Many people suffer with insecurities, whether it be about a physical appearance, intelligence, or their social skills. In some instances, these insecurities can appear in your relationships. Insecurities can come from unresolved internal issues, such as low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, and general anxiety. When these issues are not dealt with, they can topple over into your personal relationships.
There are many ways in which insecurities can appear in a relationship. You may:
So, when this happens, you might ask yourself what you should do. How can you work on your insecurities or help your partner through their insecurities? There are a few things that you can do to help yourself through this process.
Insecurities do not have to ruin your life. There are ways in which you can work on getting to the root cause, develop newfound confidence, and strengthen your communication skills. Once you face the past that has been dragging you down, you can find a new light and a new perspective in which to live life.
There are three types of grief that people can go through. These are acute grief, complicated grief, and integrated grief. Acute grief happens after a loss and the symptoms are normal to have for months after. These symptoms will fade over time. However, sometimes the symptoms of acute grief never go away, and this is when it becomes classified as complicated grief. These symptoms can last for years and the idea of moving on seems to be impossible for you. Once you get past the time period of complicated grief, you will enter the phase of integrated grief. This is when you have accepted the loss and can resume your life as normal once again. This is not to say the pain is gone or it hurts any less. It just means you can function as you once did before.
Some examples of complicated grief could be the inability to deal with the loss of a parent or child or the inability to move on for years after a relationship ends. Complicated grief can be treated in psychotherapy using a variety of modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy can help you come to terms with the loss and develop skills to move forward with your life. You can learn how to get through the day with the pain but without letting the pain stop you from living. There is hope if you are suffering from complicated grief. Use the resources given to you which might be psychotherapy with a mental health professional and/or a strong friend support system. Utilize these opportunities to find out why the grief has hit you in such a strong way and what you can do to combat these difficult feelings.
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, which is a component of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, focuses on rationalizing irrational/negative thought patterns and replaces them with more rational/positive thought patterns. Our thoughts lead to how we feel and then our feelings lead to our actions. This thinking starts off by analyzing an event and then analyzing it in a way that could be either negative or positive. By using this approach, you can work with your clients to figure out what the irrational belief was to lead a client to abuse alcohol or substances. There must have been a self-defeating negative thought or trigger that led the person to abuse the substance. These irrational beliefs can lead to negative emotions and therefore, taking part in negative behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse. By using REBT therapy, you can help to challenge and disrupt the negative thoughts and beliefs and change them into positive thoughts and behaviors which in turn would lead the person to not need to turn to substances due to the person interpreting the event in a less intense and less negative way— lessening the behavior to abuse substances or alcohol.
A popular technique that is used in REBT is the A-B-C technique. This stands for activating events, beliefs about events, consequence, disputing irrational beliefs, and new emotional consequences. Let’s apply this to someone with substance abuse problems.
A: Activating Event: A spouse decides to end their marriage to their partners
B: Irrational Beliefs: Thinking you are not worthy, there is something wrong with you, the world is not fair to you, you will never find someone
C: Consequence: Feelings of unhappiness, depression, and anxiety leading to drinking and substance abuse
D: Disputing Irrational Beliefs: Asking yourself why the relationship ending means you cannot find someone else and why it makes you unworthy of love.
E: New Emotional Consequence: My wife decides she doesn’t want to be with me and that is okay because I deserve to be with someone who wants to be with me and I will be able to find someone.
Ghosting can happen in all types of relationships. It can happen in friendships, romantic relationships, and even familial relationships. Ghosting happens when someone just disappears from your life. They cut off all communication and virtually disappear. They stop answering messages and in other terms, become a “ghost.” Why do people do this? People may ghost for a few reasons. They may ghost because they don’t know how to communicate well and are uncomfortable with the situation. Instead of facing it head on, they choose to avoid the situation altogether. Additionally, those who ghost lack the courage to communicate their issues and tend to have low self-esteems. There is also a selfishness associated with choosing to ghost rather than communicate. More often than not, the issue lies with the person doing the ghosting, not the one who has been ghosted. As more and more people learn to hide behind the screen of their phone and computer, ghosting will continue to become a prevalent issue in our society. Until people learn how to properly communicate their thoughts and feelings, ghosting will continue to be seen as a suitable coping mechanism.
