The first step is acknowledging that you need reassurance and that it’s okay.
Reassurance-seeking is normal. We all do it to some extent. Reassurance is seeking communication from others to lessen our anxiety or insecurity about something in our lives. For some people, however, reassurance-seeking can become excessive and interfere with everyday life. If you frequently need reassurance, there are some steps you can take to lessen your dependence on it.
The first step is acknowledging that you need reassurance and that it’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Second, determine what situations or topics trigger your anxiety and insecurity. Once you know what these are, you can start to work on addressing them directly instead of relying on others for constant reassurance.
Third, challenge your negative thoughts and assumptions. Why do you feel like you need reassurance? Is there evidence that contradicts your beliefs? For example, if you’re worried that people don’t like you, remind yourself of times when people have been kind or supportive. Fourth, practice self-compassion. Beating yourself up for needing reassurance will only make things worse. Accepting yourself as you are is an important step in overcoming any challenges in life.
Fifth, build up your confidence and self-esteem in other areas. This can be done through therapy, positive affirmations, or other activities that make you feel good about yourself. Sixth, work on building trusting relationships with others who will accept and support you as you are. Finally, give yourself time and patience as you work on changing these patterns in your life. Old habits die hard, and it takes time to form new ones.
The second step is recognizing when you need reassurance.
We all have different triggers that send us off into needing reassurance mode. It could be something someone says to us or a situation we find ourselves in. It might be a memory that surfaces unexpectedly. It might be a thought that we can’t shake.
Recognizing our triggers is the first step in gaining control over them. Once we know what sets us off, we can begin to develop a plan for dealing with them.
The second step is recognizing when you need reassurance. This can be tricky because our need for reassurance is often subconscious. We might not even realize we’re doing it. But there are some telltale signs:
-You find yourself seeking situations where you will be reassured (e.g., you might go out of your way to talk to people who make you feel good about yourself).
-You find yourself fishing for compliments or positive feedback from others.
-You feel relief after being reassured, but the relief is only temporary, and soon you need reassurance again.
-You doubt yourself even when there is no reason to do so (e.g., you might second-guess your decisions even when they turn out well).
The third step is learning how to reassure yourself
You can learn how to soothe and comfort yourself in healthy ways. This might include:
- You are identifying your main sources of anxiety and stress and finding healthy ways to cope.
- You are talking to yourself in a kind and understanding way.
- I was challenging your negative thoughts and beliefs.
- Doing things that make you feel good, such as spending time with loved ones, getting outside in nature, or doing something creative.
- I practice self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly.
- The fourth and final step is to practice, practice, practice!
- Practice makes perfect, and this is especially true when breaking the reassurance-seeking habit. The more you consciously try to catch yourself in the act and stop yourself from seeking reassurance, the easier it will become. Here are a few things you can do to practice:
-Set aside some time each day to “reassurance check” yourself. For instance, set a daily reminder on your phone to check in with yourself at 3 pm to see if you’ve sought reassurance since breakfast.
-Keep a tally of how many times you seek reassurance in a day, week, or month. This will help you track your progress and see how much you have improved.
-Share your progress with a friend or family member who can offer support and encouragement.
-Talk to a therapist or counselor if you’re having trouble breaking the habit.