5 Ways to Stop Feeling Insecure in Your Relationships

5 Ways to Stop Feeling Insecure in Your Relationships

When I was younger I often felt inadequate and “not good enough” to be friends, lovers, or business partners with certain people.  Sometimes I simply couldn’t understand what others saw in me.  I was very insecure.

I ended many promising relationships because of my insecurity.  In my mind, it felt easier for me to end it before they did.  Walking away rather than risking the heartbreak of rejection was how I justified my behavior to myself.  But after awhile, as I grew emotionally, I began to realize that I wanted and needed the comfort and support of long-term relationships.

So what did I do, and what can you do if insecurity is damaging your relationships?

You need to understand that a good relationship is about sharing ideas and enjoyable moments with another, to help each other grow in healthy ways, both together socially and as individuals.  If someone really does treat you poorly or lies and cheats you out of something, feeling insecure is a natural and reasonable response.  However, if you’re actually in a generally good relationship with someone, then it’s time to…

1.  Stop trying to read minds.

Most relationship problems and associated social anxieties start with bad communication, which in turn leads to attempted mind reading.  Mind reading occurs when two people assume that they know what the other is thinking when they don’t.  This process of wondering and trying to guess what someone is thinking is a rapid route to feelings of insecurity and stress.

If someone says one thing, don’t assume they mean something else.  If they say nothing at all, don’t assume their silence has some hidden, negative connotation.  Likewise, don’t make the people in your life try to read your mind.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable.

It’s also important to remember that you aren’t suppose to know every little thing going on in the minds of others, even the people closest to you.  When you stop trying to read their minds, you really begin to respect their right to privacy.  Everyone deserves the right to think private thoughts.  Constantly asking, “What are you thinking?” can provoke a person to withdraw from a relationship to find space.  (Read Getting the Love You Want.)

2.  Stop looking for perfect relationships.

You will end up spending your entire life hopelessly seeking the right lover and the right friends if you expect them to be perfect.  Even worse, the process of doing so will drive you mad, as you feel more and more insecure with every failed relationship that doesn’t live up to your fantasy of perfection.

We’re all seeking those special relationships that feel perfect for us, but if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to realize that there are no “perfect people” for you, just different flavors of imperfect ones.  That’s because we are all imperfect in some way.  You yourself are imperfect in many ways, and you seek out relationships with people who are imperfect in complementary ways.

It takes a lot of life experience to grow fully into yourself and realize your own imperfections; and it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest imperfections, your unsolvable flaws – the ones that truly define who you are – that you are able to proficiently select harmonious relationships.  Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for.  You’re looking for imperfect people who balance you out – the perfectly imperfect people for you.  (Angel and I discuss this process in detail in the Relationships chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.   Stop judging current relationships based on past ones.

Think about those times when you passed an unfair judgment on someone merely because they reminded you of someone from your past who treated you poorly.  Sadly, some people pass judgments like these throughout the entire duration of their long-term relationships.  Simply because they were once in a relationship with someone who was abusive, dishonest, or who left them, they respond defensively to everyone else who gets close to them, even though these new relationships have been nothing but kind and supportive.

If you carry old bricks from the failed relationships of your past to your present relationships, you will build the same flawed structures that fell apart before.  So if you suspect that you have been making unfair comparisons between your present relationships and a negative one from the past, take a moment and consciously reflect on the hurtful qualities of this old, negative relationship, and then think of all the ways your present relationships differ.  This small exercise will help you let go of the old bricks and remind you that past pains are not indicative of present possibilities.

4.  Stop inventing problems that don’t exist.

Inventing problems in our mind and then believing them is a clear path to self-sabotage.  Too often we amuse ourselves with anxious predictions, deceive ourselves with negative thinking, and ultimately live in a state of hallucination about worst-case scenarios.  We overlook everything but the plain, downright, simple, honest truth.

When you invent problems in your relationships, your relationships ultimately suffer.  Insecurity is often the culprit.  If you doubt yourself and you don’t realize your own worth, you will pass on any opportunity to let others care for you, and you will remain stuck with the insecurity issues that weigh you down.

