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What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship

What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship

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.

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    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.[1] 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.

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        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.

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              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.

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              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.

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                  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.

                  Reference

                  [1] Psychologist Word: Attachment Theory

                  More by this author

                  Anna Chui

                  Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

                  The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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                  Published on May 18, 2021

                  How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                  How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                  We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

                  The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

                  Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

                  Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

                  Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

                  There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

                  Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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                  Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

                  We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

                  Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

                  A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

                  The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

                  Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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                  Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

                  Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

                  Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

                  While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

                  Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

                  These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

                  Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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                  Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

                  Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

                  Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

                  Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

                  Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

                  Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

                  As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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                  This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

                  Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

                  Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

                  These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

                  Actions Speak Louder Than Words

                  Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

                  Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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                  Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

                  More Tips Improving Listening Skills

                  Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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