Today we tackle insecurities. Insecurities tend to affect our relationships and ultimately overall our happiness. We open up and share some of our own personal insecurities that we are currently dealing with. But don't fret, we provide ways to alleviate those insecurities while still maintaining your sense of humility and not compromising boundaries.
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Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and Emily Matlack.
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Dedeker: One of the best strategies for canceling out insecurity was actually optimism.
Emily: That's nice.
Dedeker: I'm very much an optimistic person so I was like, "Huh?"
Emily: If you're happy with the same old ways of dating.
Dedeker: You enjoy sucking at communication.
Jase: You have no desire to improve your romantic life, then our podcast might not be for you.
Dedeker: If you want some out-of-the-box ideas to deepen your current relationships.
Emily: Broaden your sexual horizons.
Dedeker: Develop a better understanding of yourself.
Emily: Or learn more about non-monogamy.
Jase: Then you've come to the right place. I'm Jase.
Emily: I'm Emily.
Dedeker: I'm Dedeker.
Jase: This is the Multiamory Podcast.
Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory Podcast we're going to spring training for football to become defensive guards and tackle some insecurities. Thank you for bearing with me. I'm sure you were confused there a little bit.
Emily: It's winter.
Jase: Yes, winter. We're going to spring training kind of in advance.
Dedeker: I thought spring training was like a baseball thing. Is football season like in winter?
Emily: You totally ruined the metaphor, but that's okay. You did a cross-reference to the metaphor thing.
Dedeker: I don't know if you ruined the metaphor if he'd just highlight the fact that we know absolutely nothing about sports in this show.
Emily: Just figure skating, that's- Yes, I guess so. Seriously, this episode we're talking about tackling insecurities. This is a topic that we have had on our list to get to for a long time now, so it's very exciting that we're getting to this. We're going to be covering the ways that insecurities can affect our relationships and our happiness as well as some different types of insecurities, different categories of them and how those can affect our lives. At the end, we're going to talk about some take-home action points of things that you can do to help combat these and tackle them yourselves and get drafted in the first pick. That's a football thing.
Emily: The first pick?
Dedeker: Drafted in which first pick of the super team of confidence. Is that what it is?
Jase: Yes. The first pick in the team of life being good.
Dedeker: I like that team.
Emily: Yes. That a good team to be a part of. I am amazed that we haven't done this yet because I think that this is something that so many people experience. I absolutely do. I think from time to time even the two of you do.
Emily: Maybe Jase more than Dedeker.
Dedeker: I hate insecurities. I have them. I hate them but then at the same time, the people that I know who seem to have no insecurities and are confident all the time are also kind of assholes so I just don't know where to be or how to be.
Emily: It's that fine line of how can one be or have humility but then also be secure with themselves. Maybe the ultimate security is also being humble. I don't know. Having both at the same time.
Jase: Yes. That is something that came up when I was researching this, it's that distinction actually between humility and insecurity. That while we tend to view humility as a good quality of being aware of the fact that we're not perfect and that we can improve and there's still stuff to learn versus insecurity, it gets to this, I'm never good. Or I'm very rarely good enough. There's this difference between could be better versus good enough. Whether or not you live up to a certain bar that's been set in your mind. I do think that's an interesting distinction to make. I think what Dedeker's pointing out is maybe just people without humility rather than people without insecurities.
Dedeker: Right. It's how do you be in the middle path there? I think that's what I'm always struggling with is how do I maintain a sense of humility but also don't just crumple into totally devastating and security all the time but also, how do I not tip the needle into I'm just going to bluff my way through life as though there's nothing wrong with me and I'm great and I'm perfect and never have I heard the word insecurity?
Emily: It's like knowing that you know nothing but being okay with that.
Dedeker: I guess I can get on board with that.
Jase: I was just going to say a metaphor that comes to mind. I don't know if this is a good metaphor, but I remember one of the times when I was talking with a personal trainer about working out and stuff like that and one thing they mentioned was a lot of people come in and are concerned about, "I don't know if I want to do that or this or the other thing because I don't want to get beefy and bodybuilder looking because that's not the look I'm going for." Their response was, "That's not a thing that can just happen."
Emily: Just like, bam.
Jase: The people who look like that kill themselves to get to look like that. That's not something that's just going to happen. I know this isn't a perfect metaphor, but I do feel like there's a sense of if you even have the concern about being that arrogant person I feel like it's not so much, "No, I became too confident and now I'm this arrogant asshole who thinks they're perfect and never listens to anyone." I don't know. I just feel like having that concern at all is a good indication that that's not the place you're going to go.
Dedeker: You're saying that I don't need to worry about by boosting my self-confidence and tackling my insecurities that I'm going to become like a football player that's too ripped. I'm going to become a football player that's just ripped enough.
Emily: There you go. Perfect. Sure.
Jase: Yes. Sure.
Jase: Imagine football.
Emily: Yes. Absolutely. I do think it's interesting how insecurity shows up in super random ways. Dedeker, you visited me with your partner Alex recently and I found myself getting really self-deprecating at times and saying sorry a lot around Alex. I think it was because I was like this guy's really cool. He's funny. He has an awesome accent. He's really tall. He seems very accomplished at his job so I'm just going to apologize a lot and self-deprecate. I was like, "Wow, that's not something I should be doing right now," but I saw it happening a lot. I was trying to internally look at myself throughout that situation. [laughs] It's very strange.
Dedeker: That's so interesting. I didn't notice that all.
Emily: I definitely.
Dedeker: I'll have to talk to Alex and see if he noticed it. That's really interesting.
