( continued from yesterday )
COPING STRATEGIES FOR TAMING INSECURITY
1. Keep a journal of your triggers. Anytime you find yourself getting anxious or insecure, write down the situation, the feelings you experienced, what you were thinking, and how you acted. This running log will help you discover patterns behind your projections so you can more readily short-circuit them in the future should they happen again. Try to write about where your insecurity originated, what your insecurity looks like, the types of beliefs that feed this feeling, the consequences you’ve suffered as a result of its existence, and create a vision for how you will look as a man with a secure base.
2. If you find that you project another person from your life (an “ex”, your father, etc.) onto your partner, make a list of all the reasons why your current lover is not like these individuals. Write down all his good qualities and why he’s a good partner choice for you thus far. This will help keep you centered in the here-and-now, not the past.
3. Changing these patterns takes time, so develop the art of patience and realize that these negative feelings you have may take a lot of time to diminish. Learn a variety of relaxation techniques that you can use to help de-stress yourself whenever the anxiety hits. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization are good ones to start with. Become more attuned with your body and recognize the physical sensations you feel when anxiety strikes so you can utilize your coping skills before the feelings magnify and get acted-out.
4. Practice thought-stoppage techniques. Get skilled at tracking your thoughts and identifying which ones are helpful vs. hurtful for you. Negative anxiety-provoking thoughts can be stopped dead in their tracks by snapping your wrist with a rubber band and immediately redirecting your thoughts to more positive self-talk. Sounds weird, but it can help break you out of the trance that anxiety can create and gives you a split second to change the course of your thoughts.
5. Affirmations are positive/motivational quotes, sayings, or statements that can keep you centered on good things. Create your own affirmations and write them down on index cards. Anytime you get into a funk or find yourself unable to control the negative thinking, pull out your cards and read them aloud.
6. If you find yourself unable to control the whirlwind of emotions when you’re with your partner, delay your responses to him and leave the room until you’re able to calm down and get more focused with a positive perspective. Taking this “Time-Out” will help get you more grounded and avoid any potential conflicts that could harm the trust in your relationship. Schedule a time with your partner to discuss the matter when you’re both more composed and able to really hear each other.
7. Manage your worries by identifying things you can vs. cannot control. Channel your energies into the things you do have control over and learn to “let go” of those you don’t.
8. Get out of your own head! Anytime you have the swirling, negative thoughts, take the focus off of yourself by doing something behaviorally that will benefit or attend to your relationship in a positive way. Do something for your partner that you know he would enjoy. Surprise him, seduce him, anything to break out of the self-absorption so you can do something productive and affirming for your boyfriend and relationship. Be creative!
Those are just a few strategies to get you started. Keep these tips close whenever you feel triggered, as they just might help stop the chain reactions you feel so you can redirect yourself to a more healthy mindset and behavioral choices.
To overcome insecurity, you must be willing to take the risk of being vulnerable, develop more humor and light-heartedness, and increase the communication between you and your partner to move in the direction of strengthened intimacy and connection. You can do it!
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com