Dating someone new can bring up insecurities

Kirstie Taylor
Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

Insecurities wreak havoc on your world, love life included.

Relationships can feel confusing enough; mixing everything you struggle to feel confident about makes love feel altogether exhausting. It’s like trying to tread water but having someone pull you down from below.

I’ve been in that position. My insecurities played a part in the downfall of more relationships than I’d like to admit. Not to mention that feeling unconfident, unworthy, ugly, and like a failure sucked in general.

But the thing about insecurities is that they’ll control your life until you decide to do something about them. They’ll steal joy from your most precious experiences and slowly suck the life out of what you and your partner have.

The good news is that if this sounds like your life, it doesn’t always have to be this way. You can feel more confident in your relationship (and in all aspects of your life) by doing changing a few beliefs and ways you live.

Doing work to feel less insecure is by far one of the best choices I made. I can see my relationship clearly for what it is, and instead of trying to repair constant little cracks, my love life finally has a chance to thrive.

If you want the same for your relationship, then this is how:

Pinpoint what your insecurities are.

You can’t work on your insecurities if you don’t know what they are. Some are easy to recognize, like being unhappy with your body. But what about ones that aren’t so easy to spot?

I used to pick fights with my partners to get a rise out of them. I once said the completely wrong thing just so my boyfriend at the time would show he cared. Luckily, he called me out for it, which floored me, but that experience helped me realize something.

Besides that behavior being manipulative, I felt insecure about my partner’s love for me. I’d try to get them angry, so I could test their affection. It’s an example of how an insecurity can drive behavior.

Ask yourself what core belief they stem from.

Going off my last example, my insecurity about my partners not liking me is only a symptom of a deeper issue. I didn’t feel like I was enough. As a person or a girlfriend. My belief caused my insecurity which stirred up those manipulative behaviors.

Once you pinpoint what your insecurities are, ask yourself why they exist. Not feeling like you’re enough is a common core belief. Like if you think you’re not good-looking, it’s because you don’t believe in your worth outside of looks.

But it could also be something else; only you can figure out what that is. Sit with your thoughts and newly uncovered insecurities until you can place a belief behind them that feels like the true reason your insecurities exist.

Cut ties with your comparisons.

Feeling uncertain about who you are or the value you offer is a vulnerable state to be in. You have to protect yourself until you’ve gotten to a place where you have a bit of a thicker shield.

That’s why it’s important to take inventory of the content you consume. Think about it: if you’re always looking at pictures of people who make you feel bad about yourself or videos of couples who travel the world together with seemingly no problems, you’re going to compare your life to theirs.

But if you unfollow and cut ties with your sources of comparison, you can focus on what really matters: everything going on in your real life rather than people who you don’t know or shouldn't be part of your happiness equation.

Replace your inner-critic thoughts.

If there’s any tip that I want you to remember, it’s this one. Learning what an inner critic even is and changing the thoughts that mine had was the biggest game-changer in feeling less insecure all the time.

You know that little voice in your head that narrates life or repeats sentences when you’re reading a book? For many people, that’s by far the meanest person they’ll ever meet in their life. Let me explain.

What does that voice say when you drop a glass and break it? How about when you see your reflection in the mirror? What about when your partner has a slightly off look on their face or body language?

If your answer is anything negative that has to do with you, that’s your inner critic. Things like “I’m so stupid” or “My body is disgusting” take a toll on you. It’s like having a bully constantly hanging on your back.

Once you notice that inner critic, though, I want you to replace what it says. Anytime you think a mean thought about yourself, replace it with a kind one. Over time, you’ll rewire your brain until the critical voice stops or you believe the nice words you say about yourself.

Distract your mind when you feel things becoming too much.

Like I said before, your insecurities control you as much as you allow them. If you feel like you’re slipping into a dark place, try doing something that will distract you or make you feel happier.

I once had a therapist friend who told me to make a list as long as my age of activities that bring me joy or make me feel better. That way, whenever I was struggling, I’d have a long list of things to choose from to help me get out of that pit.

You can do the same or create a smaller list. Either way, by doing an activity when you feel your insecurities taking control, you’re shifting your focus away from them and towards something else. With a bit of time, you’ll feel that overwhelming moment pass.

Build your self-esteem and independence.

Self-confidence is the antithesis of insecurities. But it’s easy to say that and way harder to actually gain confidence, especially when you’re in a relationship and feel like all your insecurities are reflected back at you.

So hear me out: do more things outside of your relationship. You might think that to feel more secure in your relationship, you should invest more time into it, but I’m asking you to do the opposite. Why? Well, it’s simple.

By having a life outside of your relationship, you won’t feel like the only good thing going for you is love. You can strengthen your friendships. You can work on hobbies and activities you love, so you feel proud.

Becoming independent will build your confidence in general, therefore, benefitting your relationship, too.

If they’re too overwhelming, talk with a therapist.

Look, I’d love to say that my words alone can help you feel less insecure. But sometimes, they’re so overwhelming that we need more professional help. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t gone to a therapist for certain aspects of my life.

Therapy does wonders. It can help you uncover past traumas that are holding you back from a fulfilling relationship today. A trained therapist can give you tools to help manage your hardest times.

Plus, it’s not always as expensive as everyone thinks. There are affordable ways to find therapy nowadays. Plus, investing in your mental health is something you won’t ever regret.

When you open up and are vulnerable with someone new, your insecurities are bound to show. But a relationship is a place to learn and grow, not just together but on your own, too.

Sure, your insecurities won’t disappear overnight, but at some point, you have to take the first step in the right direction. You’ve already lived long enough feeling unsure about yourself; it’s time to change that.

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Dating, relationship, and self-love writer. Helping the hopeless romantics of the world feel more hopeful.

Los Angeles, CA

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