Emily: You're probably used to it with me by now.
Dedeker: A little bit. Anyway, so I guess the first thing that I want to talk about here is the fact that when were riddled with insecurities or not even riddled even when you just have a couple of insecurities it can keep you in a really bad feedback loop. Essentially, the idea being maybe you're in a situation that you want to improve. Maybe you want to apply for a better job. Maybe if you want to start a new project. Maybe you want to pursue someone that you're interested in. Whatever it is, that in itself is the issue you're trying to tackle but then if you have insecurities those tend to take away your resources for problem-solving and for coping.
It saps away all your resources where you're dealing with your insecurities either stressing about them or trying to handle them or trying to get them to stop being so present in your mind or in your life or whatever. That's taking away the resources and energy that you would normally be using towards accomplishing the things you want to accomplish. I feel like, gosh, I run into this all the time particularly recently because of the fact that I'm really interested in writing another book. Instead of spending my time actually taking steps towards doing that, writing a proposal and stuff like that, I'm caught in this feedback loop of like, "Oh my God, I'm such an imposter."
Trying to figure out how to handle that instead of actually putting my energy toward the thing itself. That's definitely something that can gut us not just in our professional lives, but also in our romantic relationships as well.
Emily: Yes. Going into the romantic relationship part I think that even if somebody is with us and has been with us for a long period of time we can get in this loop of saying I'm not worthy of them or they don't actually want to be with me. It can get us into treating our partner like they don't want to be with us and we're not deserving of them. That can just eventually lead to these self-fulfilling prophecy is coming true. Your partner maybe eventually getting fed up with that and deciding to leave which is very sad. Nobody is immune to this. I do look at people especially in Los Angeles who seem very successful, who are very successful at their jobs and some of those people are, unfortunately, the most insecure people that I know, for whatever reason. Even though one would think that they have everything in the world to be secure about.
Dedeker: Right. I've definitely experienced that worse, where sometimes it's almost like I see this inverse effect between how successful or how attractive or how rich a person is and it is like this inverse ratio to how insecure about all that they are. I don't want to make a blanket statement. That's just anecdotal. It's like what I've noticed among the people that I've met in my life. I think it does go to show that external factors can be a part of your sense of security, but most of the time a big chunk of it is how you deal with yourself internally and what's going on internally, what's going on in your past? What's your baggage from childhood? All these things that can still feel these very deep seated insecurities. It's not just related to accomplishing the things that you want to accomplish or getting the body that you've always wanted or getting the income you've always wanted.
Jase: It reminds me of this thing that gets mentioned a lot in certain mindfulness and positive psychology stuff, which is this idea of putting your happiness in the future. I guess, we've talked about on the show before of that idea of, what is it fear and hope or the twin dragons guarding the gates to heaven or whatever, that whole thing?
Emily: Yes, isn't that a shambhala again?
Jase: I don't actually think it's from the Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior book, but maybe from a different book.
Emily: Just a sec...
Jase: Is there something. The idea being that fearing everything that's going to happen is going to keep you from being in the now, like in the moment, and instead you're just worrying about all the bad things that will happen. In this case, hope means this idea that like, "Well, eventually, once I get to that, then I'll be happy."
Emily: Then I'll be happy again.
Jase: I hope I'll get this thing, then I'll be happy. Again, you're not actually being happy right now. I think I've also brought this up before too, but just like in interviews, at the height of her career, Oprah has said that was the time she was the most depressed and the most miserable in her life. It's this thing of, you're always putting your happiness in these goals you're getting to. Even if you get to the top of that, it's like, well, where do I go from here?
Emily: Yes, it's almost what are you doing next? That's what people say, instead of just living in the moment and being appreciative of the things that you have, right then.
Jase: I'm particularly bad about that one about being very goal oriented and thinking toward the future instead of, actually appreciating what I have right now. That's one that always hits home for me.
Emily: It's understandable.
Jase: Let's move on into talking about some different categories and different manifestations of insecurity. The first of these three categories, we're calling recent events. This is things like insecurities based on failure and rejection that have actually happened in your life. Right about the time that you were last in the draft pick in your football team or see, how I brought that back again?
Emily: I know. This episode is just about football.
Jase: Apparently. Maybe it's going on right now? I have no idea. This may or may not be football season.
Emily: It is because like the Super Bowl is in the-
Jase: February, right?
Emily: -early, yes, in February. Yes, it's going on?
Jase: Perfect time.
Emily: Good job.
Jase: We're right in the middle of football time.
Emily: [inaudible 00:13:05]
Jase: It's important to distinguish that these are about things that have actually happened in the past that you now have insecurities about today.
Dedeker: The thing to bear in mind is that actually, studies on happiness have shown that up to 40% of our "Happiness quotient" is based on our recent life events, not just past life events. I do think it's interesting that that is a minority, that our external circumstances influence our happiness to like a 40% degree, that it isn't a majority, which I think that we can sometimes be fooled into thinking is the case. That like, if we just surround ourselves with things that make us happy externally, then we will be happier or will feel secure.
Emily: Does that mean that 60% is internal, or what? It were, it's not event related, necessarily. It might just be other things and probably a lot of that is internal.
Dedeker: Yes, 60% is probably like mental, emotional, inner life internal workings, based. Something like that. Anyway, yes, but things like if you did recently have a failure, if you did recently get rejected for a date, or for a job interview, or you're passed over for promotion, or something like that, like those things can definitely have an effect on your self worth, on your self esteem, and your sense of security as yourself.
