Oh dear, summer’s here!
We pray for summer to arrive. We can’t wait for the sun’s first warm rays to burn off the long, low, grey winter skies we have laboured under for what seems an eternity. We promise ourselves this year we will do the summer dance. We even live vicariously and ask those travelling to warmer climes to bring back some sunshine with them. It’s all so positive. It’s a fresh new start. So why the hell do so many females dread the summer?
To me, the answer is simple – summer brings out our insecurities!
Seriously, so many females become anxious at summer. The anxieties are borne of various things. Obviously, a prime cause is the dreaded tendency of women to compare themselves with others. Worse still, we tend to compare the worst aspect of us with the best part of someone else. Just think about it for a moment: – if we have crooked teeth, we always notice what a wonderful smile some young beauty has; if we have a small bust, we will admire some buxom young goddess; and we always notice others wearing summer clothes, short tops, tight shorts, bikinis so well, and in a care free fashion; and so the tendency to compare goes on, fuelling our insecurities.
Naturally, the media doesn’t help. For example, when the Daily Mail releases an article suggesting that men – even older men – prefer women in their 20s. This sort of so-called journalism is a load of bollocks. The survey is based on one dating website. Clearly, that is hardly an empirical analysis that ought to be accepted, let alone relied upon. Let me reassure you based on my years of studying the lovely world of sex and relationships. I have I heard this sort of rubbish before. But I have also heard the exact opposite far more often. I have absolutely no doubt men prefer mature, well adapted women with experience! The 20-year-old younger model is simply a fantasy and not the reality of what they prefer to have as a long-term partner.
Nevertheless, this sort of bad journalism undoubtedly has an effect. It has a serious effect. It exacerbates the problems that abound in summer – because it combines the tendency for us to compare ourselves with others on the one hand, with threats to our relationships on the other. And that is a sure-fire recipe for insecurities to just flood to the surface.
When it comes to relationships, especially relationships that are new, or that have had recent issues such as infidelity, the last thing you need is misleading representations such as the results of some oddball survey. Let me give you an example. I had a friend who used to drive herself mad just before summer. She claimed she could not deal with her partner because he would fall victim to the scantily dressed women baring their white skin to the sun and was unfaithful every summer without fail. How much truth there was to what my friend claimed, I don’t know. All that I do know for sure, is that I never witnessed any bad behaviour on her partner’s part. Quite honestly, I think this was all down to her own insecurities, not his lack of fidelity.
Speaking of which, I would never have stayed with a partner who was unfaithful at all, let alone every summer. If I had a partner who strayed, he would be shown the door no matter what season it was. Relationships are about trust, loyalty and honesty. Without them, a relationship cannot work. Even when a partner was serial dating behind my back I was able to say thank you for the good times but goodbye, I will do fine without you.
In my younger days, after I had survived some terribly damaging relationships, I suffered from anxiety to the extent I was on – maybe even over – the edge of a breakdown. It was terrifying. Trust me, you need to nip these situations in the bud and deal with them.
A very useful technique I was given in rehab and therapy was to look at the flame of a candle as it burns. Think only about the flame. It refocuses your mind and eliminates negative thoughts f. It’s an excellent way to calm your mind and open it to positive thoughts.
Unfortunately, the insecurities that arise from fear of infidelity can be as damaging as actual infidelity itself. If insecurity arises in your relationship it can drive a wedge between you and your partner. And the inevitable mistrust and related arguments can get to the point where one of you cannot stay in the relationship and leaves.
Moreover, unless they are dealt with properly, the insecurities that arise from the mistrust and arguments can also lead to clinical mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Trust me, I know from personal experience. Feeling insecure is hell, and can be seriously damaging to you and your relationships unless dealt with.