In today’s ever-changing climate, we are now seeing more and more jobs become remote and more people are being moved to permanent work-from-home positions. While this has many benefits and perks, we are also seeing that it leads to an increase in stress and a reduction of a well-balanced work and personal life. When you work in an office, you have the ability to clock out and leave work behind for the day. As you work from home, you are attached to your phone and computer and at times can feel that you are on call 24/7. This can lead to job resentment, stress, anxiety, and a poor work performance. It is important to set boundaries and designate work time from personal time, even while working from home. Speak to your supervisor and set times that you will be on the clock working and designate the times that you are unavailable. Put your phone down, close your computer, and let yourself take a breath. Your mental health is very important and even as you work from home, it is important you allow yourself the time to breathe and take part in enjoyable, relaxing personal activities.
Gaslighting is something that can happen in all types of relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships, family, or even work relationships. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that happens when someone tries to manipulate you into questioning your own reality and sanity. For example, someone will try to make you feel like you are in the wrong when in reality, they should be taking the responsibility. Gaslighting can manifest in relationships when someone is feeling the need to control the other person. They want to gain the upper hand and avoid being held accountable for their own actions and behaviors. Ultimately, the one who is gaslighting wants to have the power in the relationship and always be right. Therefore, their actions and words are used to make the other person feel wrong.
Some phrases that can indicate gaslighting would be:
“Are you sure? You do not often remember.”
“You are just trying to make me feel confused.”
“Why are you overreacting, this is not a big deal.”
“I did not say that. You are making that up.”
“That idea is just crazy. Who did you get that from?”
Interestingly, gaslighting is also sometimes correlated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). However, not everyone who takes part in gaslighting behavior will be diagnosed with a mental illness disorder.
If you feel that you have been a victim of gaslighting, there are steps you can take to get away from this behavior.
If you are struggling with someone gaslighting you or even if you are the one doing the gaslighting, there is always help out there. Seek out the help of a mental health professional who can help you through these challenging times. You can learn to adjust your behavior, get to the root cause of why you are gaslighting, and learn to defend yourself if you are being the one gaslit.
Gaslighting does not have to control your life and rule your future. You ultimately have the power over your future.
What is Anxiety? —>A feeling of nervousness, fear, and dread.
Why does this happen? —>Back in the day, we were Hunters and Gatherers and we needed to feel anxious to be able to prepare and protect ourselves against real danger like a bear or lion in the wild coming to attack us. Our brains are wired to respond in this way. We needed to fear the possibility so that we could respond accordingly in order to survive.
However, now, we are fairly sheltered and the things that we tend to feel anxious about is a negative thought that rarely includes any real-life danger. Unfortunately, our minds still carry out in the same way as when we were Hunters and Gatherers. We get into this 'False Thinking Trap.’
THE FALSE THINKING TRAP =
Thoughts that stimulate emotion, stimulate a chemical release in the body.
We then hallucinate a future, make it real, and then get afraid in the present. (This does not serve us).
WHAT TO DO:
Tell yourself verbally, “I’ll handle it when it happens”. Create a vision for yourself of what it is that you want to happen instead of focusing on what you are afraid can possibly happen.
Additionally, pause for a moment and ask yourself the following questions....
“What am I thinking right now?”
“What is making me feel anxious?”
“What am I worried will happen?”
“What bad things do I expect to happen?”
You can challenge your assumptions by asking yourself…
“Are my thoughts rational or irrational?”
“Are my judgments based on facts or opinions?”
“Am I 100% sure that the worst will happen?”
“If the worst happened could I survive?”
We all find ourselves coping with troubling thoughts from time to time — especially when we're going through changes in our lives that may provoke anxiety or stress. When we are anxious, we can get trapped in false or negative ways of thinking. Realistic thinking is a way to keep your mind thinking in a realistic way in the present moment instead of worse case scenarios. Realistic thinking means looking at the entire situation—the positive, the negative, and the neutral parts—and then coming to a conclusion that is more balanced and realistic.
