, which, in turn, invites unhealthy dynamics into our relationship. Know that you, your relationship, and your partner are special, and don’t let people’s fake perfection dictate your own love story.