You have a good relationship going… you love each other, spend time with each other, maybe you've even gotten married. After a while, though, you notice that you're not getting any closer. You seem to have hit a plateau.
Or maybe you're just getting started in a new relationship, and you really like the other person, but things just seem to keep cropping up… one or the other of you keeps doing little things that seem to stop the relationship's growth right when it's getting started.
What do these two things have in common? They are both things caused by something that no one likes to talk about in their own relationship… insecurity.
Everyone needs to have a sense of safety and security, a place that they can rest when life gets too chaotic. The greatest provider of those feelings is a good relationship with your significant other… good relationships with friends and family can help, but just don't have the same magnitude.
Now you come to the catch 22, though… your relationship can't move past a certain point if you are insecure, but you need that relationship to provide your security. What do you do?
The first thing you have to do is take action… without action, nothing will change. That being said, here are a few steps that can help you get started.
How To Deal With Insecurity In Relationships:
Find Out The Source
There are several ways to find the source of your insecurity, but the two biggest and most effective ways are writing it out and talking it out.
Writing It Out: Get a pen and a piece of paper, or your computer and a word processor, and just start writing about what you've been thinking about, in a free flow of words and thoughts. Expand on anything that touches that insecure nerve inside you. It may take two minutes if you barely have it buried, or an hour if it's deeper.
Talking It Out: Talk to someone that you can trust, at least mostly, like a close friend or a family member (or there could be one person who fits both descriptions). You start out like you do in writing it… tell them what's been bothering you lately. The advantage and disadvantage of this form is that they can ask questions, which may cause you to probe deeper inside, or may distract you from the true source.
Either way you take, you're going to know it when you hit the true source of your insecurity… and it may be quite a revelation.
Tell Your Significant Other
Now that you know what the source of your insecurity is, you have to take the next step and tell your significant other. This is probably the hardest part of the whole process, because you're already insecure, or you wouldn't be doing it in the first place.
No matter how uncomfortable it is, though, and regardless of whether you think you can deal with it on your own, this step is vital. That's part of a relationship, you need to share anything that has a bearing on the relationship, and insecurity does have a major impact.
Telling them also helps to cement it in your mind, and makes your commitment to dealing with it stronger.
Make A Plan
Now that you've found the source, and talked to your partner about it, it's time to make a plan for dealing with your insecurity. This is the time to get into specifics about what you're going to do to take care of the specific issues.
It may be very easy, something that can be done in a day… or it may be a difficult process that takes years. Either way, your plan needs specific actions and a time table for those actions. Without both of those things you are much less likely to stick with the plan, and much less likely to succeed.
Take Action On Your Plan
Now you have a plan… time to take the first action on it. Even the very first action is often a major relief of all the issues stirred up by insecurity. Each additional step takes away more and more of insecurity's power over your life and relationship.
Review And Update Your Plan
This is a step that many people forget… your original plan may no longer be the best plan once you start moving forward. You may even find that it's hurting your progress more than it's helping it.
If that's the case, change it. If it's off badly enough, throw away your old plan and create a new one from scratch.
Once you've got a plan that seems likely to work, whether it's the original one or a completely new one, repeat step four. Then, after a while, repeat this step. Keep up the cycle of steps four and five until you're done, and the insecurity is a thing of the past.
You can follow this process with more than one insecurity at a time… but you should have a separate plan for each major source. Many times, though, if you spend enough time on step one, you'll find that there is one root thing behind seemingly unrelated insecurities.
The process of dealing with insecurity is often not fast… the insecurity may be coming from something years, or even decades, in your past. If you're still reading this article, however, you've already taken the first step: admitting to yourself that the problem exists. Now you just need to take the next step, number one above.
The funny thing about how our minds work is that you don't necessarily even have to make much progress on dealing with the insecurity long term to start feeling the effects of being on the path to dealing with it. Just having talked about it, and especially having some sort of plan to go forward with, is often enough to take the majority of insecurity's sting away.
If anyone has any further ideas for things to help with what is, truly, a major problem, please share them in the comments.