Now, I don’t know about you – but if a stranger said that to me, I’d cringe.
I think it’s safe to say the majority of us have some insecurities. They can be large or small, many or few. It doesn’t make us a desperate or insecure person. It just means that we can sometimes have negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves. Even if you’re a well-rounded, confident and competent individual, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get the odd negative belief about yourself once in a while. Take a moment to think about what makes you feel insecure. When do you have negative beliefs about yourself? How do those make you feel? How do these affect your romantic relationship?
It seems insecurities can have a negative impact on the relationship we have with our partner. Relationship researchers Rose and Bellavia found that individuals who struggle with self-doubt will have less satisfying relationships due to their cautiousness and inability to find comfort and security within the relationship. They explain how being in a relationship ultimately leads to the potential threat of losing said person and in turn losing that sense of belonging. With this threat to the self, it is unsurprising that we can have doubts creep up at times. However, what Rose and Bellavia stress is that those people who have especially negative models of themselves are more likely to act prudent and vigilant in a relationship, and this behaviour results in a lower quality relationship.
What about you? Do you communicate your insecurities to your partner? On the one hand, it seems that expressing your fears and negative beliefs would be effective in improving your relationship. Your partner could potentially help in alleviating these and ensure that you feel a higher level of security. On the other hand, frequently unloading all of your worries on your partner could feel overwhelming.
Personally, I know that insecurities only creep up at times when I’m feeling tired, hungry, depleted of energy, or stressed. I don’t think they ever come up when I’m feeling full of energy, elated, excited and challenged. And when they do come up, I work on challenging that belief. I ask myself : what evidence do I have to show that it’s true? How old is that evidence? If I’m unable to challenge the belief, and it’s a recurring negative thought that I can’t seem to shake off, I speak to my partner or close friends about it.
I think it’s ok to ask for help to decide whether that belief is valid or if it’s just that – a belief – not a fact. I’ll choose to speak to a close friend, my brother or my partner. However, if it’s something small and I know it isn’t a recurring issue, I usually let it slide and sleep on it. Often, the next day, it’s no longer an issue. How do you deal with your insecurities?
 Murray, S. L., Holmes, J. G., Griffin, D. W., Bellavia, G., & Rose, P. (2001). The mismeasure of love: How self-doubt contaminates relationship beliefs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 423-436.
I definitely can relate to this article. It is a strong prospective on an issue that often gets overlooked. Insecurities happen to all of us and knowing that bringing them into a relationship could really hurt it I believe could help many people. Thank you for writing this. It will help a lot of people.
Thanks Shannon! And I agree – insecurities happen to us all!
Sometimes our insecurities cause us more problems than we realize. As an example: when I was a young college student (fresh out of high school) I worked with a girl who was always very stylishly dressed, with makeup and a different hairdo every day. I felt like she looked down her nose at me and thought I was a country bumpkin. It was really starting to be a problem for me so I spoke to a counselor and told him, “She makes me feel so ugly and unhappy.” He replied, “She doesn’t do anything to you; you do it to yourself by feeling inferior.” When I worked through my insecurities, she lost all her power to affect my day.
I really enjoyed reading your article and resonated with a lot of what you said. I am usually pretty open with the person I am dating because that is the person you are supposed to be able to talk about everything with. If I can’t share everything, including my insecurities, with the person I chose to be with, then I don’t think that’s the right person to date. That person should be there to lift you up, through thick and thin, and you do the same for them in return. Yeah, it may be overwhelming at times, but I think it’s worth it if you’re in a mutually supportive relationship and able to listen, encourage each other and offer advice. Good read!
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