How to find safety and security in love
We all want to be in relationship. We are human. We need touch, words of affirmation, play, and protection. These things are essential for our survival as a species! So much of our emotional well-being depends on how safe we feel in our relationships. It is normal, we are human. The problem is, we often are not taught how to communicate, and we often get the message from our society, "You do not need anybody! Be strong! You can do it all!" Not true. We do need each other. Here are just a few ways to work toward the safety you are looking for in your relationships.
Acknowledge and challenge your tendencies.
Our tendencies in how we feel about ourselves, and how we behave in relationships are based in our primary attachment relationships. We learn how to love ourselves, take care of ourselves, and think positively of ourselves because our primary caregivers loved us, took care of us, and thought positively of us. Some of us without these positive early experiences struggle in relationships. We have low self esteem, find it difficult to connect, find it difficult to trust, and often see the same patterns play out over and over in our relationships.
Also, the relationships that were modeled for us in our childhood influence us. If you grew up in a loving home with a committed relationship being modeled, you probably find it easier to communicate, to forgive, to put the relationship first, and to work out conflict. If you come from a home where there was divorce, abuse, or unhealthy communication being modeled, you may find this more difficult. Of course these are generalizations, but I see the patterns play out time and again in my therapy practice.
Once you acknowledge the tendencies you have in your relationship, you can begin to find new ways of relating. Often these tendencies are not conscious. Once they are conscious, you have a choice. Healing from childhood trauma, and challenging your tendencies can help your current relationship. It can help you feel more safe, secure, capable, and in control of your emotions.
Experience safety and security in your body.
One thing that can make us feel more secure in our relationships is the ability to feel safe and secure in our own bodies. This may sound strange, but we are not born with the ability to feel safe and secure. We learn this, again, from our primary caregivers early in life. People with a “secure attachment” have no problem with this. People with “anxious”attachment styles really struggle with this.
Doing some work with a somatically focused psychotherapist can help you access feelings of safety and security. The ability to “regulate” yourself is a game changer in relationships. It allows you to stay calm, cool, and collected no matter what your partner is doing. It allows you to respond to issues in the relationship with care and consideration, instead of reacting out of a sense of panic or desperation.
Do not make assumptions.
Another thing that often causes problems in relationships is when we make assumptions. One common assumption is that people should treat us the way that we would treat them. This may seem like a good thing. I mean, we were all raised on the golden rule! “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” The problem comes in when we make the assumption that we are all the same. For example, “If he really loved me, he would not (fill in the blank). I would never do that!” This is simply not true. It is an assumption that you are exactly the same.
The only way to overcome this is communication and trust. You have to be able to listen to your partner’s perception of things with an open mind and trust that they are telling the truth. You have to be able to say, “He is behaving differently from how I would, and he loves me.” Not making assumptions, and learning how to communicate, can go a long way in feeling more secure in your relationship.
Communicate and commit.
When we think about communication, we usually think about having the right words to get our point across. Often, the most important part of communication is overlooked… listening. In order to create safety in a relationship, we need to really listen to what the other person is trying to say, and more importantly commit to understanding. This does not mean we have to agree. But we do need to accept that this person thinks differently and feels differently. You do not have to argue to see who is “right”. You are both right. Counterintuitive - you can disagree and both be right. Sometimes you just have to accept this. Communication means both talking and listening. Committing to understanding and acceptance is what makes us feel safe and secure. This is a two way street. Both parties have to be committed to it.
If you are struggling to feel safe and secure in a relationship, reach out for help. There are a lot of tools that can help you. A good therapist can make all the difference in the world! You deserve to feel safe and secure in your relationships.