Is your partner the emotional anchor? Or is it you?
Emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.— David Caruso
Have you ever been with a “rock solid” partner?
Someone who has a healthy view of themselves, others and the world, generally? Or perhaps it’s you? Perhaps you’re the one providing your relationship with its “emotional anchor”?
Emotional security is the measure of the stability of an individual’s moods and emotions. A person who is emotionally “anchored” is not easily thrown by life and all its challenges.
When it comes to relationships, people who come from secure backgrounds, with their parents providing good modelling and emotional “teaching” have a head start.
But it doesn’t always spare them from trouble. Many people with a stable base have been rocked to the core by a toxic relationship; conversely, many people with an insecure history have created rock solid relationships.
Either way, it’s worth checking in on your partner’s emotional status, because it helps you understand them and how they roll. And it’s worth checking in on yourself too!
Here’s how the emotional “anchors” do it.
7 Signs of an Emotionally Secure Partner
Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it. -Vincent van Gogh
1. They don’t pick holes in themselves.
Emotionally secure people don’t waste time beating up on themselves. They don’t pick. They’re aware they’re not perfect, and they work on getting better where they need to, but they go easy on themselves. They accept who they are. They show themselves kindness when they are struggling or have made a mistake. Then they do what they need to do: apologize, make amends, vow to do things differently in future — or let it go.
2. They don’t pick holes in you.
When you are down on yourself they’ll be there with the reassurance and kindness you need to help you get up again. When they have something to say to you, they’ll say it truthfully and with good intent — and when they have a criticism or feel hurt by you, they will target your behavior rather than your personality. Their words are never an attack on Who You Are; they’re about what you’ve done AND they come from a stable, loving base.
3. They don’t love, honor and obey all emotion.
Emotionally secure people are better able to regulate their emotions, calm themselves down when heated or anxious or pick themselves up when they’ve been feeling down. They embrace their emotions — from sadness, fear and anger to joy, excitement and peace — because they know it’s healthy. They can acknowledge and express tough emotions but they don’t get gridlocked by them; they are able to move forward when the time is right.
As partners, they don’t let their feelings dictate their thoughts and actions. They don’t speak or behave impulsively in ways that undermine you or the relationship. Their emotional stability means they are able to assess situations (or conflict) accurately which helps you both to come up with a healthy solution.
4. They don’t go silent, stonewall or hold grudges.
Emotionally secure people fight fair. When you get into conflict, they don’t go to ground or dish out the silent treatment or storm out or leave you guessing as to what’s going on for them. This doesn’t mean they are always able to settle fights in the moment — they may need time to process what has happened. But they’ll talk to you about what they need. And when they surface, they’ll be fair and reasonable — and up for hearing what you have to say.
5. They are not fixed on one world view.
Emotionally secure partners are not “my way or the highway” people. They don’t always have to be right or have the last word. They can let you be right. They understand that people are different in so many ways, that there are many lenses through which we can see the world. This makes them good listeners and able to understand your perspective, even when they don’t agree with it.
6. They are not victims of life’s circumstances.
Emotionally secure people tend to operate with an internal locus of control, meaning they are better equipped to take responsibility for the things in life they can control. When they succeed, they will attribute it to internal factors, such as hard work, ability or commitment, things they can own. This means they are less vulnerable when things go wrong because they won’t slip into a cycle of blame or self-pity. When circumstances are genuinely tough, they can accurately identify those things they couldn’t control and, therefore, not be brought to their knees by them.
7. They share their emotional strength.
Emotionally secure people are generous with their stability and strength. They are patient and supportive when you’re feeling low, upset, struggling (or just being a bit dumb). But they won’t allow a partner to dictate their moods and happiness. If your issues become too much for them, or unreasonable, they won’t just walk away — they will talk to you about it. And if you hear their views and continue to work on building your own emotional strength, you will gain their respect as well as their love.