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5 Causes of Insecurities in a Relationship Not to Overlook

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5 Causes of Insecurities in a Relationship Not to Overlook

As human beings, none of us are ever going to be truly confident and certain about every aspect of our lives (after all, we’re not God), and these moments of uncertainty can lead to us feeling insecure on occasion about ourselves. It could be uncertainty over our appearance, our life choices, or even something as insignificant as whether we got on the right bus to work today. The point is, we all have some sort of experience when it comes to facing insecurities.

However, why is it that some people tend to face more insecurities than others, with seemingly greater frequency and intensity? This becomes far more apparent during relationships when emotions are involved, and sometimes we end up feeling drained as a result of our partner’s constant projections of insecurity wearing us out. It could even be the other way around and you’re the one who faces insecurity, but you don’t know what’s causing them in the first place.

Either way, if you feel that your current relationship has a potential future, but the main obstacle putting it all at risk are insecurities, then being able to identify the root cause behind you or your partner’s insecurity, as well as understanding how to overcome them, could very well go a long way to help you save your relationship.

Causes of Insecurities in a Relationship

Here are the 5 main causes behind insecurities in a relationship that you should not overlook.

1. Low Self-Esteem/Confidence

We’re only ever as secure in a relationship as we allow ourselves to be. But if we’ve already been feeling uncertain about almost every aspect of our lives, then how can we expect our relationships to be any different?

Low self-esteem and a general lack of confidence is arguably THE top cause for relationship insecurity and typically links back to a person’s upbringing.

Getting teased and bullied in school, being constantly told you weren’t good enough, or perhaps even the lack of proper affection growing up… all these experiences would definitely have long term implications on a person and if left unresolved, will continue on into adulthood.

Regardless of where it’s rooted from though, the resulting outcome would remain relatively unchanged, and they often grow up constantly feeling insecure about everything because of the conditioning they received over the years.

If you’re constantly doubting their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, not only would you end up projecting these doubts onto your relationship and your partner, but it’ll also lead to a series of irrational thoughts and worries, which only further amplifies those feelings of insecurity.

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2. Negative Past Experiences (Emotional Baggage)

Many of us have walked away from certain relationships either because something bad happened (unfaithful, dishonest, etc.) or perhaps the very nature of the relationship itself had just been too toxic (abusive, emotionally unavailable, etc.). As we walk away from such relationships, the healthy thing to do would be to also leave those negative memories behind and eventually move past them to start afresh.

However, some of us end up holding onto those negative emotions and we even bring them into our subsequent relationships as unresolved emotional baggage. This creates insecurity and anxiety that we end up projecting onto our new partners, because we’re subconsciously holding them against whatever pain or hurt our ex inflicted on us.

As a result, we develop certain insecurities towards our partner and there may even be difficulties when it comes to placing trust in them, even if they haven’t actually given us any reason not to.

When we bring past emotional baggage into a new relationship, we automatically create an environment where there’s insecurity, and we essentially sabotage the new relationship by holding our new partner guilty for something they didn’t even do.

3. Attachment Styles

Based on psychological research (theory of attachment), it has been identified that a child develops different attachment styles (secure or insecure) depending on the way their parent interacted with them.

It was also found that these attachment styles could continue into adulthood and would play an important role on the way individuals form their relationships. Having a neglected childhood could result in a person having greater insecurities as an adult and because their emotional needs had not been met while growing up.

This causes major insecurity projections especially in a relationship, because the individual with an insecure attachment style has little to no experience when it comes to getting their emotional needs met. The moment they finally understand what it feels like to have their emotional needs catered to, an unhealthy reliance is created. That individual has no other perceived means of receiving such affection.

With anything perceived as precious to someone, there also comes the general fear of losing it. And a person who has an insecure attachment style would probably end up projecting these fears in obvious ways. They could get jealous easily, extremely sensitive, are constantly seeking validation from you, and could even become extremely clingy because they feel threatened by anything that could pull their partner’s attention away from them.

4. Personal Life Fulfilment (or Lack Thereof)

As two distinct individuals prior to finding each other, the both of you are going to have unique aspects about yourselves that would make you, uniquely you. Your career, your hobbies, your goals, your views, and even your favourite food, are all tailored aspects of yourself that not only create your personal identity, but would also provide you with a sense of fulfilment.

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Many people tend to lose their individual identities after getting into a relationship and consequently, also lose that sense of personal life fulfilment. As a result, they turn to their partners instead, and start relying on them in order to provide them with life fulfilment and meaning.

This factor by itself while considered unhealthy, may not necessarily create insecurities in a relationship. However, when we develop a reliance on someone else to bring our lives meaning and fulfilment, there’s usually also a subconscious expectation for the other person to feel the same way about us, that comes along with our reliance.

This could cause insecurities and even jealousy to form, whenever our partner experiences an external form of happiness unrelated to us, or when there’s a positive change happening in our partner’s lives. Instead of feeling happy and supportive of our partner’s achievements, we end up feeling bitter and insecure, all because something else (aside from us) had been able to make our partners happy and give their lives meaning.

