New relationships can be both wondrous and terrifying for the one daring to love again after betrayal. Vulnerability leaves you wide open. And being wide open is…scary.
That’s exactly when insecurity becomes the unwelcome third party.
We get so excited to be with this wonderful person that we forget we bring ourselves into the relationship and that relationship will be halfway made up of who you are. So it’s important to deal with these underlying, destructive thought habits.
The way I see it, there are two directions you can take when failed relationships have brought trauma and insecurity to your heart.
You can close up, never risk, never trust and never experience the miracle of a wholehearted love.
Or you can learn from the past, heal, have faith and decide not to project the past into your future.
Okay, the latter is way easier said than done.
While we’re called to guard our heart, some of us have created a prison. There’s no balance.
You might be in a great relationship with a great individual who genuinely loves you and has proven themselves trustworthy, but deep down something within you is just waiting for the worst. And there are reasons for that.
- After so many failed relationships we’ve been convinced that we’re not worth committing to and have a hard time believing someone would love us enough to choose us.
- There was a time where you did need to protect yourself from someone untrustworthy, but you’re still operating in that mindset within a different relationship that doesn’t need the same defenses.
- You’d rather be prepared than disappointed, but because you’re deeply hooked on the belief that this will most likely fail it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You continue to push away any good that exists.
Here are 4 steps to untwist insecure and anxious thinking.
It’s a projection of your fear, not their loyalty.
Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish our thoughts from reality because they feel so true. But they’re not the truth.
Anais Nin made a valid point when he said, “We see things not as they are. We see things as we are.”
And that certainly rings true for insecurity within relationships.
If you feel unlovable or unworthy of being committed to then you’ll never be able to embrace the love another person genuinely has for you.
If you deeply believe it’s only so long before someone cheats on you or leaves you for someone else, then you’ll never be able to trust anything they do even when it’s perfectly harmless and with good intention.
This insecurity will shape your reality if you let it. It will view the other person in light of your fears not in light of who they really are. That is why it’s so important to be self-aware of what you fear.
If not, your mind will jump to the worst conclusions and make assumptions on their character without taking a more rational outcome into perspective. Not only does this push away your loyal partner because it’s without fair reason, but it never gives them a chance even when they’re worth it.
There’s a proper way to guard your heart, but you take it to the extreme.
It’s true, we shouldn’t just throw our heart out to anyone. That’s unwise and it’s definitely a set-up to get hurt. This is why it’s important to know a person as best you can and being friends first goes a long way. The best way to discern a person is by getting a good view of their character– the values they don’t just preach but live out, what they’re entertained by, who they hang out with, how they view and treat the opposite sex, their upbringing, how they make decisions, their level of commitment and dedication in what they do, their integrity. Believe it or not, these are all a big part of who a person is at the core and while not all of these define who they are, they can be huge indicators of where their heart is.
I agree that love is given but trust is earned. However, there will always be a risk in giving someone your trust. Period. There’s just no way around it. But you can begin with discerning their character.
If their character lines up as a person of integrity, good intention, committed and secure, then you need to step back and remind yourself of who they are despite how you feel.
Because overbuilt walls soon become a self-imposed prison.
Good news is, you can get a hold on this and stop letting insecurity run your relationship.
It starts with knowing your triggers.
There’s likely a reoccurring event that activates your fear each time it happens. Whether that be a missed phone call, an unanswered text, a change in plans, a friend of the opposite sex, etc. Identify what those situations are and challenge your fears with two other reasons you don’t need to fear.
They didn’t call back because they genuinely got caught up with various tasks or didn’t see the phone ring.
Just because they changed plans it doesn’t mean their off to meet someone else. They’re able to have a healthy adult life with good intention.
And if they give a reason for these things, they are innocent until proven guilty. But still your goal isn’t to prove them guilty. Challenge yourself to start assuming better before the worst. If you want your relationship to be ruled by faith instead of fear then you will intentionally have to choose faith. And each time you do it will strengthen your ability to have a positive mentality.
Deal with you before you deal with them.
Fear is reactive. It goes into self-defense mode by nature. Your feelings may lead you to want to interrogate, accuse, get hurt in advance, close yourself off and all other ways to cope with your anxiety surrounding uncertainty. The other person may not even deserve what you’re bringing to the table. Remember, you’re probably not seeing them as they are but as you are. It’s not their issue, it’s your issue.
Take some space and deal with your fears and emotions before projecting it on them. Deal with yourself first. Journal your thoughts. Here are some tips to help stop overthinking. Switch to reasoning the alternative. Remember who they are. Challenge yourself to reel in and analyze your insecurities.
May I even suggest seeing a counselor if it’s getting out of control. And I don’t say that just for the sake of your relationship but for your own mental health. As long as this is an issue it will carry into any relationship no matter who it is. You have to start with you.
Discuss your fears together (and theirs).
When you’re in a relationship, you’re a team. You’re both bringing baggage to the table with a whole life with multiple experiences before you. It’s natural to have some fears to work through. But it goes a long way when you are open and can work through them together. Someone who loves you will help you unpack your baggage.
As much as we want to seem perfect and whole and most ideal for our mate, it’s important to be broken together and actually talk about your insecurities for a few reasons:
- When the other person is aware of how certain events may have shaped you and has a background story, they can have an understanding of where you’re coming from when insecurities arise.
- When they know your triggers, they can handle things with more consideration knowing how it affects you.
- While it feels completely vulnerable, it also brings another level of security to the relationship because you know each other deep enough to guard the safety of one another’s heart.
Now it’s not other person’s job to pacify your insecurities. It’s still your job to deal with you, but talking about it can bring you both on the same page along the healing journey.
Not only have I gotten multiple messages concerning this topic but I completely understand the anxiety in my own experience. You are loveable. You are worth committing to. You deserve a healthy relationship and you can have one. So do what you have to do to make things right and never doubt it.
Resource: Counseling & Therapy
I’m happy to have partnered with Better Help to help provide an effective and more accessible way to speak with a licensed online counselor anytime to help work through more of this stuff. Get started with online therapy (via phone, video or text) and 10% off your first month: https://faithfulcounseling.com/brittney
My 7 Day Anxiety Detox E-Series is Here!
Each day, for the next week, you will receive a devotional on what the scriptures say about combatting anxiety. These devotionals also integrate practical self-help therapies from the Cognitive Behavioral perspective to make it useful for you. It’s great to be inspired but it’s helpful when you can apply it. So you will have real tools for real life.
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Resource: Online Counseling & Therapy
I’m happy to have partnered with BetterHelp to help provide an effective and more accessible way to speak with a licensed counselor anytime. Get started with online therapy (via phone, video or text) and 10% off your first month: http://betterhelp.com/moses