I often get asked some variation of the following question:
“My partner’s done nothing to violate my trust, yet for some reason I feel insecure in the relationship. How do I overcome this insecurity?”
Everyone we see in the world is a reflection of ourselves. Your partner is a mirror, and something they’re reflecting back at you is triggering your insecurity.
Watch this short video to uncover 7 steps to overcoming insecurity in your relationship, or continue reading below.
Step 1: Uncover the triggers
When are you being triggered? Is it when your partner checks their phone? Is it when they don’t respond to your text messages? When they come home late from work? When they spend time with a specific person?
Be as detailed as possible when identifying your triggers. People, places, smells – every detail can help you uncover the key to your insecurity.
Step 2: Identify your fears
Why is this triggering you? What are you afraid of? What fears come up when you think about your girlfriend spending time with a male coworker? Where does your mind go when you don’t hear from your boyfriend for a few hours?
Explore the depth of your fear by continually asking yourself “Why?” Why does it bother you that you girlfriend didn’t come home last night? Why does it bother you that she may have been with another guy? Are you afraid to lose her? Are you afraid to be alone?
Step 3: Separate fact from fiction
What parts of this situation are fact, and what parts are (potentially) a manifestation of your mind? Take a step back from the situation and view it objectively.
Your girlfriend suddenly decided to put a password on her phone: FACT.
Your girlfriend suddenly decided to put a password on her phone… and seems to giggle a lot when she reads text messages that are most likely, probably, you think from another guy: DANGER ZONE – GRAY AREA.
Create two lists: one with the hardcore facts, and one with things that aren’t as concrete. Trusting your intuition and using your heart and gut as a guide is important. However, it’s easy to let our thoughts spiral out of control. So make sure you have these two list clearly separated.
Step 4: Communicate
Use this list of facts to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Tell them what you’re working through. Explain the triggers. Explain the fears. Present the facts.
Do this once you’ve cooled down and feel grounded – NOT when you’re defensive and scared – and come from a place of honesty and love. You want to improve the relationship, right? Be calm and clear. Avoid the “gray area” topics as much as possible, especially in the initial stages of this conversation. Avoid blaming. When you talk about your fears, take responsibility for how you feel.
Step 5: Take action
Come up with ways that you and your partner can work through this insecurity together. Own the fact that you feel insecure – that’s YOUR story. There may be things that your partner has to own as well though (i.e. that he stays out late at night and doesn’t call to tell you where he is).
Actively work on your communication and transparency in the relationship. Journal about your fears and process through those emotions.
Step 6: Practice patience
It’s a process to grow and move past insecurities, so be patient with yourself. Continue to communicate with your partner, continue to identify the triggers that are occurring, and continue to practice stepping back and responding – not reacting.
There may be times when you falter and find yourself in the midst of a fight. If you catch yourself reverting to old thought patterns and fears, step back – breathe – and remember the mantra: “Every moment offers the opportunity to start again.”
Step 7: Decide
Remind yourself that you are choosing to be in a relationship. Relationships require vulnerability and surrender, so it makes sense that your insecurities are being triggered.
We tend to label our emotions as either good or bad. However, in a relationship, the ups and downs are part of the emotional wave. Remember that you are choosing to ride the wave.
If you don’t want to surf, get out of the ocean.
You’ve got this.