Emily: Yes, and there is this thing, like, if we, as people have low self esteem already, then when these difficult negative events happen, we're more likely to see ourselves and other people more negatively as well. If you do have some self esteem built up, like, then it allows you to be a little bit more resilient in those moments, when something bad happens to know, okay, in a moment in time I can move on, it's not necessarily about me, or even if it is, it's something that I can pick myself back up from. Instead, if you do have that low self esteem, it's more challenging to be able to do that.
Jase: I feel like this is also the one where we can get in that idea of, "Well, this thing happened to me in the past, so that must be a problem with me, and it's always going to happen again." You're so focused on that, that you almost like find situations where that's going to happen again, because that's at least comfortable and doesn't challenge your belief of who you are and what you deserve and things like that.
Emily: We can attach belief to anything really. That's a really good point. Yes, we can find like, the thing that we believe to be true and that story and just say, "Well, "this has to be the case. I am shitty for this reason or whatever."
Jase: Yes, exactly. Or that these things all must be my fault, so therefore, this is what people think of me.
Emily: Absolutely. The next one is going to be relational. That includes social anxiety, and also our old friend attachment insecurity. We've talked about attachment styles and attachment theory on this show, specifically in Episode 82. All of that relates to this relational manifestation of insecurity.
Jase: One example of this is job interviews. Not even talking about romantic relationships here, but it's this being super critical of yourself in relation to how other people think about you, but not based on the past, but how you expect them to behave to you. Like going into an interview or a first date, or going to a party or meet up or something, with a lot of this like loud voice in your head, that's giving you the criticism of why people aren't going to like you, or why you're not going to get the job, or why this person isn't going to want to see you or why you're unattractive today or right, the list goes on and on and on about what those things could be.
This I think, could also be related to past experiences, right? If you've had past experiences about not fitting in as a kid or something like that, that you can bring those with you. I think the differentiation between these is, one's about like, I'm worried about these past events repeating, or I value myself this way, because of these things that happened in the past. Versus this is more when you're now projecting into the future, or projecting into other people's minds.
Emily: That also goes along with the attachment theory stuff as well. That, it's based on your relationship with your parents as a child. If your parents tended to be really the attachment heavy, and like they were helicopter parents, and always were around you, but then if you did something wrong, they tended to like retreat, then you may feel more of an anxious attachment style. Or you may be like the type of person to also, what is the attachment cell that Dedeker you've said you are at times?
Dedeker: I am definitely 100% avoidant.
Emily: Avoidant, Exactly. That can also be like a cause of parents just avoiding their children, or giving them a lot of free time and you deciding as an adult, you're going to be a little bit more avoidant in your relationships as well.
Dedeker: That's the thing is that like, insecurities can come up related to what your attachment style is, it's actually quite common in romantic relationships. It can be things like if you tend to be a person who's more avoidantly attached that, if a partner asks for something from you, or needs to rely on you in some way, like maybe it brings up this insecurity of like, "I'm not a reliable person, or no one can actually love me or the way I am or whatever, and so I'm going to pull away. I'm going to be avoidant or I'm going to be distant."
This can also be triggered in the opposite, that it can manifest as when you feel insecure about a partner not being there, or you're not being able to live up to the partners expectations, that can trigger behavior that's like really clingy or anxious. If you're anxiously attached, and it's important to talk about because the fact that our insecurities come coming up, it's always going to be a mix of like an internal and external factors.
What I think with the attachment styles thing is that it's very much a mix of both that it can be very much like your internal baggage of stuff that you've carried with you into adulthood from your childhood relationships, but also can be influenced by what your partner's attachment style is. It's really classic to see someone who's anxiously attached, someone who tends to get more clingy or more needy with someone who's avoidantly attached and they've just said to each other's insecurities off, back and forth and back and forth.
Yes. The avoidant person pulls away, and so that means the anxious person feels like, "Oh gosh, they're pulling away what's going to happen? I don't feel very secure in this relationship." They cling on and then the avoiding person is like, "Oh God, they're clinging onto me. It's way too much. I need to pull away more." It just becomes this back and forth fueled by these matched up insecurities that tend to set each other off.
Jase: Yes, definitely. I think this one also just comes up in more like social anxiety situations as well, of just being in groups being new somewhere. I know that's one that comes up for me a lot. Like going to a place where I don't know people like that is definitely a place to where...
Emily: Do you get anxious?
Jase: Yes, very much so. Just this like, "Oh gosh, I'm going to say something wrong, and everyone's going to hate me." This used to come up for me a ton when I was doing more performing as a musician specifically when I was playing in bands.
Dedeker: You'll be like I'm going to sing something and everyone's going to hate me.
Emily: That has never happened.
Jase: It would be after the fact, and I actually talked to a therapist about this back when I was living in Seattle and was performing and singing in bands and stuff like that. As I was just like, I feel like when I perform that everyone there is, "Who is this guy up there? Singing, thinking people want to listen to him. Like this sucks." Her question to me was, "Did someone there say that to you?" I was like, "No, but I felt like that was what they were probably feeling."
She brought up for me this idea like we were talking about where you're projecting either into the future or into other people's minds, what you think their thinking rather than basing that on evidence. I guess that's another way it differs from the stuff that's based on recent events. Even though obviously [crosstalk]
Dedeker: I feel like now, Jase, I still see it as the same thing come up with you. It's just a set of singing it's like, "I did this podcast live show and-
Emily: Everyone hates me.
Dedeker: -yes everyone in the audience hated me."
Emily: Dedeker and I are the ones who have to pick you up after that.
Jase: Yes. That's true. It's still there.
