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How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships

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How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships

We’ve all been there. You know what I’m talking about – when the little green monster of jealousy rears its ugly head.

No one likes feeling like this, so how can we overcome these awful feelings and have a successful, happy and healthy relationship?

It’s not always easy, but the good news is that jealousy in relationships can definitely be overcome.

What Causes Insecurity and Jealousy in a Relationship?

There can be many causes of insecurity and jealousy in relationships, but they are all rooted in one basic problem – not feeling good about yourself.

Sure, there are the exceptions where you might have great self-esteem and you just happened to pick a loser who cheats on you. Well, it could happen. But typically, people with a high sense of self-worth don’t choose romantic partners who will treat them badly.

One of the leading causes of low self-esteem (and the resulting insecurity and jealousy) is having a problematic or traumatic childhood.

When a baby is born, its brain is like a blank computer. Nothing has been programmed into it yet. However, as the years go by, everything that is said – and done – to the person gets ingrained into their psyche and creates who they are.

I always say that a parent’s “voice” becomes their child’s “voice” later in life. In other words, if your parents told you that you are a loser, lazy, and no-good, then you will end up believing that too. But if they told you how much they love you, are proud of you, and that you can do anything in life, then you’ll believe that.

As you can see, if you grow up in a household with parents who weren’t loving and didn’t give you positive messages about yourself, well, then you will subconsciously choose romantic partners to match that self-fulfilling image of yourself.

How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships

Just because you have a track record of being jealous in relationships doesn’t mean that you are doomed to feel that way your entire life.

There are things you can do to try to overcome these insecure feelings so you can have a healthy relationship. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Observe Your Jealous Thoughts and Behaviors

First of all, you can’t change what you don’t recognize. You might think that being jealous and insecure are obvious feelings. While they typically are, just knowing you have them won’t automatically change them.

What you need to do is try to look at your thoughts as objectively as you can. And from there, temporarily accept them.

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Pretend like you are a friend of yours giving you advice. It’s much easier to give other people advice than it is to ourselves, right? If you can re-frame your thoughts from a logical point of view, that is the first step to changing them.

2. Examine Your Past and Try to Figure out Where These Insecurities Come From

These feelings come from somewhere. They don’t just magically appear in your mind for no reason.

For example, they could be rooted in your childhood. Perhaps your dad had a string of affairs on your mom, and so that’s what you saw growing up. If this is the case, then it’s natural that you would think that “all men cheat.”

Or maybe the insecure feelings come from your own experiences. You might have been burned by your first love, and because of that, you find it difficult to trust people.

It doesn’t matter where these thoughts come from, but it will help you if you can pinpoint the underlying cause.

3. Just Because You Have These Thoughts Doesn’t Make Them True

One main problem people have in life is believing every thought that goes through their mind.

Just because you think something, that doesn’t make it true! For example, you might believe that the government is spying on you, but that doesn’t mean it really is. (Perhaps, but maybe not.)

So, you need to acknowledge that these thoughts of insecurity and jealousy might, in fact, be false.

Try to examine them and see if you can eliminate any of them based on that theory

4. Don’t Act on Your Feelings All the Time

Many people don’t have a “filter.” In other words, if they have a thought, it immediately comes out of their mouth. Or if they have a negative emotion, they will act upon it without giving it any rational thought.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “think before you speak.” Well, that’s brilliant advice!

Think before you speak – and act. Try to have enough self-control to not say or do anything you will regret because you might make the situation worse if you do.

5. Remember That Uncertainty in Relationships Is Normal

Hey, we are all human. We all have insecurities, and because of that, they will inevitably creep their way into our relationships from time to time. That’s normal.

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Uncertainty is just a way of life because we can’t control everything. The only thing we can control is ourselves.

However, there is a continuum of uncertainty. Some is normal and healthy, but other kinds can be toxic to a relationship.

So, make sure that your level of uncertainty is at a lower level if at all possible.

6. Examine Your Assumptions About the Relationship and About Human Nature in General

If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, you might have learned some very negative patterns for being in relationships. For better or for worse, we learn how to behave in relationships from observing how our parents did it. They are our role models.

