Insecurity is something that we all have to work through, but it's especially tough to watch helplessly from the outside as your girlfriend battles her insecurities. It may seem like no number of compliments, kind gestures or reassurances from you are helping -- she simply rolls her eyes or contests everything you say with negative self-talk. While your girlfriend's insecurity is a hurdle she must overcome from within, it's useful to understand why some girls experience these negative emotions and what you can do to help her cope.
Types of Insecurity
Kathie Hanlon, in her Vanderbilt University article "What Is The Relationship Between Low Self-Esteem and Eating Disorders?" describes self-esteem as confidence, self-respect and the ability to acknowledge and appreciate when you have done something well. Insecurity, naturally, is the opposite of self-esteem -- a fear of failure and being unable to recognize your positive qualities. Insecurity means different things to different women. Some are insecure about their bodies, while others believe they are bad at certain school subjects or their jobs. Sometimes, insecurity may only occur sporadically, but when it's chronic, insecurity can be a symptom of a deeper problem like a mood disorder, eating disorder or even a symptom of abuse.
What's Normal for Girls
Kids Health, in an article titled "How Can I Improve My Self-Esteem?" states that we all go through periods of insecurity, especially during the teen years. This phase in our lives shapes self-perception, and this is when we are the most susceptible to peer pressure, which has a huge impact on self-esteem. If someone we admire tells us that we constantly do something wrong, it's common to start believing those criticisms. Society also tells women of all ages that they should look a certain way, and that pressure takes its toll on ladies at a young age. Additionally, during your girlfriend's menstrual period and the week or two leading up to it, she may suffer a hormonal imbalances that can lead to temporary feelings of insecurity.
Helping Her Cope
Though you can't eradicate your girlfriend's insecurities on your own (that's her job), Kids Health offers some suggestions for helping your honey cope. Comment on her strong traits and talents and direct her focus away from the things she perceives as weaknesses. Getting her out of the house to go have fun is also a great way to help her forget about the problems that are plaguing her -- and trying something new, or doing something she's passionate or knowledgeable about, will help to boost her confidence. Consider physical activities like rock climbing and hiking. The endorphins and sense of accomplishment from exercise can work wonders to reduce stress.
How to Get Help
It's normal to think you can "fix" your girlfriend if you support her enough, but in reality, there are some instances that warrant outside help. If you suspect your girlfriend has a psychological disorder or has unresolved issues from abuse in her past, mention your concerns to a school counselor, member of the clergy or another trusted adult. You may also suggest that your girlfriend find an online community to chat with about her problems -- but know that there is no replacement for professional help.
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