Dedeker: Well, okay. I actually think this is a good transition because I do think a big part of that is our third category kinds of the ways that insecurities can come up. That's in the realm of personal judgment, so things like, feeling a strong sense of perfectionism or a strong sense of comparison and I will 100% say that I am this is me to a t.
Emily: Yes. Ditto, it's interesting because I think I grew up with a lot of comparison in my life. Like people compared me to my mother and then my mother compared me to my friends or she even does it sometimes like looking out at women, and she's like, "That girl is looking at you." Like she probably wishes that she was pretty as you or something. I'm like, maybe she's just looking at me.
Emily: Like I look at women and I'm like, "Damn that's an amazing outfit. I wish I had that outfit," or just like, I think that she looks really great today. I'm like, maybe, I don't know if she's necessarily comparing herself to me or wanting to be something that I am, maybe she's just looking and interested. I think that shift in the idea of comparison instead of being like, I want something that they have rather just saying, that person looks lovely today. Or how nice for them as opposed to like really comparing myself and like my shortcomings to all of the things that they have.
It's interesting just that small distinction. We have so much pressure, especially in America to have the best job, the highest salary to look a certain way or have an ideal partner or an ideal family. Constantly, right now everyone is getting married on my Facebook feed.
Emily: Everyone's getting married and having a baby like right this second. I think especially when you hit 30, and just life starts throwing you like what the perfect idea is of all of those things. It's easy to be well, I'm not doing that, I'm clearly not perfect for a variety of reasons.
Dedeker: Well, yes. I think that is so interesting that it's like we don't get told that this objective version of what perfect is. None of us know objectively actually what perfection is, but we do get told this very subjective version of what perfection is. It is having your traditional monogamous marriage and your 2.5 kids who are adorable and well behaved, and you're working a job that you love so much that it doesn't feel like work, but it also happens to be able to pay off all your student debt and help you support a family. Then also on top of it, don't have any pores.
Emily: Don't go that path.
Dedeker: Do not have any visible pores, no visible pores. Please no happening [crosstalk] no flyaways please be thin and have the best sex ever. It's interesting that it's just this very prescribed version of what perfection is and we still hold ourselves to that very perfectionist attitude.
Emily: Not everyone, but it's funny like on Facebook I saw this birth announcement or this announcement that someone was pregnant and it was like this couple, with a white picket fence, like with snow all around them. I was like, "Wow, okay." This is the definition of what people think that perfection is so often and that's great for them. It is really lovely but if that is not your reality, being able to find within you that that's okay and that you're not doing something wrong. I think it's easier said than done sometimes.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely.
Jase: I think this can also come up even not just conforming to the kind of conventional standards of perfection or of success but also in your own community or just in the people that you idolize or look at. This is something that I've heard many people, like for example, in the bisexual community. I cannot even tell you how many people I've heard stories from about not feeling like they're queer enough because they're bi or that they're bi, but there's still cisgender. They aren't queer enough whatever it is that there's again, this arbitrary standard of perfection or something. Ironically, I think all of us can find ways to be imperfect no matter what, and part of that is, well, sorry, go ahead, Emily.
Emily: Well, no, no. I've definitely questioned myself I'm like, can I call myself queer? I think I can. I think it's like I can.
Emily: I definitely I am. Yes, absolutely. It's that question of like, am I enough, am I this enough? For sure.
Jase: Part of that is this tendency we have to compare our weakest points to other people's strongest points. Is this idea that, because, and I think of it that this is not something that the internet or social media created, but I think it makes it much easier to look at just to the bright and shiny things that other people show you about their lives. That we can have this kind of tunnel vision where we just look at the ways in which these people are successful in the ways that I'm not or the way that they are whatever in the way. It's that I'm not rather than looking more for like, "This person's similar to me in this way, or like, I'm doing really well in this way." It's so much easier to focus on where we're not. That's that perfectionism and comparison.
Emily: Dedeker, what are you even insecure about?
Dedeker: Are you serious right now?
Emily: Yes, I am. Like you just never to me exhibit any insecurity ever.
Dedeker: Oh well, it's okay because I exhibit it to myself plenty, plenty enough. Plenty enough I don't know. Actually, that's funny. That's something that actually I will talk about a little bit more in the bonus content.
Emily: Okay. All right.
Dedeker: Tune in and become a patron subscriber if you want to find out if Dedeker has any insecurities at all.
Dedeker: No, I'm just kidding. I'll talk about a little bit more in our bonus content, but actually, it's funny because I feel like at least right now where I'm at in my life, I don't feel like I have a lot of relational insecurity. Like I feel in my relationships, I feel relatively securely attached.
Emily: That's good.
Dedeker: I still have some avoidant tendencies and some insecurities that come up, but as a whole, I feel pretty secure in my relationships. However, like all my insecurities right now are all more in my professional life in a lot of imposter syndrome that comes up or in a lot of like getting down on myself for not creating enough or not writing enough or not doing enough for or not whatever. Again, it's all the same things that we've talked about. It's like not only the standard of perfection of what I've been told I need to look like or be like in order to be successful or perfect, combined with also comparing myself to other people that I know who are writers or content creators or who are in the same field as I am.
That I look at all that and again, I compare my weakest points to other people's clearly stronger points. Of course, I'm never going to come out ahead in that comparison. Yes, that's where I feel like my insecurities lie these days. I also have some dry skin under my eye that looks bad that I'm insecure about right now. If you really want to keep getting super specific.
Emily: I'm so sorry.
Jase: Very specific and very right now.
