Feeling Scared writes that her boyfriend wants her to meet his family but she’s too frightened. She knows that her insecurities are threatening her relationship, and we give her seven tips to help get those insecurities under control.
I’m in a long distance relationship with a loving, caring man. My biggest challenge in this relationship is me. I am very insecure, and it’s affecting every area of my life.
My boyfriend wants to introduce me to his family. I have been refusing because I’m scared they won’t approve of me.
Now we have hit a rough patch. He says his intentions were made known from the beginning, and he wants to know where he stands.
Please help me,
Dear Feeling Scared,
I see several good things in your situation.
First, you’re with a man you care for a great deal, and he clearly cares a lot about you, too, if he’s ready to introduce you to his family. That is awesome!
Second, you already know that it’s your own insecurities that are standing in the way of making progress in this relationship right now. That’s also awesome, because when you’re aware that something is a problem you can do something about it.
Now, let’s talk about what you can do about this problem, because if you want to give this relationship a chance you need to meet his family. Here are 7 ways you can start to take charge of those insecurities and get ready to do that…
1. Remind yourself that feeling insecure now and again is normal
Everyone feels insecure or bad about themselves once in a while. That’s totally normal. However, feeling this way a lot of the time can lead to all sorts of other feelings and behavior (jealousy and neediness, for example) that will damage your closest relationships. If insecurity is starting to take over your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis, it’s time to get serious about getting it under control!
2. Think about your good qualities
When we feel insecure, it’s usually because we’re listening to a little voice in our heads that’s telling us things like, “you’re no good,” or “you’re not good enough,” or “they won’t like you.”
You will be in a better position to argue with that little voice when it speaks up if you first spend some time reminding yourself of the good traits you have as a person. Are you kind, trustworthy, funny, or a good listener? What else can you add to the list? These are valuable traits and strengths that you bring to your relationships.
If you practice focusing more on what you offer instead of what you feel you lack, that will help start to change your perspective.
3. Remind yourself that what other people think of you is not the most important thing
I’m not going to say that it doesn’t matter what your boyfriend’s family thinks of you, because it does. Especially when it involves people who are important to us, we do care what others think of us. The trick, however, is not to care so much that fear related to making a good impression or earning their approval (or not being able to) starts to control you in unhealthy and unhelpful ways.
So remind yourself that whatever his family think when they meet you, that’s not the most important thing here. The most important thing here is what you think and feel about yourself, and what your boyfriend thinks and feels.
And remind yourself that whatever his family think about you when they meet you, you’re more than that. You’re infinitely, beautifully, more complicated than they can possibly grasp when they’re just getting to know you. Whatever they think during these early days, they’re only seeing a small part of the story that is you. They don’t have anything near a full picture of you and they won’t for a long time. Their perceptions of you are just that–their perceptions, and they are based on incomplete information.
4. Figure out what you’re scared of here
Now, sit down and face your fear. What are you really scared of here? Name it. Is it, “I’m afraid his family won’t like me.” Or, “I’m afraid his family won’t think I’m good enough for him”?
Can you get more specific? Listen for that little voice inside your head—the one that’s feeding your insecurities. What is it saying?
The more you know about what’s feeding your fears, the more effectively you’ll be able to control that little voice and all those feelings of insecurity it spawns.
5. Make an anchor statement
Once you figure out what that little voice is usually saying, figure out how to talk back to it. Pretend that little voice actually belongs to a creature (maybe a small, ugly, gnome) standing right in front of you. What would you say to that little creature if it marched up to you and started chanting his ugly mantras?
If the little gnome told you “his family won’t like you,” maybe you’d reply, “My boyfriend likes me, and I like myself, and that’s what’s most important.” Or, “They will see that I make my boyfriend happy.” Or, “it will take time for them to get to know me.”
Whatever is the best argument you come up with… that’s your anchor statement for now. Remember it, you’ll need to use it when you…
6. Tell your inner critic to be quiet
Whenever you realize that that little gnome is running around in your head stirring up trouble with his wicked whisperings (in other words, whenever you catch yourself telling yourself things like, “they won’t like me” “I’m not good enough”) tell that voice to STOP right there.
Take a deep breath, and repeat your anchor statement firmly to yourself. It will help steady you. Repeat it twice or three times if you need to. Then…
7. Focus on something else
Focusing on your own thoughts and your own feelings and fears, will become counterproductive after a while. So when you start to feel overwhelmed and fearful, try taking the focus off yourself and put it on something more positive.
Remind yourself that you’re in a good relationship with a loving, caring, guy. This thing that is scaring you (meeting his family) is important to him. It’s something you know you want to do, and it’s the right thing to do. Stop thinking about yourself and your own feelings and start focusing on why you’re doing this—to support him.
Good luck, Feeling Scared. Meet them. Do it soon. You’ve got this. You can handle it.
I’m cheering you on.