In the course of preparing this article, I did some research to try to find out how extensive insecurity is. OMG, I was astounded to learn that so many high-profile, successful people struggle with insecurity. The list was virtually endless, including, to name just a few – Chloe Sevigny (actress); Philip Seymour Hoffman (actor), Princess Diana; Don Rickles (actor/comedian); Madonna (singer-song writer). Seriously, the list goes on and on. What I found particularly interesting is that most, admittedly not all, of the successful people I researched had both acknowledged the existence of their insecurities, and had also made at least some effort to deal with the root causes and effects of that insecurity. Here are some examples:
Sevigny – “I have the insecurities of everyone, certainly of every actress, I suppose of any woman. Even the most beautiful ones feel unhappy. Look at Bardot: she was suicidal. But I like to [deal with them] by playing to the camera. I like to ham it up.”
Hoffman – “I had insecurities and fears like everybody does. But I was interested in the parts of me that struggled with those things“.
Diana – “I want my boys to have an understanding of people’s emotions, their insecurities, people’s distress, and their hopes and dreams.”
Rickles – “I make fun of everybody and exaggerate both their and my insecurities.”
Madonna – “I think my biggest flaw is my insecurity. I’m terribly insecure. I’m plagued with insecurities 24/7.”
So, there you go. You and your insecurities – in fact, all of us and our insecurities – are not alone!
What’s important is to deal with them.
Dealing with insecurity
The first step is to identify where they are coming from. Often, they appear to come from your relationships but are, in fact, not caused by the relationship at all. They are within you. They are your own insecurities that just manifest themselves in stressful situations such as in the context of a relationship.
Many things lead to insecurities in relationships. Often, the insecurity is caused by features from previous relationships – whether your’s or your partner’s or both. For example, you might assume that because your partner was unfaithful with his former partner when he hooked up with you, that means he cannot be trusted not to do the same to you. This is a very common situation – after all, more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, and a good chunk of those will have ended because of sex and fidelity issues. And the insecurities that arise from assumptions and fears around fidelity, particularly where one or both partners have left previous relationships, are understandable. But this also is essentially a fundamentally negative and self-defeating mindset that is borne of generalisations and, as I said, assumptions. There there are many, many factors that lead to a partner moving on, such as sexual incompatibility, the fact that the previous relationship had just run its course and it’s time to move on, or maybe the simple fact that your partner met and fell in love with you and wants to spend their life with you… whatever … you get my drift.
The bottom line is that if you are in love and want your current relationship to work – if you really want it to work – you cannot judge your present partner and how he or she will act in the context of your current relationship on what they did in the past. There are so many factors within any relationship such that one cannot be used to measure how the next relationship will work out. If you do, your relationship is compromised from the outset.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t be mindful of history. As the old saying goes – “Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it!” By all means, you should talk to your partner about any issues that are on your mind. Ask him why he left his old relationship – what was good about it & what was bad. You will certainly learn something about him that may help your relationship going forward. You might even learn a thing or two about yourself. The ability to communicate openly is a fundamental feature of a positive relationship. It is right up there with the ability to trust one another. But seeing or assuming problems that are not really there is one of the biggest causes for relationships going wrong.
And assuming problems that aren’t really there is not only bad from your relationship, it’s bad for your health. The insecurities this causes can lead to mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. When we become anxious things appear that are not really there. We constantly look for something that may give us a sign and prove us right. And 9 times out of 10, we will find something, even if is not really there! It’s absolutely exhausting and, again, negative and self-defeating. Ultimately, if you love someone, either buy into the relationship or don’t. It’s your call.
The main thing to do is stop confusing your insecurities and anxiety with reality. Remember this is your issue and not your partner’s.
Having said that, inevitably, relationships will have many highs and lows. It is absolutely essential that you should feel comfortable and secure enough in your relationship to talk openly with your partner about any issues of concern you may have. If you can’t talk to your partner satisfactorily about these sorts of issues, the concerns will lead to insecurity. So talk to him. If it is a good relationships, he will listen to you and want to work out a solution to address your concerns.