Our thoughts have a big impact on how we feel, therefore, it is important to pay attention to what assumptions we create. Maintaining our thoughts as positive and in the present will allow us to fulfill our greatest potential.
Most of us have experienced the magnified goodness we feel when life is going well. An example of holding onto that magnified goodness can be called Gratitude. Gratitude allows us to be present to celebrating the moment and greatly increases our personal joy in life. But what happens to that heightened feeling when life doesn’t feel as easy? In the midst of a pandemic, a whirlpool of ups and downs, then is the question of how we can possibly feel grateful under such dire circumstances? Should we seek out the little things that bring us joy? How can we achieve this? Are our minds powerful enough to reject the maelstrom that has gripped our worlds? Our minds may rent out an overwhelming occupancy to unwanted visitors when the going gets tough. Each person has some form of internal dialogue that can greatly influence how we end up feeling. Our internal voice can be kind or unkind. It can be harsh or calm. We can also check in with ourselves internally and note how we are acting and be conscious of being kinder to ourselves. In turn, gratitude can be considered a form of that kindness.
There are a multitude of ways we can show gratitude. Through our actions, towards people and ourselves, our words and our thoughts. Maybe it is for the homemade hot coffee or tea that started your morning on the right track. Or perhaps a treat you are able to give to yourself. Sit quietly by a window and listen to the calmness of the trees in the early morning. A breath of fresh air is something to have gratitude for as well. There is also something to be said for a hot bath or shower and the comforting embodiment of a clean towel. It has been a long time since some of us have been able to be present to the immediate joys around us and appreciate the ‘little’ things. Additionally, some other examples can be the ability to physically embrace our loved ones, and have gratitude for advanced technology that allows us to see those shiny faces we love with even more joy. If you are still gainfully employed, consider thanking someone at work who has taught you something useful during this challenging time.You can focus on being present in the moment which can be a gift.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. He writes, “not only will a grateful attitude help—it is essential. In fact, it is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life. In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times.”
If you are distressed by a triggering memory or an unpleasant experience past or present, you might consider trying to reframe how you think about it. This can be called the “Language of Gratitude.” The unpleasant experiences in our lives don’t have to be of the traumatic variety in order for us to gratefully benefit from them. We can approach things with curiosity versus judgment. Whether it is a large or small event, here are some additional questions to ask yourself recommended by Dr. Emmons:
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday and the ability to experience gratefulness and GRATITUDE!
In a world that has our heads buried in our social media feeds, where negative news casting seems to be surrounding us, and the outcome of the global pandemic is very uncertain, it can be extremely triggering. Anxiety, discomfort, and uncomfortable feelings of panic may be consuming us. You're not alone. You may be experiencing a necessary “toughness;” day in and day out building an immunity to a myriad of certain traumas like job losses, business and school closures, and financial stress. Even if you are not personally affected, to witness these realities in modern day society may push you to build up resilience.
The American Psychology Association defines resiliance as “the process of adapting in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or other significant sources of stress.” Becoming resilient helps you work through difficult events, but it also helps you grow and improve your life even when we aren't in a global pandemic. The personality traits of a resilient individual can be learned and will continue to help you cultivate productive activity in the present and the future. Some people refer to resilience as “bouncing back,” but it’s more than that. Being resilient includes learning from past experiences and developing new coping strategies for a brighter future.
Some coping strategies to help you get through this difficult time are:
• Exercise or practice some sort of physical activity at least 20 min daily
• Engage in positive self-talk or inner dialogue
• Get out more and experience nature
• Listen to soothing or relaxing music
• Cultivate humor
• Practice journaling to process thoughts
• Breathing exercises or meditation
• Embrace change
• Don't dwell on negative thinking
• Create goals
• Adopt an optimistic outlook
• Develop strong personal connections
Among the many practices to building resilience and emotional strength, there is some internal work that can be done to establish a life of internal fulfillment and peace. If we are able to go inward and become accepting of all our parts, even the ones we may deem negative, we can become more self accepting. With this self acceptance and knowledge will come the self love and self respect we crave and deserve. Our anxiety will calm and our minds will find peace. A strong way to grow and become resilient is to acknowledge that a lot of anxious thoughts and emotions will show up during challenging times. If we can accept them rather than try to push them away or escape them we may become stronger. In a psychology article published by the Huffington post, the journalist writes “notice negative emotions, thoughts and physical sensations as they come up, look into them with curiosity, describe them without judgment and then let them go." This is an essence of mindfulness, which has been consistently linked to good psychological health.