The insecure passenger does not trust anyone else to drive.  They feel out of control.  They imagine that the driver is not paying attention.  Or they may even fantasize that the slight jolting of the driver stepping on the breaks is a sign of doom via an impending collision.  They freak themselves out by assuming that the visions they have invented in their mind represents reality.

What you need to realize is that there are normal idiosyncrasies to any relationship.  There are ups and downs and mood changes, moments of affection and closeness and moments of friction.  These ups and downs are normal.  Wanting to be absolutely close and intimate all the time is like wanting to be a passenger in a car that has no driver.

Next time you feel insecure, and you catch yourself stressing about problems that don’t exist, stop yourself and take a deep breath.  Then tell yourself, “This problem I’m concerned with only exists in my mind.”  Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening in your life is an important step towards self-confidence.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)

5.  Stop focusing on the negatives.

There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship.  Even if it seems perfect now, it won’t always be.  Imperfection, however, is real and beautiful.  The quality of the happiness between two people grows in direct proportion to their acceptance, and in inverse proportion to their intolerance and expectations.  It’s how two people accept and deal with the imperfections of their relationship that make it ideal.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to accept everyone into your life who is willing to accept you, even if they are obviously not right for you.  But it does mean that if there are occasional difficulties in your relationships, you don’t have to jump to the bold conclusion that the entire relationship is bad, and become so distressed that the relationship ends, or so insecure that the other person questions your intentions.

No meaningful relationship will always work flawlessly all the time.  Being too black and white about the quality and health of a relationship spells trouble.  There will always be difficulties present, but you can still focus on the good.  Insecure people constantly look for signs of what’s not working in their relationships.  What you need to do is look for signs of what is.

Having an appreciation for how remarkable the people in your life are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So notice their strong qualities, cheer for their victories, and encourage their goals and ambitions.  Challenge them to be the best they can be.  Every day, acknowledge just how amazing they are.

The floor is yours…

What relationship issues do you struggle with?  When it comes to your relationships, what makes you feel insecure?  Please leave us a comment below and share your thoughts.

Photo by: Martin Gommel

Comments

  1. dennis says

    I’m in a long distance relationship with a sweet woman and my insecurities with her are so great that even a simple task turns into overdoing everything. i feel guilty that i haven’t done enough even though she says i’ve done enough. i say something to her or make promises that i try to keep and when i realize that i could have said it better it leaves me feeling stupid and beaten. when she asked me to call her when i’m not busy i did. even though i’m never busy and enjoy my alone time i felt like i had to call her more enough.my insecurities lead me into more problems that i created that i have to fix the problems that i made. its been sapping strength and causing me to have no direction of my own.i’m at the point that i don’t know where i stand with her.

    • vikings says

      I’m on currently on a similar situation… I just want to give you an advice because i don’t want anyone to go through what i am going. I just let the insecurities escalate to the point that i thought that the best thing i could do for my boyfriend was to break up with him, so he could be with someone else. So i did it. I immidiatly regreted my decision when the day after her best friend called me saying he had missed a crucial exam at university, that he doesnt talk with anyone, doesnt eat … and it was my fault. I know he loves me and he wants to be with me but i still broke up with him because i coulndt control my insecurities…. I know have to think that he chose me for some reason and he stayed this years with me for that same reason, even though i cant see it. I just hope i can get him back… I cant sleep with the possibility of losing him and its consuming me.
      So My advice: trust when he/she says he loves you and wants to be with you, dont be greedy and try to make that choice for him /her. Best of luck with your gf.

  2. Linda says

    I’m in a relationship with a good partner that makes me happy… Problem is that his past always resurfaces and I feel like he does nothing to bury the past or the people in his past… I have to understand things that make me uncomfortable all the time and if I don’t I’m the one who is in the wrong or who suffers from insecurities

  3. Sammie says

    My husband is loving. Caring. And does everything for me. But his lies are getting in the way. He says he’s not lying but I know when he is and it’s driving me mad. I found two receipts for two separate meals in his wallet and they’re not a meal he took me on. And he’s denying even knowing where they come from. I’ve had enough. But I love him. But I’m not going to be lied to constantly.

