When it comes to handling life’s challenges, there’s no denying that those who can stay calm and level-headed have an advantage.
That’s a distinct hallmark of emotional security. As psychologists often say, “We can’t control other people; we can only control ourselves.”
This is the starting point if we want to become emotionally secure people.
Does that sound familiar to you? Here are 12 signs you have emotional security, according to psychology:
1) You feel seen, heard, and understood
First, I’d like to lead with what makes a person emotionally insecure.
It’s really quite simple – not feeling seen, heard, and understood. That’s a basic human need, and if we don’t feel that way, it’d be hard to feel secure.
In contrast, emotionally secure people have been able to get this need met. They have a sense of belonging, which is crucial to developing a healthy sense of self-esteem and emotional stability.
This makes me think back to all those times when I’ve felt ignored and neglected. My response was to act out and do outrageous things.
Then people would say, “Oh, she’s such an attention-seeker…”
Well, yes, precisely. Because when we’re not feeling seen and heard, we tend to fight back against that invisibility and do things that make people notice us.
Which brings me to my next point…
2) You don’t seek external validation
Like I said, feeling seen, heard, and understood makes us feel confident and worthy. When we feel like we belong right where we are, our inner state is calm and at peace.
There’s no desire to seek people’s approval. To morph into someone else to fit better.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Good Girl Syndrome – where girls and women display traits like people-pleasing, perfectionism, and putting others first over themselves, all because of social conditioning.
Now, I know it says “Good Girl”, but really, the principle can apply to anyone, regardless of gender.
The point is, if you’re emotionally secure, you know who you are. You’re secure in yourself, which is why you don’t dwell on what others will think or say about you.
3) You don’t dwell on the past
In the same way, you don’t stay stuck in the past, beating yourself up over past mistakes and regrets.
Emotional security involves managing your emotions, and a huge part of that is understanding that you’re only human. That you’ll make mistakes, no matter how hard you try not to.
The best part of this is, you have this same benevolent attitude towards others, too.
That lines up perfectly with what psychologists say: that those with secure emotional attachment find it easier to forgive others.
Which means, you likely have better and stronger relationships, too!
4) You’re not stingy with love and affection
Speaking of benevolence leads me to this next point – that as an emotionally secure person, you find it easy to shower love and affection on others.
You know that saying, “Hurt people hurt people”? Well, let’s flip that around and see the opposite – secure people secure people.
(I don’t mean you tie them up, simply that you make them feel safe and secure as well!)
And you aren’t afraid to be vulnerable, too. Intimacy is something that feels comfortable to you, whether it’s physical or emotional.
That’s why you’re the best kind of partner to have!
5) You don’t let minor things get under your skin
I can make an endless list of things that make us grit our teeth:
- Someone chewing loudly
- A neighbor not picking up after their pet
- People using their phone’s speaker function in public spaces
- Your family members leaving their clutter in shared spaces
- A friend taking forever to reply to your messages
Or just someone who annoys you for no reason!
It’s natural to find some things irritating, but if you’re an emotionally secure person, you’ve figured out that it doesn’t make sense to dwell on them.
You understand this key point: not everything requires your reaction.
So when something or someone’s being less-than-ideal, you can easily let it slide off your back.
And when you really can’t shrug it off…
6) You seek to understand your emotions
This is really an undeniable sign that you’re emotionally secure.
Why? Because it shows that:
First, you have self-awareness. You can register when you’re feeling something, even if you can’t define it yet.
Then, you seek to define it. To understand what exactly it is you’re feeling. Is it simple anger? Anger mixed with sadness? Is it a mask for hurt or fear?
These important steps play a huge role in helping you manage your emotions.
Otherwise, you’ll be a slave to them. You’ll be the type who lashes out at others without understanding why. Or turns to unhealthy escapist moves because you’d do anything to avoid unpleasant emotions.
HelpGuide.org says that self-management and self-awareness are two key attributes of emotional intelligence.
After all, you can’t manage what you don’t understand, right?
7) You don’t make unfair self-comparisons
Being emotionally secure also makes you a little more immune than most when it comes to making comparisons.
It’s perfectly natural that we compare ourselves with others. But when you’re secure in who you are, it’s easier for you to avoid falling into that trap.
As I mentioned earlier, external validation isn’t exactly top of mind for the emotionally secure. You tend to just focus on yourself – on using only who you were yesterday as a benchmark for progress.
As a result, your self-esteem doesn’t rest on how you stack up against others.
8) You’re sure of yourself
Okay, maybe you’re not always sure you’ll get the outcome you want. But you’re still confident in who you are.
That’s an important distinction to make. Who you are vs. what you’ll achieve.
What I’m trying to say is, when you’re emotionally secure, you already see your own value, regardless of what happens in life.
This is what makes you brave and empowered enough to try new things, even if it could blow up in your face. You know that who you are at the core – your intrinsic value – doesn’t change with success or failure.
9) You have healthy coping mechanisms
Even if things do blow up and you fail, that’s all right. You’ll be fine because you know how to cope in healthy ways, which often involve things like:
- Acknowledging and accepting your emotions
- Reframing the experience and seeing it as a learning opportunity
- Practicing self-compassion
- Reaching out to friends and family for support
- Engaging in exercise and mindfulness practices
- Limiting negative self-talk
- Staying grateful
- Engaging in hobbies you enjoy
I admit, when I wasn’t exactly in the best of emotional health, I’d cope with failure in unhealthy ways, like drinking, overeating, or binge-watching. More escapist than healthy.
But once I faced up to the fact that I needed to stop escaping and figure out how to push past failure and move forward, I learned better ways to deal (e.g. journaling, painting, and positive self-talk).
In the process, I became more skilled at managing my emotions and reducing distress.
10) You have firm boundaries
Look, emotional security doesn’t happen by accident. Psychologists say that setting and respecting boundaries is a key step in establishing it.
Boundaries are so important because they help you, above all, honor what is important to you.
Again, this comes down to that need to be seen, heard, and understood. And whatever that takes for us, that’s what our boundaries will be based on.
For instance, as an introvert, my alone time is so necessary for me, and I’ve always been firm on that.
Some of my exes didn’t understand this and often weaponized it against me, saying that it wasn’t right for me to have that need when I was in a relationship with them.
Not only did I feel the pressure to conform, I also felt like I wasn’t being heard. I didn’t feel safe enough to be who I really am because of all these expectations.
If you can do this – honor what’s important for you – no matter what the people around you say, that’s a sign that you’re emotionally secure.
11) You’re empathetic
Another sign that you’re emotionally secure is that people love having you around. A huge reason for that is your empathetic nature.
Studies show that emotional security and empathy go hand in hand.
Think about it – when you’re in touch with your emotions, it’s easier to recognize emotions in others as well, isn’t it? It’s easier to reach out and empathize when you know someone’s hurting.
This is perhaps one of the biggest gifts of emotional security – that you can be a light for others.
12) You always have hope
For me, this is the best part of being an emotionally secure person – hope springs eternal.
I’ve been called naive at times, but all the same, I’d rather be optimistic and hopeful than to be jaded and cynical.
According to the University of Kansas Health System, “A hopeful and optimistic frame-of-mind can help us deal with uncomfortable emotions and handle situations that seem insurmountable.”
If you’re an emotionally secure person, hope and optimism come easily to you, too.
The way I see it, it’s because you see life for what it is – a series of ups and downs.
Tough times end, so why let yourself be destroyed by them? You know you’re stronger than that!
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