5. Unequal Past Relationship Experiences

By a certain point in everyone’s adult lives, we’re going to eventually exhaust all of our relationship ‘first times’. We may have previously even called someone from a past relationship our ‘soulmate’ before, or perhaps ever came close to settling down. We all progress at a different pace and even the amount of relationship experience will vary for every individual.

If you’re not a confident person to begin with, getting together with someone who has significantly more experience than you or previously involved in a serious relationship could easily cause relationship insecurities.

If you’re constantly making comparisons between you and your partner’s exes or the emotional connection they once had (which would probably be greater than yours), feelings of inferiority could easily take shape as you begin to doubt yourself and wonder if you could ever quite measure up.

What Can You Do to Overcome Insecurities?

If you find yourself being the insecure one in the relationship, here’s what you can do to overcome your insecurities (or help your partner overcome theirs).

Self-Awareness (Mindfulness)

The first step in overcoming any problem is to realize and acknowledge that one exists. If you don’t even know that your insecurities are negatively affecting your relationship or worse still, don’t realize that you’re acting insecure to begin with, then there’s no way you’d ever be able to move past it and those insecurities are just going to be a recurring problem.

It’s not enough just to know that a problem exists though, if you aren’t willing to do anything about it. You need to develop a greater self-awareness over your own emotions if you ever hope to improve the way you feel and act about certain matters.

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Ultimately, having awareness and mindfulness over your individual self is essential in overcoming insecurities and preventing yourself from subconsciously acting needy, getting jealous, or even manipulating your partner whenever you feel insecure about something.

Open and Honest Communication

Regardless of whether it’s you or your partner who faces insecurities, one of you is going to inevitably bring it up at some point during the relationship. The main question here is when and where.

Will it come out as ammunition to hurt the other person while in the middle of an argument? Or as an open discussion that both parties can comfortably talk about without getting defensive or feeling offended?

Without a healthy line of communication with your partner, feelings of frustration and negativity are only going to bottle up and progressively worsen with each additional insecurity ‘episode’ that takes place, causing the relationship to slowly deteriorate.

If you see potential with your current partner, then you’re going to have to start working on establishing an honest, open, and healthy line of communication with them. Don’t be so worried that you’re going to end up hurting the other person’s feelings that you avoid confrontations altogether, because the alternative of bottling it up is only going to result in a far worse outcome.

Find the time to sit your partner down and let them know that there’s been something on your mind (NOT when you’re in the middle of an argument or there’s any sort of tension between both parties).

First, start off by making a disclaimer that whatever you’re about to say isn’t meant to ‘poke’, hurt, or put them down, but rather because you see a future with them, and would therefore wish to be honest and open about your feelings so that the both of you can grow stronger as a couple by working together to overcome it.

Be careful when choosing your words, especially if you’re trying to tell an already insecure person that they’re being insecure. Avoid using confrontational words like ‘you’ (i.e. you’re always acting insecure!) and instead, choose softer alternatives that are less likely to trigger them so that the discussion can continue in a positive manner (i.e. I’ve noticed that there has been some insecurities in the relationship lately).

Your objective at the end of the day is to not just get them to realize and acknowledge that they do have these insecurities, but more importantly, to let them know that you’d still be by THEIR side no matter what (remember that their insecurities aren’t going to magically disappear just because you brought it up) and you’re still going to have to make certain compromises when suggesting ways to improve the situation.

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Engage a Professional Therapist to Help Address Deeper Rooted Issues

Unfortunately, not all issues can be overcome through self-facilitation, and there are certain people whose insecurities will be so deeply rooted that professional help may be required before any improvement can be seen.

If you or your partner’s cause of insecurity is linked back to more serious issues like poor childhood upbringing or experiencing a certain incident that may have brought about severe trauma/anxiety, then the two of you simply aren’t going to be able to overcome these issues alone, and a professional therapist or counsellor should be engaged to help better facilitate.

Final Thoughts

How can we ever hope for others to love us if we aren’t even capable of first loving ourselves?

There’s a certain truth to this cliched saying, and someone who has major insecurities about their partners would tend to usually also have a low sense of self-love. When a person lacks confidence and has low self-esteem, their self-worth will also get affected and this leads to insecurities developing as a result.

An insecure person constantly doubts and questions their partner’s decision to be with them, simply because they’re incapable of seeing their own worth. They constantly feel insecure about why their partner would choose them when they don’t believe they’re even worth loving in the first place.

If you’re someone who’s constantly insecure in your relationship – There was a reason why your partner first chose you and it wasn’t by coincidence or by accident. Your partner chose you because they saw certain qualities in you that they felt attracted to; qualities that you have been constantly failing to take notice of and sometimes even stubbornly remaining in denial over.

You need to learn to start embracing these qualities and foster greater love for yourself, because the key to having a secure and loving relationship all starts with you.

At the end of the day, insecurities are essentially a projection of a person’s manifested doubts, fears, and uncertainties. There’s never just one single clear cause behind a person’s insecurities and it tends to be a combination of several factors (both past and present) that would create those uncertainties.

Identifying the root cause behind you or your partner’s insecurity and understanding how to overcome it are both essential processes to work on, if we ever hope to create a lasting relationship with our partners.

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Featured photo credit: Justin Follis via unsplash.com

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Kevin Thompson

A breakup and relationship expert who writes about reconciliation and becoming a better person

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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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