Insecurity in Relationships


Every relationship has its challenges.  And we often find ourselves overwhelmed, unable to resolve tensions, and in some cases making the situation worse.  We tend think of these challenges as problems to be solved or even escaped.  But in order to make any progress, it’s important to understand how these issues arise.  We need to be able to see the issue in its entirety, and not just what appears on the surface.  We need to be able to look deep beneath the surface and understand what is at the root.

As I’ve observed these issues in my own relationships, as well as in others, what I’ve come to find is that so many of our difficulties arise from a sense of insecurity.  But don’t accept my word on this.  I would encourage you to examine your own relationships and see if this is true.

We can find many examples of this sort of thing, but I really just want to focus on the insecurity itself.  What does it mean to feel insecure?   And can we be rid of it?

Insecurity is simply fear.  It’s the fear that we might lose something.  It may be the other person, or it may be our own sense of self.  But there is some fear that things will shift or even fall apart.  We want to have the sense that the relationship is going to be consistent, stable and continuous.  But deep down we’re concerned that it may not be this way.

We might try to secure the relationship by imposing rules and restrictions, by limiting one another’s freedom, and by making compromises, but these attempts will often cause more harm than good.  We might try to secure the relationship by getting married, which involves taking vows and signing a contract, but I think the evidence is clear that this also does not guarantee anything.

It might seem that no matter what we try we cannot overcome this underlying sense of insecurity.  And this fear slowly erodes away the foundation of the relationship, leading to a number of frustrations and difficulties, and in some cases causing the relationship to completely collapse.

So, is there anything at all that can be done about it?  Is there any way to overcome this sense of insecurity, to be completely rid of it?

The first thing is to accept the fact that we feel this sense of insecurity.  Acknowledge it and own it.  Be aware of it, and be aware of how it affects the relationship.  Notice how it influences our thoughts and behaviors.  See how it influences so many of the problems that arise in relationship.  Notice all of this without any judgment, without any attempt to manage it or suppress it.  Simply examine it so you can understand the role it plays.

Often when we observe our insecurity, understanding how it creates to so many problems, we naturally want to be rid of it.  But how do you just drop it?  How do you simply throw it out?  It never seems to be that simple.  And I’m not suggesting that we try.  I’m only suggesting that we examine it.  The more we understand it, the more we become free of its influence naturally, without having to make any effort to get rid of it.

But it’s not enough to simply understand how insecurity leads to so many of the problems we have in our relationships.  We need to understand the insecurity itself.  We need to understand where the insecurity arises from.

As I pointed out before, insecurity is fear, and what is fear but a manifestation of desire?  It’s the desire to have stability, consistency, permanence.  So is there a way that we can have these things?  Would that be the solution?  Or, does the solution lie in the acceptance that we can never have these things?

Insecurity rests on the sense that we don’t have this kind of stability, but what makes it problematic is that it doesn’t accept this fact.  Rather it is a resistance to it.  So what I’m suggesting is that rather than resisting it, can we simply acknowledge and accept it?

The fact is that we have no certainty about how the relationship will unfold.  Relationships evolve and change because people evolve and change.  So there is no consistency, no stability.  This isn’t to say that the relationship won’t last, but we can’t assume to know whether it will last or not, or in what way it may evolve.

So what I’m suggesting is that the way to overcome insecurity is to simply accept the fact that there is no security in the relationship and there never will be.  Any sense of security is a false sense, and even that is something which we struggle to maintain because it has no basis.  So can we accept that there is no security?  If the idea causes you to feel uncomfortable, that’s insecurity creeping back in.  Remember that insecurity is resistance to this fact.  I’m asking whether one can drop the resistance and simply accept it.

Can we simply accept that there is no security in the relationship?  This doesn’t mean that we throw the whole thing out, or that we take a pessimistic approach.  In actuality, this acceptance will improve the overall quality of the relationship.  Remember that insecurity is what causes so many of the problems, the frustrations, the tensions, the resentments and so on.  If we can accept that the relationship has no guarantee of stability and consistency, and we can simply allow it to flow naturally without any resistance, perhaps we can be more appreciative of it, rather than taking it for granted.  If we can let go of our expectations, there will be no disappointments.  If we can let go of needing to control, there can be more ease.  We can relax.  And two people who feel relaxed with one another are going to get along beautifully.

The truth is that we don’t know what the future holds.  We don’t know if our partner will always be there with us, or how either of us may evolve over time, whether we will grow closer together or further apart.  We don’t know how we may change over the course of time.  None of this is certain.  So can we accept this?  Can we let go of the idea that the relationship is supposed to be a certain way, or that it’s meant to last a lifetime?  The fact is, we don’t know these things.  But the more we come to accept uncertainty, to embrace the unknown, the more we can appreciate and enjoy the moment.  And if there is anything which might contribute to a long-lasting, intimate relationship, it is this sense of appreciation and enjoyment.

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