Relationships may seem mysterious, but when we inspect them more closely we are likely to find patterns related to our attachment styles. That’s a term psychologists use to describe basic orientations that we form starting in our early childhood years.
The three main attachment styles are secure, anxious, and avoidant:
- Secure attachment helps us to feel confident and enjoy healthy, close relationships.
- Anxious attachment may lead to pushing people away by being too possessive.
- Avoidant attachment is associated with being isolated and emotionally distant.
The good news is that most people have a secure attachment style. But, you can change your style if you think it would have a positive impact on your relationships. These are some steps you can take with yourself and with your loved ones to welcome more closeness into your life.
Steps to Take with Yourself
1. Conduct an inventory. Take a good look at yourself. Do you avoid getting close to people? Do you worry about being left out? Once you accept yourself as you are, you can work towards becoming the person you want to be.
2. Develop your self-esteem. Secure attachment styles are grounded in a healthy sense of self-worth. Encourage yourself with positive self-talk. Acknowledge your accomplishments. Remember that you’re worthy of love!
3. Manage stress. Anxiety can express itself in many ways. When you feel more at ease, you’ll naturally project more confidence. Listen to soothing music, partake in daily prayer, or practice meditation.
4. Widen your circle. Relying exclusively on one person creates a heavy burden for any individual. Develop a broader support network of people with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings. Having more people to count on is a wise decision.
5. Step outside your comfort zone. Adjusting your attachment style will require some effort. Motivate yourself to take risks by envisioning all that you have to gain. In addition to enriching your romantic life, you may get along better with family, friends, and co-workers.
6. Seek counseling. It may help to talk with a professional if you see troubling patterns in your relationships or you have childhood issues that you want to sort out. Ask your doctor or a trusted friend for a referral. Some psychologists specialize in couples counseling or relationship issues.
Steps to Take with Your Partner
1. Know each other’s attachment style. Relationships thrive when you accurately assess each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be less likely to make false assumptions or take things personally. Even if you both feel secure, there may be areas you want to work on.
2. Communicate openly. Openly communicating and disclosing deeper truths allows people to get to know each other on a profound level. Be respectful and honest. Give your loved ones your full attention and compassion.
3. Take things gradually. It’s easy to get carried away in the early stages of infatuation. Make a deliberate effort to slow down and be objective. It will help you see beyond your feelings and notice if you’re heading for a disappointment or starting to form more constructive habits.
4. Assess your compatibility. While you’re working on the quality of your relationship, take into account where the other person stands. You may be in a marriage where you’re both determined to work through all obstacles. On the other hand, you may have a more casual connection where you can still be a good influence on each other.
Most of us have a mixture of attachment styles. Once you know your tendencies, you can understand yourself better and make positive changes that will help you enjoy more satisfying relationships.