PAIN VS SUFFERING II - INSECURITIES
The last blog post that I wrote was about pain vs. suffering in a general sense. We touched on the idea that while it may be easier to allow painful experiences to drag you down and leave you in the gutter, it is important that you choose not to let that happen. You can’t put your life on hold just because you’re in pain, right?
But, unfortunately, people choose to suffer every day. When it comes to relationships, most of us have experienced a traumatic or emotionally scarring event. These events often foster insecurities that we carry around from one relationship to another. And it’s not even just romantic relationships that ingrain these insecurities into us. They can be parental, sibling, friend, mentor, authority figures, etc.
But regardless of how these scars are obtained, they can affect all aspects of a relationship whether it be something as simple as how we interpret compliments, to the more serious fundamental issues of trust and respect. Our insecurities can negatively affect how we process emotions.
The sad thing is, most of us don’t even realize that these scars are affecting us until it’s too late! We lash out, sabotage, walk away,and distance ourselves from our partners.
All because of a trigger they didn’t know they were tripping.
Instead we need to ask ourselves the most important question: what does this have to do with me?
I was once engaged to be married, and throughout the course of my engagement,
my fiancé was unfaithful. I thought that we could work through our issues, but as time wore on, I continued to find out about more and more instances of her infidelity. I continued to forgive and forgive, without ever really addressing the issue in its entirety. Now as you can imagine, those indiscretions hurt me, deeply, but neither of us ever really took responsibility for these actions. There was an apology, and acceptance of that apology, and an agreement to move forward without any real acknowledgement of the scars that were growing inside me as a result.
When that relationship ended, I carried those scars with me. They grew into jealousy and mistrust. I would be dating a woman, and whenever she got together with a friend of the opposite sex, I would either feel angry, sad, resentful, or bitter. I would distance myself and be cold towards them, simply because I was allowing my old emotional wounds to fester.
I would snoop, interrogate and radiate suspicion, even though I didn’t want to be this type of person.
Here I was, trying to protect myself and the only thing I was doing was creating rifts and damaging potentially amazing relationships.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I found myself talking to a relationship coach. I was explaining my issues and she asked me: “What does this have to do with you?” Only then did I finally begin to see where I was making the mistake.
What did this have to do with me? Well, everything. My feelings had nothing to do with my partners. They were just living their lives and having friends. I was being the jealous boyfriend who brought his baggage along for the trip.
As I began to change my perspective on the insecurities I was holding within myself, I realized that there were three important steps necessary for allowing me to work past the scars and build a happy, loving, and fulfilling relationship:
1. Acknowledging The Problem
You know what they say, the first step in removing a problem is admitting you have a problem. Banishing your insecurities is no different. Holding on to these old hurts can be paramount in driving partners away and destroying promising relationships. It is important to admit that there is an issue, acknowledge it and understand that you can overcome it.
Avoid putting labels on yourself. Perspective is huge in this first step, and if you’re going to label yourself as a jealous person who is constantly interrogating and snooping on your partner, then you’re going to impede any progress. Keep an open mind and a positive mindset and you can accomplish anything you set out to do. It starts with taking responsibility without punishing yourself for having scars.
2. Opening the Lines of Communication
If you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time, chances are that whatever insecurities you’re holding onto have reared their head a time or two. It is important to acknowledge this with your partner, love, or spouse. Have a conversation, apologize for how you have acted, and admit that you have this issue and are working on it.
Generally, I would recommend attempting to rid yourself of past relationship baggage before getting into a new pairing. However, sometimes, things just happen. As you grow and flourish in your new relationship, and as trust begins to build, have this same conversation.
Open the lines of communication by acknowledging that this can be an issue for you and you’re doing your best to make sure it’s not. In fact, I would even encourage you to ask them to call you out on it when they see it happening. Be warned, if you take this route, it can cause you to feel defensive. As I mentioned, often we don’t even notice that we’re letting our scars control our behaviours. Make sure to take some time to coach your partner on how to let you know this in a way that is loving and beneficial to your personal growth.
3. Understand That It’s Okay to Ask for Help
While many insecurities can be handled by a change in perspective and conscious awareness of the problem, many more can dig themselves deeper into your unconscious mind. These can be harder to extinguish and may require that you seek additional help. Avoid being afraid to consult with a therapist or coach about the issues that you’re having. Resources are out there to help you overcome anything that’s weighing you down. There is no shame in seeking help. Afterall, how can you expect to build a healthy, loving, mutually beneficial relationship if you’re not willing to look outside yourself for resources when you need them? You wouldn’t try to build a house from the bottom up if you didn’t know how, would you?
The past emotional trauma that caused me to be jealous and untrusting was just one of those insecurities that had manifested itself deep inside me. My coach was a huge help in giving me the tools to overcome it. I’m supremely grateful that I took that time and ignored any stigma surrounding accessing other resources for issues like this.
After accomplishing these, the next step is to find and create a strategy that will help you overcome these nagging old wounds. This strategy might include journaling, positive affirmations, motivational videos, or any number of other options that could help pull you back from the darkness. The important thing is to find what works for you and continue to implement that strategy so the problem becomes a thing of the past.
Today, I encourage you to take a moment and analyze the patterns in your relationships.
Do you see any behaviours that may be driven by insecurities? How can you go about releasing their hold on you right NOW? Are you having trouble processing or shaking them? Don’t be afraid to access your resources. I’m always here to help!
Have the best day of your life!