MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent four decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.
What Causes Personal Insecurity?
Insecurity surfaces in many women during their love relationships, but, for the most part, it begins as early as childhood1. Several factors help to make them feel insecure:
- Home environments in which they see their mothers being abused physically, verbally and otherwise;
- Feelings of guilt resulting from their own abuse;
- Messages from caretakers and teachers that do not measure up to expectations;
- Movies, magazines, television programs and commercials which emphasize physical appearances different than most teen girls have.
By the time they are old enough for love relationships, they lack the confidence that they are good enough. They desire continual assurance that their significant other really loves them, or that they are not seeing other people.
It is good when a man helps the woman he loves work through her insecurities, but it's better when, with or without his help, she makes use of confidence boosters like the following six.
1. A New Perspective
"It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present." —Fabian Linden
When a woman recognizes that she feels insecure in a relationship, she needs to figure out why.
- Is she comparing the man with someone in her past?
- Is her imagination causing her to be suspicious of his words and actions?
- Is she subconsciously expecting him to dump her because she believes she is not good enough?
If the woman sees obvious signs that the man should not be trusted (e.g., lying, manipulation, intimidation, humiliation), then it is wise to end the relationship. If she thinks that the reason for her suspicions is her lack of confidence, she needs confidence boosters in the form of new affirmations, for example:
- The person who hurt me previously will not control the outcome of this new relationship.
- I will allow myself time to focus on the good in this new person.
- I deserve the love, respect and happiness which this person is offering me; the people who told me differently were all wrong.
Mark Tyrell,2 therapist and co-founder of Uncommon Knowledge, advises, “When you plant a seed in the ground . . . you need to give it space to develop. Your relationship needs room to breathe. Schedule in some 'separate time' and just see it for what it is.”
"Self-acceptance is unconditional, free of any qualification. We can recognize our weaknesses, limitations, and foibles, but this awareness in no way interferes with our ability to fully accept ourselves." —Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D.
If a woman cannot accept herself, it is difficult for her to believe that a man will accept her.
She can acknowledge her imperfections, and determine that they do not make her less of a person. Self-acceptance allows her to accept help in the areas where she might need it—not as a prerequisite for loving herself, but as proof that she loves herself.
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When she enters into a love relationship, she has to be confident of her ability to give as well as receive affection. She is an asset to the man as much as he is an asset to her. She deserves all the good in the relationship which she is helping to build.
"Always act like you're wearing an invisible crown." —(Unknown)
Having responded positively to the man’s interests, the woman needs time to process her thoughts. In her quiet moments, she must visualize the path she wants to take according to her God-given plan and purpose, then visualize how the relationship fits into that plan.
If the relationship fits sensibly, she can pursue it with confidence. It is in her interest to treat the man the way she sees herself treating him as a husband—lovingly, attentively, respectfully and trustfully. Her focus should be on him instead of the women around him. The other women will see that that she is not working to receive the crown; but that she is already qualified for the crown she is wearing.
4. Honest Communication
"We tell lies when we are ….afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger." —Tad Williams
Honesty boosts confidence and removes the need for deception. The woman has no reason to withhold the truth about who she is, what she thinks, and what she feels. She encourages the man to respond with similar honesty, and this kind of honest communication cancels the insecurities which threaten her confidence.
Whenever there is uncertainty, an honest question will clear the air. A relationship in which questions are welcome, and honest answers are given, will build a foundation for deep, mutual confidence.
"You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away . . . then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself." —Toni Morrison
Self-worth differs from self-acceptance in that acceptance recognizes both strength and weakness; worth emphasizes the strength (without denying the weakness) as the asset which allows her to set boundaries on what she will and will not allow in the relationship.
For example, it is the woman’s self-worth which says:
- I am worth having a man that I do not have to share with another woman.
- I am worth not being given the responsibilities of a wife before I become a wife.
- I am worth being treated as an equal partner in the relationship.
"Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option." —Mark Twain
In other words, both the woman and man have options—to end or continue the relationship; rather than being an option to be or not be chosen. If they treat each other with mutual respect, they will promote confidence and trust in the relationship.
It is the woman’s responsibility to insist that:
- the man treats her the way she deserves, or else . . .
- he sets appropriate boundaries around his interactions with other women, or else . . .
- they support each other's goals, or else . . .
The option to end or continue the relationship is a confidence booster for the woman. She can enjoy the relationship with confidence because she is not being held captive. She is a worthy participant. If the relationship lasts despite the option, it is because she chose the opportunity to share her worth with someone who deserves her.
(1) National Institute on Media and the Family, Teen Health and the Media
(2) Tyrell, Mark, Overcoming Insecurities in Relationships (July 2013)
(3) Seltzer, Leon F., Ph.D., The Path to Unconditional Self-Acceptance (September 2008)
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Dora Weithers