A good idea that has worked for me is to go away together – whether for a night, a weekend or a week – whatever. Just get away from the routine environment and spend time with each other. Doing this away from the stresses and strains of everyday life – work, studies, kids, cooking meals, parents, friends, walking the days, whatever – getting away will enable you to talk when the mood is right for both of you.
When you are on a get-away like this, don’t try to force the issues. There will be natural opportunities during the trip to discuss the issues that are on your mind. Often, you will find that many of your concerns are not issues at all. They are just your old insecurities coming back. Identifying and sharing with your partner the fact that they exist is very cathartic, soothing and calming. Most importantly perhaps, it will allow you to express how you are feeling and explore why. That will also help your partner understand that you are feeling that way, why you are, and that it is not due to something they have done wrong etc…
Furthermore, sharing theses issues of concern and related insecurities gives the opportunity to discuss and agree a strategy to deal with any legitimate issues of concern – to agree to take specific actions to address them. Either way, you will either find out what the real issues are and whether and how they can be addressed; or you will know whether it is time to call an end to the relationship if you cannot agree on the existence, and how to address the issues. These sorts of formalities of a relationship in themselves provide security and closeness.
Whatever you do, don’t be dogmatic or dictatorial in these sorts of discussions. Don’t go into them with pre-conceived ideas of how the issues must be addressed. That sort of closed thinking will just lead to impasse in agreeing how to address any real issues that exist. Don’t try to control the situation to create something that meets your own image of what the relationship must look like in order to make you feel safe and secure. Relationships should offer safety and security naturally. Controlling the relationship can be very damaging to both you and your partner. A good example is those relationships where partners can never be apart. You should never need to keep your partner by your side at all times to feel secure. This only builds tension. Either for both of you will feel the other is too needy, and this can drive one or both of you away in an effort to find some space.
Instead invest in yourself for the benefit of your relationship. The more confident you are and self-esteem you have, the easier it is to have positive relationships. Start challenging yourself, get into fitness or join some other activity. The more happy you are in yourself the happier you will be with others.
Another strategy is to give yourself, and those around you, time to breathe. Balance is the hallmark of all positive relationships – partners – work – family – self. Each one has to be balanced. Becoming comfortable in your own company will help ease anxiety and move the focus of wanting to be with your partner rather than needing to be with your partner.There was a time when I found it impossible to be in my own company. I took drastic measures to address that situation. I contacted my doctor and asked for help. I knew alcohol was part of my problem and I used it as emotional scaffolding, when in fact alcohol made my insecurities much worse. As soon as I took a break from alcohol and addressed my own insecurities, which happened to be from a past relationships, I suffered less anxiety.
Stop over analysing your partner. This is a serious issue in our 24/7 world where everyone is so connected by technology. The worst aspect of this is trying to sense from a text message what his mood was when writing it. Trying to second guest your partner’s emotions on the basis of a text or email is a recipe for disaster. If this sort of communication makes you feel insecure, let him know, and suggest you need to actually speak on the phone or skype instead. This is something I ask for in all relationships. I cannot abide text message or email relationships. If you can type you can talk as far as I am concerned. Skype, Viber, face time whatever they all work. And they are so much better to avoid and address misunderstandings.
Incidentally, I am not just talking about intimate relationships here. Discovering what is making or has made you insecure will help you in all your relationships, not just your intimate ones. Relationships of all kind are affected by insecurities – friendships, family and even work relationships can become affected. Insecurities can have a ripple effect where you trust no one. Therefore, if you do feel insecure in any of your relationships, be sure to address the underlying issues.
And a final word from a real star – Aimee Mullins – American athlete, actress and fashion model – oh, and double (lower leg) amputee!: “People presume my disability has to do with being an amputee, but that’s not the case; our insecurities are our disabilities, and I struggle with those as does everyone.“
What an absolute star and role model. And what an absolutely normal person at that!
Stay positive,think positive nd attract positive x