Therefore, if you had parents who did not have a happy marriage and they were constantly suspicious and jealous of the other person, then you will probably grow up with the assumption that most people are untrustworthy. Of course, this is far from the truth. However, it may have accidentally become your truth.

7. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

There is no shame in admitting that you are feeling insecure or jealous to your partner. As I said before, we’re all human and will feel this way from time to time.

But maybe your partner doesn’t know you’re feeling that way… they are not mind readers! So, it’s important to share your feelings.

You need to do it in a calm, rational, and peaceful way. You can’t yell, scream, and name-call because it will have the opposite effect.

When you talk about things in a positive manner, you both can take steps in the relationship to try to alleviate your insecurities.

8. Watch His/Her Behaviors and Body Language

Sometimes all of our insecurities and jealous feelings are in our heads. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you really do have a valid reason for feeling the way you do.

It’s important to keep your eye out for any suspicious behaviors your partner might have. For example, do they keep their phone away from you and or hide it when you walk in the room? Are they acting weird?

If so, then you might have a rational reason to feel insecure. But if not, maybe you’re just making it all up in your head.

9. Don’t Keep a Tight Rope on Him/Her

It’s almost instinctual to try to limit your partner’s actions when you feel jealous or insecure. You want to know where they are, when they are coming home, and who they are talking to.

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But this will only drive them away from you. No one wants to feel like they are controlled and not trusted.

Even though you are jealous, let them live their life freely. Don’t be a micromanager of their life.

10. Take Action If Something Is Really Fishy

Even though you shouldn’t treat your partner like a caged animal and should give them their freedom, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. You can be observant without being obvious.

If you see strange behaviors, or experience anything that makes you uncomfortable, bring it up for conversation. People who have nothing to hide…hide nothing.

If you talk to your partner about their “suspicious” behavior, they should be able to come clean very easily if they’re not doing anything wrong. And if they don’t, then you probably have your answer.

11. Talk to a Therapist

Many people think that going to a therapist makes them weak. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Acknowledging that you need to work on yourself, your self-esteem, and insecurities is a brave and noble thing to do.

If you can afford it, seek help. A good therapist can help you identify the reasons you are jealous, how to overcome them, and can put you on the path to healing – and a healthy relationship.

12. Write down Your Positive and Negative Qualities (And His/Hers)

Our insecurities come from thinking we are not “good enough” for the other person. But everyone has good qualities, you just need to take the time to recognize them.

Write down everything about yourself that you consider to be good. That will help you realize all the reasons that you don’t have to be insecure or jealous.

Do the same with your partner. When we are jealous, we tend to focus on negative thoughts – not only about ourselves, but about them too. So, write down all the good qualities they possess. That way, your mind won’t wander into unwanted territory.

13. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Another huge way that we arrive at our insecurities is comparing ourselves to other people. We look at other people and think how much more attractive they are, or that their personality is better, or they make more money than us.

You have to stop comparing yourself to others because you are uniquely YOU. Embrace yourself!

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If you absolutely have to compare yourself to others, then compare yourself to people who you perceive to be worse off than you. Not to judge them, but to put your thoughts into perspective. If you do this, you will be able to appreciate yourself and your life a lot more.

Learn more about how to stop comparing yourself to others:

The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

14. Love Yourself Enough to Be Brave Enough to Lose Them

One last thing at the core of our jealousy and insecurities is not loving ourselves, and that leads to the fear of being alone.

In fact, many people would rather stay in toxic relationships than be alone. Why? Why would you want to be treated like crap from someone else just so you can be in a relationship?

You shouldn’t do that.

Here’s Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear.

Love yourself enough to have higher standards. Once you are comfortable in your own skin and won’t settle for anything less than you deserve, that’s when you will become more confident. And then your fears and insecurities will slowly disappear altogether.

Bottom Line

As you might suspect by now, getting rid of insecurities and jealousy in a relationship has very little to do with the other person, and everything to do with you.

You need to love and value yourself. If you do, then you will most likely attract higher quality people who are naturally trustworthy.

And even if you don’t, you won’t hesitate to walk away from anyone who isn’t treating you with the respect you deserve.

Featured photo credit: Justin Follis via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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