Ever heard the idea that you need to love yourself before someone can love you? It might be a harsh thing to hear, but there is a nugget of truth. People who suffer from insecurity and low self-esteem often have trouble in relationships. Their lack of self-confidence often manifests itself into fear and worry that will hamper the relationship. Those who constantly need reassurance in a relationship will suffer from relationship anxiety.
For example, imagine if a girlfriend has very low self-esteem and is worried about how attractive she is. She’s been dating her boyfriend for six months and texts him every day. One day, she realizes that he didn’t reply to her message. She starts to worry. She gets a little frantic. She waits a few minutes, but her mind races incessantly and begins to panic, maybe even has a panic attack.
She starts to question things about their relationship. “Is he seeing someone else?” “Did he lose interest in me?” “Are we going to break up?” These questions drive her mad, but she can’t find a way to calm her inner voice.
Then, she starts to aim these questions at herself. “Am I not attractive?” “Does he think that I’m ugly?” “Does he not find me interesting to talk to?” She starts to doubt herself as she questions her attractiveness, personality, and likability. Her self-esteem drops to an even lower point than it was before. She put all his eggs into one basket, so to speak. She felt insecure and turned to her boyfriend to feel better about herself and improve her self-worth. She hoped that her boyfriend would provide her the validation she needed to boost her own self-esteem.
It might be obvious that she needs to worry less about her boyfriend and more about himself. Most of the time, she is perfectly fine with the relationship, but those rare moments of self-doubt can eat away at her confidence.
Another downside to seeking reassurance is that insecure people often act out of desperation, which drives their other partner away. This act leads to an endless cycle and self-fulfilling prophecy where acting on one’s insecurities only creates more insecurities.
How can people like her resolve relationship insecurities and move on with their lives? How can someone stop seeking reassurance in a relationship? There’s no easy answer, but you can take some steps forward to save your relationship and self-esteem at the same time.
Everyone has that pesky inner critic that feeds the self-doubt and fear. Your inner critic might tell you that you’re ugly, fat, out of shape, unattractive, unfunny, awkward, or a dozen other unhelpful things. Don’t give in to these unkind words. Don’t let your worries and insecurities drag you down
Start by changing the point of view on any negative statements you hear. Change “I am not good enough” to “You are not good enough.” Be removing the “I,” you’ll make the statement sound alien. Now the statement sounds like its coming from someone else, not yourself. Confront and challenge this idea. Who is to say that you’re not good enough? Only you can decide. If an outside person told you that you weren’t good enough, would you care? Of course not! They don’t know anything about your life, abilities, motivation, desire, or discipline. Only you know those things.
Then, reframe the statement. Add a “but” if you need. For example, you can easily change “I am not outgoing,” to “I might be shy, but I’m a blast to be around when people get to know me.” You can easily change your perspective by challenging your deeply held ideas.
One of the worst things you or anyone else can do is act out of relationship anxiety and do something that will only create a rift between you and your partner. Humans are emotional creatures and that means that people unfortunately sometimes act with their feelings and not their logic. You shouldn’t do anything hastily. Stop and consider the possibilities and ramifications of your actions before doing something.
For example, what if a girlfriend spammed her partner with 10 text messages in the space of an hour? The boyfriend’s phone could’ve died, which would be why he didn’t reply to her messages. He might just be preoccupied with other concerns. There are about a billion reasons why he didn’t reply. Her actions probably didn’t strengthen their bond at all. All it did was show him that she is insecure and needs constant reassurance to feel loved.
Right now, your mind might be racing with all sorts of negative possibilities. You can’t stop worrying about something that may not even happen. Imagine what it must be like to be burdened with such heavy emotions. Luckily, there are several techniques to deal with these stressful situations.
One tactic has worked for Buddhists for thousands of years. Mindful meditation helps people control their thoughts and stay in the moment. Studies have proven that students who practice mindfulness are less anxious and calmer. Simply begin by finding a quiet place and practice deep breathing. Pay attention to your breath at it goes in and out of your body. You’ll let oxygen flow through your brain and lower your heart rate.
Second, try working out. Hit the gym. Exercise not only increases confidence, but is also a great release for those emotional times. Transform that negative energy into a positive force.
Third, write out your feelings. One method called ‘Expressive Writing’. The technique goes like this: write for 20 minutes at a time. Jot down all your emotions or write about a specific emotional event. Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar. When you’re finished, rip up the paper and throw it in the trash. What’s so great about this technique? The main benefit is that it helps people express the feelings buried deep inside.
Many people become too attached to their partner. Remember that you share your life with your significant other, but that you don’t have to be dependent on them. It’s healthy to love your partner, but unhealthy to rely on them for your happiness. Your joy should come from within or you can develop relationship anxiety.
Maintain independence by sticking with your groups of friends and hobbies. It’s okay to spend some time away from your loved one. Play sports, go to concerts, take hikes, or watch movies. Do what makes you happy. You had a life before your relationship and you’ll definitely want to have one if it ever ends. Stay in touch with friends and family. Don’t cut them off just because you’re dating someone.
Here’s the magic solution which will solve all your problems, gain self-confidence. The more you believe in yourself, the less you will seek reassurance in your relationships. You should be your own best friend. Quit worrying about what others think of you and learn to love yourself.
Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Write down all the positive things you like about yourself. Focus on all the progress you’ve made in your life. Realize what you could do better, but see it as a goal to be achieved rather than a flaw to be corrected. There are so many great things about yourself that you might struggle realizing.
Communication is key to any successful relationship, so be open with your partner. Let them know how you feel. A relationship is a two-way street which requires both parties to be honest about their feelings.
Make sure to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. In other words, begin each statement telling them how you feel rather than accusing the other person of something. For example, saying “I feel sad whenever you don’t reply to my message” is better than “You never respond to my texts!” The first statement lets the person know how you feel. The second statement accuses them and makes them defensive.
The goal of communication is to deepen your relationship. Don’t enter a conversation to “win” an argument or one-up your partner. Use it to resolve any baggage and build a better bridge between you two.
Relationship anxiety is difficult. Many people want reassurance in relationships because their problems stem from deeply-rooted insecurities. The only solution is to tackle these doubts. Find new ways to love yourself and not let these insecurities morph into bigger and more difficult problems. Always examine your feelings and seek to make things better between you and your loved one.
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