Dedeker: What about Emily. What are you insecure about these days?
Emily: Absolutely everything.
Emily: I'm insecure about the wrinkles that I'm getting because I'm 30 now.
Dedeker: I'm insecure about my wrinkles too.
Emily: I was like, I want to take a picture of myself at Disney with my stage makeup on and then compare it to hopefully next year a picture of myself with my stage makeup on at Disney. To see the changes from 30 to 31. Maybe I shouldn't do that.
Dedeker: Wait, you're already planning for some more insecurity generating for yourself?
Emily: Look at there it is. She called me out of my own bullshit. Thank you. Thank you for doing that. I appreciate that. Yes, I'm also insecure about the things that I create that I'm like not the successful actor that I want to be, and that I don't have a shit ton of money but I also get to travel a whole hell of a lot too. I make a great podcast with my two best friends. Really, it's going to be okay. I live in Los Angeles, which is cool sometimes.
Dedeker: Jase, what are you insecure about these days?
Jase: Man. I definitely resonate with you, Dedeker, on the professional field there. Of just being like I'm 36 now I should have this figured out in terms of making lots of money and having a cool stuff or I don't know. As I say it, I'm like, I know, that's ridiculous because a lot of people look at my situation and they're like, "Dude I wish I could do that and travel for half the year and have a job the rest of the year." That sounds fantastic but there's still a lot of that personal doubt and comparison that comes up.
Then of course, with I'm also thinking about writing a book. Just the terrifying prospect of that and just how feeling that sense of everyone must have hated me after something I said at a live show or at a party or whatever. To think about that amplified in a book that's now written down so everyone can continue to come back and hate me about it.
Dedeker: Yes, welcome to my world.
Jase: Right, that's terrifying. That's super terrifying to me. That one definitely comes up.
Dedeker: Well, great. We're all insecure.
Jase: Yes, well it's true.
Emily: Welcome to the world.
Dedeker: Yes. Okay, now I'm feeling another layer of insecure that we're also insecure. Let's talk about ways to deal with that, shall we?
Emily: Yes, let's.
Jase: Something to go back to what I was talking about with a therapist that I talked to years ago about performing as a musician. Her question of did people tell you that? Where are you getting that from? Because it seems like a lot of people actually appreciated it, right? People clapped, these people bought you a drink after the show. Whatever it was from my stories, it's it sounds like you actually have more evidence that people liked it than evidence that people didn't.
In a similar way to that, when it comes to things like relationships or other parts of your life is going to the people who actually know you the best, and those are your friends. Those are your romantic partners. It's maybe your family. The people who know you the best and who are actually invested in you and getting feedback from them. That those people hopefully even if their feedback is constructive will say in some areas that isn't just like your perfect.
Even if those other people who will give you constructive feedback, they're also going to tell you the things that are good about you and the things that they like about you and the reason why they're your friend, or why they're in a relationship with you. Then I think the key ingredient here is actually believing them when they tell you. It sounds so simple and yet it can be so hard.
Emily: Saying thank you instead of like, "No, no, I'm not like that. I'm not worthy and what you're telling me."
Jase: Yes, on our communication hacks booster pack episode that we did a while back, Dedeker and I talked about our micro script of saying why thank you when you feel that urge to be like, "No, I'm not I'm terrible," or whatever it is. To just program yourself to be like, "Why, thank you." Or like, "Yes, you're right, thank you."
Emily: Or even if somebody says you're being really nice. That's also saying that you don't believe them in a softer way but I do that all the time.
Jase: That's totally you.
Emily: I know, exactly, I know.
Jase: Yours is you're so kind. That's what you say instead of thank you. Now, that's great. Check yourself for those things.
Jase: One thing that I particularly liked. That this was actually a different therapist, more recently was talking to me about was in talking to your partners or your friends, versus maybe some negative feedback you have gotten from somebody else who thought you were a jerk or who didn't like X, Y, or Z about you. Is she asked the question of who is more credentialed to tell you reliably about you? Some random person or some person who's known you for a little bit, versus someone who spends a lot of time with you. Or has been a friend for a long time or a family member who's known you a long time. Really asking that question.
For me at least right then that was what I needed to hear of realizing in the particular situation that I was feeling a lot of insecurity about. That Dedeker who was being very supportive to me was more credentialed then random person who had criticized me. Just that idea of credentialed stuck with me. I was like, I like that. I like that idea of how to think about it. Rather than just like well they're my friends. Of course, they're going to say nice things. Or they're my partner. You could also think they're way more qualified to talk about me and to understand me then someone else.
Emily: Some rando, totally.
Dedeker: I like that shift of checking a person's credentials. It sounds weird to say it that way. Just checking in and be like this person is close to me and they do have a better sense of who I am, what I'm good at, what I'm not good at. They're the one who can more accurately weigh in on who I am rather than a rando or whoever.
Emily: I initially thought that when you said credential that you were going be like, well this person has a PhD so they're more credentialed in life, and so if they say that I'm a good person then I must be.
Jase: This is a very particular credentialing. This is credentialed in knowing you. It's a very specific credential.
Emily: Totally, yes. The next one is to examine the stories that you tell yourself about your flaws. I think this is really important, because so often we get ourselves in this hole about all of the things that we do wrong or like you had said before. Well these events in my past keep occurring and so there must be a reason for it. Or like I therefore just must be a bad person or whatever.
If you do examine those specific moments and those things and the reasoning behind why these occurrences keep happening. Then you can probably start to dig out things about yourself and also, truths into well, maybe I should work on this thing about myself but this other thing is really actually wonderful and I do that really well. Looks like you want to say something, Dedeker.
