Most people yearn for a deeply supportive, caring and emotionally safe relationship with a romantic partner, yet almost everyone suffers from emotional insecurity at one time or another. Feelings of insecurity can make it difficult to think or behave rationally, leading to difficult interactions with your partner that make the feeling of insecurity even worse. In the end, your partner cannot make you feel secure inside - that's up to you.
Security and Self-Control
People who feel emotionally secure and supported are usually better at regulating their own emotions. People who don't feel emotionally secure find it much harder to do so. A 2005 study by University of Utah researchers Lisa M. Diamond and Angela M. Hicks found that men who described themselves as secure in their romantic relationship were able to get over feelings of anger more easily than subjects without a secure relationship. Unfortunately, feelings of insecurity make it harder to exercise self-control, causing conflicts with your partner to escalate and leading to more insecurity for both of you.
Attachment and Security
The way people handle their romantic relationships often has a lot to do with their experiences in childhood. When a child feels sad or scared, a caregiver usually steps in and helps the child feel better. Children learn how to make themselves feel better by internalizing this care-giving experience. A person who wasn't able to consistently get this type of soothing care as a child will not know how to deal with difficult emotions effectively as an adult. Most people can soothe themselves effectively most of the time, but not when emotions become too escalated. Some people cannot soothe themselves effectively at all because they were never shown how. If you usually feel emotionally secure in your relationship but you are prone to insecurity under some circumstances, you're in the first category. If you feel insecure constantly regardless of the situation, you're in the second category.
The first step toward greater emotional security is to get to know yourself better. With some people, emotional insecurity manifests as a fear of being abandoned and a need to fix all problems immediately even if it means chasing after a partner who is trying to end a difficult conversation. Other people need to avoid or flee from conflict even when the relationship depends on talking something out. Some people feel compelled to control their emotions and seem calm and rational, even if this makes them appear cold and distant to a partner who is suffering. According to marriage counselor Jeff Saunders, all of these behaviors stem from emotional insecurity, the inability to self-soothe and the strategies the person has developed over the years to avoid painful emotions.
According to psychologist Kendra Campbell writing for Psychology Today, the key to overcoming insecurity is mindful self-awareness. Learn how to pay attention to what you're really feeling, let yourself feel it and let it go when it's ready. Don't judge it, try to control it or try to change it. Calmly engaging with a difficult emotion is the easiest way to get through it without being overwhelmed by it. According to Jeff Saunders, you can only ask your partner for what you really need if you understand it yourself, so mindful self-awareness should make it easier to address problems in the relationship.
Heal Your Partner
Mindfulness also makes it easier to understand your partner's emotions so you can offer your partner more support and security. A partner who feels more secure and supported should find it easier to help you too, changing a mutually hurtful pattern of behavior into a mutually supportive and healing one. If you recognize the signs of emotional insecurity in yourself, know that your partner cannot fix the problem for you. However, you can help each other feel more secure if you take care of yourselves first.
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