Ever feel insecure in your relationship? You’re not alone. Attachment theorists believe that secure attachment, or safe emotional interaction and dependence on a loved one, is the most basic human need whether it is between child and parent or between romantic partners. In fact, feelings of insecurity or anxiety in a relationship, or anything that interferes with feelings of security are one of the greatest contributors to feeling unsatisfied in your relationship.
So how do we increase our feelings of security within our relationships? Recent research from Seattle Pacific University points to one method that may help. Mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment in a purposeful and nonjudgmental way. Results of a recent study showed that the more mindful you are, the more secure you will feel in your relationship, which will in turn enhance your feelings of relationship satisfaction. Even more, the more mindful you are within your relationship will have added benefits: mindful attunement to your partner may promote the activation and growth of neural circuitry associated with safety, security, and positive affect within the romantic relationship. Think: actually paying attention to what your partner is saying (or better yet, being in the moment and paying attention to how your partner feels in bed!) rather than ticking off that mental to-do list.
Being in the moment is easier said than done. As with all new habits, practice is key.
-Remember, being mindful is not an avoidance strategy, but rather in-the-moment awareness. Essentially, it's the opposite of being on “auto-pilot."
-Engage all five senses and be aware of what is going on in your environment.
-Try not to judge what you notice, just be aware.
Want your partner to be a home base for you so you can feel a greater sense of safety and security in life? Want to feel understood, cared for deeply, fulfilled no matter what stresses are going on in your life? The key is attachment – but remember the adage, ‘It is better to give than receive.’ You take the first step and make yourself an attachment figure for your romantic partner. Everyone is looking for that safe port in the storm and if you give it to the one you love, you’re likely to receive back in kind.
How do I become this home base for my partner?
First, do as She/ said, have a mindful attitude and practice. A mindful attitude allows me to be accepting and at peace with the environment my partner creates for me, even if it’s not the optimal home base I long for. By being accepting and at peace with the environment my partner creates for me I can be more accepting of my partner and extend myself out to him or her.
Second, attune yourself to your partner. You can’t determine the quality of your partner’s life, but you can enhance it, by giving full attention to and following the ways that she or he feels deeply cared for. Giving full attention means giving fully without being distracted with what you want in return. As She/ said, easier said than done. It takes a lot of practice and patience with yourself and with your partner.
Third, be a place of calm for your partner. Sheep won’t readily drink from fast flowing water, so when a shepherd brings his sheep to a bubbling brook he may lie down, stretch his arms out in a circle and create a calm pool. The sheep drink over his shoulders. Have you created a warm protective environment for your partner, a place of solace, a refuge? It’s the main thing that romantic partners do for each other – it’s what makes life good.
Fourth, you don’t have to be perfect – just good enough. And pay attention to what She/ said!