Dedeker: Yes, sorry. This reminds me of this whole thing with the stories that we tell ourselves about our insecurities and about our flaws and things like that. It actually reminds me of relatively early on when I was first exploring nonimonogamous and polyamorous relationships. That if a partner of mine started dating someone new. First of all, I'll play the comparison game. I compare myself to that other person and see all the ways that I was lacking and they were not.
Not just the ways that I felt that I was lacking. Also, just the way this other person was different. Would be like, this person is a bar tender and this person likes horror movies. This person also, gosh, I don't know, likes this particular type of music. The story that I would tell would be that means my partner must want that and not want me.
Dedeker: They don't want all my flawed self. They want what this person is offering them. Then, of course, that story would continue to be like, "Okay well, I guess I need to strive to be more like that other person if I'm going to keep making my partner happy." It took a lot of embarrassment and painful lessons to learn like, no actually I need to lean more into the things that make me, me.
Dedeker: Because that's why my partner's with me. That's why we're in the relationship together. Is because I me and they're them and their other partner is themselves and that's okay. It is just so funny how it's like that story of like, okay that means that my partner wants these things and this partner they don't want me. It comes out of nowhere.
Emily: Yes, that does touch on the next one which is don't blame your partner for your insecurities either. Don't tell yourself, okay, my partner must want something that I'm not because they're interested in this other person that has a bunch of qualities. Don't automatically assume that your partner isn't interested in you. Because they also find X, Y and Z to be attractive.
Then the hard thing is we do get into these loops of like, okay my partner must want this thing and therefore they don't love me enough, or I am unlovable in some way. Then we can tend to lash out at our partner in certain ways because we feel unloved or we feel like they're not giving us what we need. Really it is mostly just about us in those moments.
Jase: I think that this isn't something that you can just do and all of a sudden, it's fixed, but moving away from the relationship escalator actually, I think is big and has been really big for me. Because there's that idea of like-- even being polyamorous is looking at like well, what's that next step? Kind of like we talked about in career terms. Of like, well, if things are actually good, then I must be getting to this next step.
It always gives you this thing to put your happiness on in the future. It's like once we're living together, then I'll be secure and then I'll be happy, or once I'm whatever their primary partner then I'll feel secure, or once we share of cell phone plan or-- right? Whatever it is. Once we start a podcast about polyamory together then I'll be secure.
I found that for me actually this is something that has made a huge difference. Where just being kind of entirely detached from the relationship escalator, or at least very detached from it. I feel like it's allowed me to actually appreciate my relationships that I have-
Jase: -a lot more rather than always thinking, but I'll be happy once I get to this. That's been a big change. Just to start, what you were talking about not blaming your partner for this. I think also not blaming the state of your relationship for it. Maybe it's related. Anyway, that just made me think about the relationship escalator, and now that was a big pivotal thing for me and getting away from that.
Emily: Yes, for sure.
Dedeker: Yes, I think that's actually a good segue to-- I'm going to give another call back to attachment style. I found that just being aware of what your attachment style is can take you so far. Just being able to know like okay I'm anxiously attached, so that means that when I feel like there's a crisis or I feel that my partner's pulling away that then these insecurities about my partner leaving me or abandoning me or whatever come up.
Being able to talk about that with your partner. Even being able to have a conversation with your partner about what their attachment style is. It can really open up so much for you just in being aware of it in the first place, so that then the two of you can strategize on what are the best ways that we can make each other feel more secure? What are the ways that we individually can help to heal ourselves to feel more secure. Even just that.
Again, you can go back and listen to episode 82. You can just do a Google search of attachment theory. Even if it's just reading the freaking Wikipedia. There's a bunch of quizzes and self-assessment tools and stuff like that to figure out what your attachment style is, but just having a little bit of that knowledge can really help with at least giving a foundation of when insecurities come up within your relationship.
That you can be like, okay, I know what this is. I know that this is probably something related to my attachment, or I know that maybe this is something related to the way my partner attaches. Then that's the beginning of a conversation rather than just a crisis of feeling terrible and insecure.
Emily: It's interesting because a lot of the books and articles on attachment theory talk about if you are in a relationship with someone who is secure that they can potentially pull you more into being secure yourself. Which I wouldn't bank on that always in all of your relationships and just hope like man I hope that I'm getting a relationship with a secure person and therefore my problems will be solved.
There is something to be said for if you do happen to be in a relationship with a more secure person too. Learning their ways in a way and allowing yourself to bask in that security, and bask in the knowledge that hey there's no push poll here in a way that I'm used to. Where like somebody pulls away and then I get really clingy kind of thing. Rather, they're teaching, they're helping me to find that security within myself and within my relationship.
Jase: Really, with all of this is actually finding therapy or counseling or a coach or something like that is big. This is not to say that I'm an anxious attachment person and I'm in a relationship with someone who's avoiding attachment, and we're just doomed, or I need a break up with them and find someone who's secure attachment style. That's not what we're saying, but if that is the case and if you're able to recognize that, that can help be a clue to say, "Hey, let's find a therapist to help us with this. To help us learn more about this. Let's read those books."
I think there's something just so valuable about actually having someone to talk to about it. I'm generally someone who always encourages people to try to do therapy on your own. Primarily, doing couples therapy, I think can be useful, but I think really having your own therapist or counselor or coach is way more important. If you're only going to so you're like I can only afford to do one or the other definitely do it for yourself. Because that's going to help you and your relationship much more than just doing the couple's therapy.