  4. rahsheeda says

    I feel mostly insecure about my boyfriend having a baby mother. He’s said many of times that that ship has sailed. And they are on good terms but I hate she actually exists. It has caused me to become very jealous and it’s embarrassing. I just don’t want to end up pregnant and alone and have to start all over. I don’t want to be left by him for her. Or any one else

  5. stacey says

    I’m driving my bf away to the point of no return. He has told me over and over for the negative manner I talk to him in but I dont realise when I’m doing it. He says he loves me, he even left me for 6months last year and came back saying its me he chooses. After a few months my insecurities came into action. He is hard working always online and I get paranoid. Obviously because on the past I seen him have overly friendly conversations with females but he swears that’s in the past. Its hard to believe as he has lied to me so easily that I just have to trust in his words. Deep down though I know he loves me and we are great together. I’m ruining our relationship with my negative thought pattern and lack of trust. I just know soon it will be to late, I’m in a battle with my self and I get lost within irlt all

  6. Sharon says

    Firstly, thank you for discussing this topic .
    I am so glad I am not alone. I am in a long distance relationship and we try to make it work around weekends but sometimes it’s not enough. I appreciate though.
    My insecurities started after I saw a wall post on social media where his ex was asking for a video since he’s into music. The only issue I had was how friendly he was with her, as I knew how their relationship ended. I could care less about the ex, it was just how he responded. Even today I feel insecure and I hate it. I feel like things are different and I believe it’s just in my head. I don’t know if I can fully relax and trust him like before because that’s obviously easier and I’m happier that way. I love him but I fear getting hurt like I always do.

    • Jim says

      I am doing the same thing. Reading into posts on social media, making up scenarios in my head. Not trusting her when I have no reason for it except past bad relationship. I think I may have ruined things for good. What can I do to stop this self destructive behavior ?

  7. Hades says

    Even though my boyfriend is the sweetest thing in the world, my insecurities are so severe, even though we talk every single day. (Long distance) I make myself harder to love, to push him away and end up hurting myself in the process, literally like ripping your own heart out because you know it’s working, but you self destruct thinking you come out without a scratch and hope they still there to love you after. You test their love. While I feel like I don’t deserve this person, I’m contradicted every time and panic because he’s still there and loves me and all my flaws no matter what… Today we’re still together, I’m working through the insecurities and relationship anxiety each step at a time because deep down I know this person deserves the same love, loyalty, respect and commitment they’ve shown me.

  8. says

    I’m married to a wonderful man. We both have our problems, medical, emotional, etc.
    The problem I keep having is this jealousy when he talks about other women. I can’t stand it. I just have this overwhelming feeling that I’m not good enough. That there is some other woman out there, taller, more beautiful, more intelligent, more into his interests and better at them than me, just a better woman for him than me. He’s drunkenly told me that he could have cheated on me but he didn’t and that if he didn’t have such good friends accompanying him on his alcohol outings he might have cheated and that he’s forced sexual thoughts of women he’s worked with to see if it aroused him to confirm that he’d choose me over all others. These were all said under drunken influence and while we were in our earlier times of dating and he’s said he wants to leave all drunken times behind anything he’s said while drunk no longer counts etc.
    I just want these jealous moments to go away, I want to feel like the woman he says he sees me as

  9. D says

    My husband is awesome and I’m the insecure one who keeps thinking about my past relationships which gets in the way of my current marriage. I really need to figure out a way to overcome this before I lose the best thing that ever happened to me but I don’t know how. I’m full of doubt even though he’s never done anything to make me doubt since we’ve known each other 17 years ago.

