Bob Marley said, “the truth is everybody is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for.” While this outlook may sound a bit bleak, in some ways, it explains why so many of us are walking around in a constant state of fear; Fear of getting hurt again.
Whether it was your parents, friends, co-workers, teachers, religious leaders, or past lovers, chances are you’ve been lied to, left, and/or hurt at some point in your life. These past hurts cause lingering feelings of insecurity that can slowly unwind your current relationship if left unchecked. Insecurity feels like standing in quicksand. You want to find solid ground and stop sinking lower and lower but you just can’t.
While recovery from severe insecurity may require professional counseling, here are a few fool-proof ideas that you can try at home with your partner. These techniques will help you retrain your mind so that you aren’t always thinking the worst and waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under you.
Say What You Mean
In Alcoholics Anonymous, there’s a great slogan that says, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.” This kind of open and honest communication goes a long way in relationships, especially if you have struggled with insecurity.
Insecure people tend to add meaning to what their partner said. For example, when your husband says, “You look pretty today,” what you hear is, “You’ve looked like the back-side of a cow every other day.” Can you see how this might cause a problem?
Instead of focusing on what you think you are hearing, listen to what is actually being said. If you aren’t sure what your partner is saying or means, ask for clarification rather than make assumptions. Once you get your answer, commit to believing it.
Your insecure mind will want to create a story to prove why your partner isn’t telling the truth and actually means something different than he said. Don’t go down that rabbit hole and give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Try To Fix It
Being insecure will make you doubt and question everything; even the good things in your life. It will also make you see problems where none exist. If you are always worried about something and feel like drama follows you wherever you go, it’s probably a result of your insecurity.
Try asking yourself these questions to determine if you are being logical or if you are letting your insecurity get the best of you.
- What is the evidence to support that thought? What is the evidence against it? (and I mean cold hard evidence, not hearsay or speculation.)
- What is the worst case scenario if that thought is true? Could I handle that?
- What is the best case scenario if that thought is true?
- What is the most realistic outcome?
- Have I had any experiences in the past that might be triggered by the current situation?
Whatever the negative circumstances that led you to feel this way, you are no longer controlled by them. So, you have a choice. You can see your relationship for what it is, or you can continue to try and match it up with your past. I’m sure you can see which choice will lead you to happiness.
Check Your Baggage at the Door
Speaking of the past, try your best to let it go. Don’t assume that your current partner will treat you badly because someone else did. While no relationship or partner is perfect, if you are with someone with whom you can grow, take that opportunity.
The same goes for letting things go from the recent past. If your partner messed up last week and you guys hashed it out, don’t bring it up again this week when you’re upset about something else. Buddha said, “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person will die.” If you keep track of all the bad things your partner has done over time, it will gradually eat away at your trust and feed your insecurity.
Focus On The Good
Most of all, learn to be grateful for what you have and focus on all the positive aspects of your partner. Remember when you were single and wishing that you had someone to Netflix and Chill with? Now that you do, are you getting caught up in the awful chewing sound he makes, or the fact that she cuts her pizza with a fork and knife? Are you noticing all the ways in which she is not considerate of your needs and ignoring all the ways she is? Do you forget about all the times he shows up on time for a date and harp only on the times he is late? Don’t let those little details derail a great relationship. Notice what your partner does right, and tell him or her about it.
Maybe you have been cheated on or abused in the past. Maybe you were left out of the blue without warning and found yourself heartbroken and reeling in the aftermath. Maybe none of your past relationships have worked out and you are insecure that every new partner will leave you just like the rest of them. Whatever the circumstances, they probably made you doubt yourself, your intuition, your judgement, and your ability to ever trust again.
The thing is, we will never be able to control what other people do. There is always a chance in any relationship that you will be hurt. The question isn’t do you trust him or her not to hurt you. You can’t control that so stop trying. The question is, do you trust yourself to be able to handle it if they do? When you realize you are capable of handling whatever life (or your partner) throws your way, you will find it easier to let go of those insecurities and love freely.
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