I also wanted to point out that there are a lot of opportunities for this. It's like every character on TV has a therapist, but we all have this idea that they cost hundreds of dollars every appointment and they go every week. Because everyone on TV is rich and successful and has huge apartments in New York, but the reality of it is that even during times in my life where I was super broke, I was able to find counselors or therapists who either had sliding scales, or who were social workers that you could go see for free or who were counselors at say, your university, who you could go see for free. Like I said, people who do sliding scale stuff like that.
That there are a lot of opportunities out there. It's worth just looking and asking about it. Even things like better help or what's the other one? Talk space.
Dedeker: Talk space.
Jase: That those online ones where you subscribe for a monthly amount. Those they don't advertise it up front but they actually have cheaper packages. Like if you didn't want to do phone calls and just have a therapist that you can write messages to every day. That it's significantly cheaper than the normal plan they seem to tell you is the only plan. They also offer a sliding scale for people who can't afford it. There really are a lot of options out there. Don't feel discouraged like this is something that's not accessible to you.
Emily: This is a tough one, but it's very important. I Franklin Veaux talked about this in some of the articles that we were reading regarding this episode when we were doing some research for it. He said that understand and accept that heartbreak and something like the end of a relationship, that both of those things are survivable. Survivable.
Emily: Survivable. [laughs] That you will survive, I will survive those things. Even if you do get broken up with or if a relationship just ends, it will be hard obviously but you are not going to die from it of a broken heart. You will move on and it will be difficult but it is the thing that you can move on from. Even if you were super insecure about a relationship ending, just know that nothing necessarily is forever and if it does end you can survive from that.
Dedeker: That is a tough one. That's like a really tough truth I think to internalize. I think that it can be relatively simple for some of us to mentally and logically get on board with that. Of like yes sure a relationship could end whatever and my heart could get broken, whenever and it obviously won't kill me or anything like that, but to actually internalize that is a hard one. Especially because we've also been trained from the moment we entered this world that it's like you need to do everything in your power to hang on to a relationship. You need to be doing everything in your power to make sure that your partner doesn't even consider leaving you or doesn't have any kind of opportunity that might inspire them to leave you or to want someone else or things like that.
Yes, I guess training yourself out of that is a process but I think that it can help to balance out a lot of that relational insecurity. Again, a lot of that just bad feedback loop like suffering that puts us into a state of worrying more about the loss of the relationship than about actually maintaining the relationship.
Emily: Yes, absolutely that's a tough one but important to know for yourself truly it will be okay. In the moment I think that that's easier said than done. When you feel like this relationship could end at any moment, or it's just really not going well. How am I going to survive without it? You will, humans are very adaptable creatures, we can do it.
Jase: I think just real quick to bring it back to what we were talking about earlier about comparisons. Also, our status that we're taught we should have. That a relationship is part of that. The idea of a relationship ending even if it's not one that's fulfilling for you or isn't happy for you, or is not happy enough of the time, or isn't for the other person. That there's that idea of well if I lose that, then I'm less good of a person because I'm checking of the boxes I'm supposed to.
With all these things we're talking about here with these action points, there things that you can definitely combined with each other and actually should. This isn't like pick one from the list. This is like do all of these things. Because in helping to work on your security and feeling more okay with who you are. Well, actually I think can empower you to feel more capable of surviving that situation. Similarly, having more of a support network or having a therapist or a counselor or a coach to talk to about things will make that seem more possible. That all these things can affect each other in good ways and help each other.
Dedeker: I think that also leads to our last couple points here. Which is it's so important to learn to value yourself and to find strategies to work around what's known as conditional self-esteem, or some people also call it conditional insecurity. Which is the idea of like sure when I'm feeling great and my job is going well and I'm earning money and I'm going on a bunch of dates with hot people or whatever then I feel great about myself and I feel very securely attached to everyone, but then when things are not going so great. If something went bad at work or I was rejected, or I failed in some way or my partner's off on a date with someone else or whatever, then I feel like crap. Then I feel very insecure.
Finding ways to just cope and break out of that cycle of just the back and forth of your self-esteem and your security just being attached to these external factors. It requires the work that we've been talking about here. Figuring out your attachment style, talking to people that you trust to get feedback about yourself. Asking for reassurance from a partner, going to therapy, things like that.
There's another strategy that actually there was this study conducted by Peking University about insecurity. They found that one of the best strategies for canceling out insecurity was actually optimism. I'm very much non-optimistic person so was like, huh, what, how?
Emily: I don't know about that.
Dedeker: Do I seem optimistic on the outside? Jase knows.
Jase: Well, I've got the all access pass though.
Dedeker: Yes Jase, it's true.
Emily: I see you a lot too but I don't know. Maybe Jase and I are optimistic enough for the both of [crosstalk]
Dedeker: I think that's the case. I think the two of you carry definitely the load of-- you carry the optimism labor on this podcast.
Emily: You're pragmatic and I appreciate that.
Dedeker: I am that's true. Here's the thing. Is that the study found that when it comes to insecurity like when you're optimistic you tend to attribute events that could have negative consequences. You tend to look at them in a different filter that reduces the amount of threat that they hold, primarily because when you're optimistic you're able to see those events as being outside of you. That they're caused by outside factors that will change for the better. That have to change for the better just over the course of time. It's the same thing with insecurities about yourself, insecurities about relationship, insecurities about your job, things like that.
There's this movement, this relatively new movement known as radical optimism. I just learned about it from following the Instagram account of Aydian Dowling who is a-- if you don't know him, he's the first trans man who was on the cover of Men's Health magazine.