  10. says

    I am a 27 year old woman in a relationship with a 24 year old guy for the past year. I have had a failed marriage and have one son with my ex. My boyfriend is very loving but has a very insulting sense of humour and says hurtful things that are really affecting my self esteem. I am so insecure that I wonder why he is with me and if he is even attracted to me. He rarely gives me compliments and I wonder is it my insecurity or is something wrong in the relationship. He gets annoyed when I get insecure and I’m worried its going to drive him away. I am so insecure its painful.

  11. dee says

    I’m needy and clingy …..very insecure. Not unattractive at all. Successful. I still don’t know where this stems from…I have a great guy.

  12. Allie says

    I have been with my now fiancé for 2 years. He proposed on our two years. I found out tonight that he was talking to some girl, (she wasn’t interested and was telling him he was wrong for what he was doing) saying he doesn’t see me as a fiancé just a girlfriend, that it’s just a relationship, that he just wants to have fun.. Said I rushed him when I haven’t done anything… Then got all mad when I confronted him about the girl telling me and showing me proof saying it was all a lie that they photoshopped it.. I love him, but this really hurt…

  13. Sara says

    I’ve been seeing someone for just over 2 months and initially it was going really well, we both have children from previous relationships, his situation is more recent than mine. In the last month it’s been increasingly difficult to see each other, he lives around 40 minutes away and I don’t drive. i never see him when i have my children and visa versa, introducing children should in my opinion come once a relationship is established. He’s having slot of issues with his ex resulting in court dates, it’s just very messy for him at the moment. As much as I know things are hard for him I still need to know that he’s bothered about me. We communicate but it’s felt like is become increasingly less recently. Understandably so because of what’s been happening with regards to his children and home etc. just yesterday he told me he missed me but I didn’t realise how insecure I was, I took him saying he missed me in a positive way but then I found myself over analysing everything still and driving myself crazy thinking that he’s not interested anymore. I’ve even thought of the worst case scenario in which he tells me it’s over. He’s not done or said anything to make me think he’s not interested, but the issues and pressure he’s been under and the lack of times we’ve seen each other recently makes me go into brain overdrive. HELP… I don’t want to ruin something that could potentially be great. It’s always difficult with kids involved because the time you could spend together is even less than if you were dating someone childfree.

  14. Teresa says

    I’m a 43 yr old female. I’ve had so many heartbreaking experiences in my life. I’m literally what people calls damage goods. I know that I’m a good woman with a big heart. When I love, I love hard. But it always seems that the men I knew would always do me wrong. It made me feel like the most ugliest woman in the world. So by going through all that, my mind believes that nobody will love me. I met someone recently who made me feel on top of the world. But my insecurities have pushed him away from me. I really enjoy being with him, but it’s like he don’t wanna deal with the problems that I have. I want to be a better person so that for once in my life, I can truly experience happiness and real love. I just don’t know how to shake the years of hurt, so I can move on. I pray and I try to think positive, but it comes right back. I just don’t know what to do.

  15. Jerry scott says

    I have a great girl who I love very much ….. But my insecurities and lying to her is tearing us apart. She has given me no reason not to trust her but because of my past relationships and what I’ve been through i seem to lie to her about stupid stuff little stuff that I shouldn’t. I feel like a complete failure . For once in my life as a 42 year old male I have met someone honest and caring and will never have to worry about her cheating or lying. I’m not giving up I’m going to do my best to stop the feelings of being insecure and stop with the petty lies. She is a wonderful person and I never in my life thought I would meet someone like her. I know that no relationship is perfect and there will always be ups and downs … I struggle with my inner demons and I need to let this feeling of being insecure and lying to her end … She does not deserve it and she is hanging on by a thread because of my stupidity. I will make this right …

  16. Brooklyn jones says

    I have been married for 15 years and lately I’ve been craving attention from my husband that I rarely get and it hurts me so much. I am so hurt when he can compliment another women but can’t say something nice to me. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me. Maybe I’m not skinny enough or pretty enough anymore. It has been making me very insecure. When we fight I always bring it up and tell him how much it hurts me but he twists everything I say around. All I want is attention from him and for him to show me he loves me! I really need some advice, I don’t have anyone I can talk to about this…

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