For a person to have healthy relationships–whether family, friendship, dating, or marriage–they must first be a healthy individual. There are many factors that influence our health, one of which we like to call your social barometer. A fully developed social barometer helps to set you up for a successful romantic relationship. If you experience social insecurity, that means your social barometer needs some extra attention.
Our social barometer impacts how we “read the room” and interact with others. It affects how well we can read social cues, and how we behave in social settings. Ultimately, our social barometer plays a hand in helping us develop empathy.
When we’re socially insecure, we’re constantly turned inward, over-analyzing ourselves instead of considering the people we’re with. This often shows up as fear, insecurity, self-consciousness, and anxiety in social settings. When we’re in a social setting or spending time with the people in our lives, most of us would prefer to have healthy interactions. But, social insecurity sabotages those interactions, even when we have the best of intentions.
Becoming more secure around others, and with ourselves, is an important step toward becoming a healthier individual–and, in turn, having healthier relationships. Let’s look at a few ways we can overcome social insecurity.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Comparison is one of the most insidious ways social insecurity creeps in. When we compare ourselves to others, we amplify our own perceived faults. As a result, we place other people on a pedestal, tearing ourselves down in the process.
It’s common for us to compare ourselves to others, but it’s a habit best broken. Comparison can lead to resentment, envy, and a sense of worthlessness in ourselves. If we’re blinded by our own inadequacies, then it’s going to be difficult to build and maintain healthy relationships.
2. Get out of your comfort zone.
Many people feel uncomfortable around others from time to time. But retreating into ourselves keeps us from being able to forge deep, meaningful connections with the people we encounter. While it might feel comfortable to hang back and spin in our insecure feelings, it’s critical to get uncomfortable with hanging back and engage in more meaningful conversations.
When we’re feeling withdrawn, we are often preoccupied with what others are thinking about us. Even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s necessary to start breaking down those barriers and truly connect. But when you overcome the habit of avoiding others, especially in social settings, you’ll find yourself forging deeper relationships. Even better, you’ll find it easier to read not only your own social cues, but those of the people around you.
3. Learn to be open to criticism.
We feed social insecurity when we make a habit of avoiding criticism. When we’re withdrawn and focused on the impressions we make on other people, we often try to keep them happy. We’ll bend over backward to do whatever it takes to avoid drawing another person’s ire.
However, it’s not realistic to expect that we can go through life and never be criticized. Instead of avoiding critical feedback, it’s essential to embrace the fact that we’ll face it sometimes. Letting go of the desire to please the people around us will help us grow more secure in who we are as individuals.
Individual health leads to relationship health.
When you’re a healthy individual, you’re much more likely to build and nurture healthy relationships. We like to say that our relationships are only as healthy as we are. Our book, Healthy Me, Healthy Us, is a handbook of tips and valuable information to help you become a healthier person so your marriage and close relationships can thrive. You can pick up your copy here.
Do you struggle with social insecurity? Have you in the past? Share your story in the comments.