Jase: Right, I remember hearing about that. His Instagram account is super amazing and he labeled himself as a radical optimist. The idea behind radical optimism is that you're not denying that there's major problems in the world. You're not denying that potentially things might go wrong. There may be catastrophes. You're not denying that sometimes things are sad or confusing.
The radical part of it is that it is the choice to always look for the good in something. Even when it seems clear that something is bad but still choosing to look for the good. I think it makes sense to me on a logical level. Like in moments when you're feeling insecure especially about yourself. About your own personal attributes or things like that of like really making that radical choice to know in this moment even when I feel like shit, I'm going to choose to find something good here or look for something good here. That it can be a really good starting point for being able to just snap out of feeling so funky about one’s insecurities.
Again, like I said, I'm really not an optimist. Optimism at all feels very radical to me. This is what I think I need to try on for myself and see how it goes.
Emily: That's lovely I like that.
Dedeker: Well, are we ready for some bonus content?
Jase: Yes, let's do it.
Emily: I think we are.
Dedeker: For this week's bonus content, I wanted to talk about my secret stash.
Jase: You wrote this down and Emily and I are both like what's the secret stash? What is this?
Emily: What’s so secret, what's a stash?
Dedeker: It's not money, it's not candy. Actually, I don't remember where I got this tip from. I forget if it was a therapist or something that I read. I forget the origin of this, but it was specifically about dealing with relational insecurity. It was like whenever a partner texts you something that's really sweet or really nice or that reminds you of things like why you enjoy the relationship or why you enjoy them. You take a screenshot of it and just save it in a little secret stash. Like a little secret holder-
Emily: That's cool.
Dedeker: -or making a note because sometimes it's not always a screenshot. Sometimes it's like if I went on a really good date or we had a really good conversation, or I felt particularly loved in a moment. Just making a note of that and just kind stashing that away somewhere. Then in moments like if a partner is out on a date, I'm not feeling great, or if I'm just feeling insecure about something going back to that stash. Just as a reminder of like yes, my partner loves me. We have a good relationship. I believe my partner when they say these things. Just to reup when you need to.
Now that I'm talking about it, occurs to me, like I said earlier, I don't experience a ton of relational or relationship insecurity these days, but I feel like maybe I should start trying to apply the secret stash thing to like my professional life or something like my creative content or things like that, because I don't have that. I don't have something that I very easily turn to when I'm feeling insecure about those things. Except for maybe some multi emery iTunes reviews sometimes.
Jase: That's funny actually, because I-- this just reminded me of advice that I got years ago. I think it was related to when I was pursuing acting. Which can be an incredibly discouraging thing to do. Because you're getting told no way more than you're getting told yes. Basically, the advice was very similar. Was like any positive feedback that you get write it down somewhere, or even write it down for yourself.
Like after each audition or each performance write down what you thought went well, rather than jumping right into criticism, because you know you're going to get to that. You know, you know your brain is going to go there. You know people are going to tell you that. The director is going to tell you that whatever, but take a moment and write down what was good or what good feedback you got and then then the same thing. So, you have this maybe a note on your phone or a real piece of paper or a journal or whatever, where you can turn back to it and look and be like, what are my strengths? What are the things that people liked about me? What do I like about myself? Just remember all that? No, I think that's a great idea. I never implemented it, but now I'm thinking doing that professionally would be a good idea.
Emily: You absolutely should. I think there's a lot that we can do for this show and for the other things that we do with multi emery and in our professional lives, absolutely. I really like that idea for relationships because again, in the moment where things are maybe bad, or it's not looking great, or even just if you're in a tiff with your partner to be able to go back and say, "Hey, these are the good things that have happened, these are some awesome things to look back at." Or if you are just feeling insecure, to be able to look and say, "My partner does love me, I am worthy of them." Or whatever, and these are all the reasons why, and they're concrete, and they're tangible, and you don't have to fish around in your mind for them, that's a really, really smart way of doing it.
Emily: I like that a lot.
Jase: Yes, because when you're feeling bad, you're fishing and those fish aren't biting.
Emily: Yes, it is amazing how our brains automatically go to the negative constantly when we're in situations that are stressful or challenging, absolutely.
Jase: Yes, I remember for this class that I did where I learned this, the assignment was to go back through your emails and look for nice things people said about you. Specifically nice things people said that were specific, that were like they were appreciating some particular thing about you.
Emily: That's cool.
Jase: I just remembered that, that it was actually like looking back, and what's nice is with email now most of us have all of our emails for years now, or possibly even our text messages. You can actually go back and look for that now, and get a jump start on creating your own secret stash.
Emily: Yes, that's awesome. Well, we're really, really interested in hearing about all of the ways in which our listeners combat insecurity and, do you have any special secret stashes, or special things that you do to make yourself feel better in insecure moments? Talk to us about it, the best place to share your thoughts with other listeners is on this episode's discussion thread in our private Facebook, or Discourse forums, you can get access to these groups and join our exclusive community by going to patreon.com/multiamory. In addition you can share with us publicly on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave us a voicemail at 678-M-U-L-T-I-05 or you can leave us a voice message on Facebook.
Multiamory is created and produced by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and me, Emily Matlack. Our episodes are edited by Mauricio Balvanera. Our social media wizard is Will MacMillan, our theme song is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand from the Fractal Cave EP. The full transcript is available on this episode's page on multiamory.com.
Pent: Hi, I'm Mr. Pent, co-host of Life On The Swing Set, and you're listening to a Swing Set Network podcast on swingset.fm.