People who are insecure in their relationships do irrational things all the time. Texting their partner a million times in a row. Or calling to check in constantly. Maybe they try to keep track of their partner’s whereabouts, even checking their email or Facebook messages when possible. Maybe you’ve experienced this, either as the insecure one, or the person dating the insecure one. Or maybe you’ve even been both, in different relationships.
Even if these aren’t the signs of a the healthiest relationships, these behaviors are common to make people feel more secure in a relationship. After getting a response back from the partner over text, Facebook, or an actual call, they feel better.
The problem is that people end up making a habit of these actions, repeat them over and over again to stay secure. These little actions, as innocuous as they are, can damage a relationship. Some might feel annoyed by their partners always checking up on them. Some might feel like there is a deep trust issue that hasn’t been solved.
The Origin of Insecurity
Imagine a world where everyone holds a certain amount of fuel in their hands. At the same time, a fire is lit in their heart and that fire needs constant fueling to survive.
Every single person will find their compatible person, someone who can find the fuel with which they can keep the other’s fire on.
Sometimes it’s a smooth exchange of fuel. Individuals find others like family members or friends to keep their fires lit and going.
But many times, people refuse to give them fuel.
These people could be their parents who failed to give them enough attention when they were still a child. Childhood development depends so much on a child’s ability to form a strong relationship with a caregiver. It’s crucial for babies and children to survive by attaching to a caretaker. If children grow up without being paid enough attention by their caretaker, they can easily grow up to feel insecure and have trouble trusting other people. Feeling abandoned as a child, they might even doubt their own worthiness and a strong fear of being unwanted.
Or it could be people who made them feel rejected in previous relationships. Being rejected or betrayed by a friend or romantic partner makes people feel unwanted. They feel hurt and even doubt their own self-worth. They can find it difficult to open up to others and trust anyone else. And when they find trusting other people hard, they will inevitably feel insecure in a relationship.
As time goes on, their fire gets smaller as they lack fuel.
When, finally, someone suitable is there to give them the fuel, they seek a lot from this partner – sometimes, too much.
In order to ensure a constant supply of fuel, they do everything they can: this is when they might start checking their partner’s texts or messages, or call too often. They can’t trust their partner because of what happened in their past.
But when they demand so much fuel, it drains the other person.
And so all those things that someone does to try to feel more secure can annoy or hurt the other person. For example, they may fight a lot over small things because of moments of insecurity. Both will be exhausted: one demanding a lot of fuel, and the other trying to always supply the great demand.
As you see, insecurity doesn’t come from the current relationship or partner. It comes, instead, from the inner fear of being abandoned, not being loved, and not being valued. This feeling is built up along the way.
Where to Look for Security
The fire within a person is insecurity, and the fuel is a way to feel secure.
Waiting for another person to give you fuel is just chock full of insecurities. When other don’t want to do so, or their fuel doesn’t work well for you, your fire will become smaller. When your security depends on someone else, you give away all of your power. This is why when you’re rejected, neglected, or betrayed, you feel insecure.
Giving yourself the fuel you need is how to make your own security really sustainable.
1. Fuel Your Own Fire
Maybe you felt rejected when you were small. Or in you previous relationship, others made you feel unimportant or didn’t respect you. They didn’t reflect your self-worth.
When you feel insecure, you are often focused on something you feel is lacking about you. For example, when you don’t feel good about who you are on the inside, it is totally natural to look outside of yourself for validation.
But this isn’t a good way to stay self-sufficient. Instead, do something to make yourself feel good and secure, and you will no longer look outside for validation. Get a haircut, go to an interest class, and do what you’re good at. If you want to know more about how to feel good about yourself, read We Don’t Need More Likes, We Need Self-Esteem.
2. Keep Your Fuel Independent From Your Partner’s
Even when you’re in a relationship, it’s crucial to keep your independence. Any health relationship is comprised of two healthy people. Becoming overly enmeshed in a relationship can lead to badly-defined boundaries. You’ll have an overly diffuse sense of your own needs.
When you aren’t dependent on your relationship to fill your needs, you feel more secure about your life. It’s important to maintain a sense of self-identity and take care of your own needs. If you had hobbies and passions prior to your relationship, keep maintaining them. For example, if you’re a runner, continue getting up early and making that a priority in your life. Having your own life outside of a relationship also make you continually interesting and helps you to grow.
Everyone has what they need to feel secure. Most people don’t realize it and try to look for it from others. But relying on others to make you feel secure is not healthy and will drain a relationship. Do what makes you feel confident and worthy, stop looking for others’ validation and you’ll find the security you’ve always needed. Light your own fire.