Loneliness can be defined by feeling disconnected from your social relationships. One can feel lonely if the quality of their relationships has not met their expectations and/or desires. The quarantine has further exacerbated loneliness in our lives.
Staying at home during quarantine due to COVID-19 outbreak has made us more isolated from other people and our communities, which can make us feel lonelier. We know from experts that it is not the quantity of our social interactions that fights loneliness, but it’s the quality. The quality of our relationships shapes how we view the world and how we can cope with difficult times.
The type of loneliness we are experiencing as a society for many people is unprecedented. This climate poses a lot of uncertainty around when we can gather freely again and what our new normal will look like. It is common to feel lonely when we are by ourselves for significant periods of time and/or not seeing our friends/family face to face. This requires us to build and strengthen the emotional muscles that we haven’t always engaged.
What can we do about this? Fortunately, loneliness is treatable! Here are some strategies that can be employed during the pandemic to help you cope better.
Offer to help others: We feel happier when we help others. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose. It can improve our self-worth. This has been referred to as Helper’s High where our brain produces a euphoric sensation after we give to others. This is based on the psychological theory that giving produces a mild version of morphine high. Maybe you can offer to deliver a meal to someone who is unable to go out or cannot afford groceries. If you are an animal-lover, an option might be to foster a pet that needs a home. If you have the means, you can make a donation to a charity or business organization that speaks to you.
Practice Self-Care: Taking care of ourselves is extremely impactful on our mood and our wellbeing. Find time to unplug and get off social media and technology.
Read a book, listen to calming music, meditate, or start a new skin-care routine!
Improve Self-Compassion: Be gentle and kind to yourself. You are going through a lot as you navigate this new terrain. No one is perfect and you deserve to love yourself through it all. Hold off on punishing yourself when you make mistakes. Instead, learn from them and how they might allow you to grow in the future. As we cultivate self-compassion this can help decrease loneliness.
Accept uncertainty: We don’t know exactly when the pandemic will end or what life will look like. Many of us are grieving the life we knew before the pandemic. We are learning to adjust to this new normal and find our footing. Although this current environment is not permanent, it can feel very scary and overwhelming. It is important to acknowledge your own personal losses during this pandemic and mourn them. As you allow yourself to feel difficult emotions, you will be able to move through them more freely.
Exercise: This is one of the most natural and effective ways to boost your mood. It helps alleviate stress and enhances your overall well-being through the release of endorphins. Take a socially distant walk with a friend or neighbor! If that doesn’t work for you, you can try a live workout class and can tune in with others virtually to feel more connected.
Connect with supportive people virtually: We are social beings and crave connection. Whether it’s on FaceTime or any virtual platform, use this as a way to deepen your connections and tune into each other’s facial expressions and emotions. Use this opportunity to be creative in how you maintain your relationships. Having a game night together or trying a new dinner recipe with friends can be fun and make you feel less alone.
Start virtual therapy: Maybe it is that time to rip off the Band-Aid and start therapy. You might be feeling nervous about sharing your feelings to a stranger. However, a good therapist will make you feel comfortable, at ease, and understood. A therapist can be an influential part of your support system as they are impartial and available at trying times. Many people feel more comfortable sharing issues they are having with a therapist as they have expertise in this. A therapist can help you understand yourself better and help you change behaviors that are getting in the way of your happiness.
Loneliness is real but you are not alone. We all want to feel loved and know that we matter. Tell your loved ones how important they are to you and express gratitude for those who you deeply care about. It can make all the difference in your life and in theirs 🙂