If you want to be truly free: recognize and admit it to yourself when you’re afraid.
What do I mean when I say this? I mean that by nature we all have insecurities. Maybe we feel a little insecure on a daily basis, maybe it feels like a lot sometimes. But the degree of intensity the accompanying emotions escalate to depend a lot on how we were treated by those whose job it was to nurture our developing minds.
Our hard-wired need for emotional contact and responsiveness from caregivers is a survival response, and it drives the bond of security a baby seeks with its mother. Current research indicates that you still have this need for a secure attachment from a significant other today, and it evolves into the emotional bond you have with your partner. Attunement, responsiveness and emotional engagement with your partner lead to love, safety and emotional security in the relationship and in yourself.
Sorry New Age positive thinking movement … The problem is not that we have insecurities! The problem lies in when we deny them and leave them in our subconscious to control us or guide our behaviours. The tricky part is that when we feel our insecurities, we don’t often disclose them to the world because of times in the past that we were hurt. In fact, you probably have some well-constructed defences that keep you from admitting when you just don’t feel good enough, and you even keep it from yourself.
If you’re in a romantic relationship then it’s probably even more difficult to hold your centre point!
Because of that hard-wired drive for emotional contact and responsiveness from your loved one, if you don’t feel connected once you have grown that beautiful attachment bond with the other, you can be quick to attack or defend against the sense of not being connected! Even if leaving you or ending things hasn’t even crossed their mind, the threat response is very real! The fear center in the brain is fired up and it’s saying “don’t reject/abandon me!” Once the amygdala sends out the alarm, we don’t respond – we react!
So, what if you slow it all down, take some breaths, and admit that you’re reacting to a threat that may be more your perception of the situation than the reality of what the other person is intending.
I have been one of those people who has said “If you don’t feel worthy, look inside” but the truth is wounds that happen in relationship are healed in relationship.
There are benefits to alone time, of course! Meditation, journalling, time in silence to just breath in nature can be very important practices for your ease and progress of psychological development … but I don’t buy that alone time is a solution to “clear” your feelings of insecurity as though maybe if you clear enough you will never feel it again?
Attempting to “clear” your feelings through isolation and withdraw doesn’t do the trick, so what does?
What would it be like to admit them to your partner? Feelings are there to be seen, felt and explored in a safe space with another in order to widen our perspective on what they are indicating and whether they are serving you.
How much new energy would you find in your life if less was tied-up in managing your image to the outside world, including with your partner?
How would your relationship look if rather than “explaining” the reasons why you feel insecure half-consciously pointing to situations and memories where you felt it … you just admit you don’t know exactly what you’re feeling because fear is muddling up your mind in this moment.
The next time you feel a little “messed up”, say that. Not for the intention to wallow in it or to have the other person solve anything for you, but for the purpose of honesty and to have it held by another before it becomes something bigger and dominates your whole perspective. I imagine you might inspire some to say “I feel a little messed up too”. It may not end the feelings, but it will probably lead to connection …
and isn’t connection what we’re actually seeking anyway?
Written by Angela Caruk, RCC, adapted from the work of Naomi Adams and Dr. Sue Johnson.